Archdiocese Local Schools Youth & young adult

Freshman looks for faith, fellowship on campus

Emporia State freshman Anna Moylan from Immaculate Conception Parish in St. Marys, packs her car as she prepares to leave for Emporia State University. Moylan looked for a college with a strong Catholic presence, and found it at ESU, with its Diddle Catholic Campus Center. LEAVEN PHOTO BY JAY SOLDNER

by Moira Cullings

EMPORIA — As incoming freshmen head off to college, they’re tasked with balancing classes, making friends and settling into a brand-new environment.

In the midst of it all, fostering the faith can get lost in the shuffle.

But for students like Anna Moylan, a freshman at Emporia State University, maintaining a strong faith life is a little easier thanks to the Didde Catholic Campus Center.

“It was important for me to choose a college that had a Catholic campus center,” said Moylan, who hails from St. Marys, a town with a population of just over 2,600.

“I think having a Catholic center will have a huge impact on my college experience,” she continued. “I think it will really help me meet new people that go to ESU, and it will help me continue to learn more about my faith.”

Under the leadership of chaplain and director Father Nick Blaha, Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) missionaries and student outreach ministers, the center is a place for students to make lasting friendships and join in on faith-based activities.

It’s the perfect complement for Emporia State — a secular school with a small- town feel.

“I chose to attend Emporia State because the first time I visited it I immediately fell in love with the hometown atmosphere that it has, and everyone that I have met are very friendly,” said Moylan.

“The school has a lot of opportunities for me to get involved on campus and in the community, which is one thing I am very excited about,” she added.

Like many incoming college freshmen, Moylan has her older sister Maria, a junior at Emporia State, to look to for guidance.

Maria is involved at the Didde Center and will be running a Bible study this year.

“I am very excited to join that,” said Moylan.

Moylan is also looking forward to attending the FOCUS SEEK conferences, as well as a DCCC retreat at Prairie Star Ranch in Williamsburg.

Moylan admits she attends Mass at Immaculate Conception — her home parish — but isn’t as involved as she hopes to be in Emporia.

“That’s why I am excited to attend the Didde Catholic Campus Center,” she said, “because I feel like there will be more opportunities for me to get involved.”

Catholic centers like DCCC offer convenient Mass and confession times with college schedules in mind.

They also bring young people together through retreats, intramural sports and small group Bible studies.

Moylan, like many of her peers, is grateful to have a place like DCCC to call home.

“By participating in the events at Didde, I hope to become better in my faith and closer to God,” said Moylan.

“I think it will be a great opportunity to meet new people and hopefully make some lifelong friendships,” she said.

About the author

Moira Cullings

Moira attended St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Overland Park and Benedictine College in Atchison. She majored in marketing, minored in psychology and played center midfield for the women’s soccer team. Moira joined The Leaven staff as a feature writer and social media editor in 2015. After a move to Denver, Moira resumed her full-time position at The Leaven and continues to write and manage its website, social media channels. Her favorite assignment was traveling to the Holy Land to take photos for a group pilgrimage in 2019.

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