December 2019 / January 2020 - Vol.107

News update from the Brotherhood of Hope

Faith That Attracts

Evangelizing lives - Our students' display of faith in the classroom, during campus activities, and in the community pulls their classmates to a closer relationship with Jesus.  

University Students tell us they are searching for authentic friendships, a supportive community and a way to live a life of purpose in today’s secular college environment.  

“One of the biggest reasons why our faith attracts others is because of the authentic love in our campus community,” explains Br. Patrick Reilly, Director of the Catholic Center at Rutgers University. “Our students help other students realize they can follow Christ despite what they hear from today’s secular society.”

Br. Patrick directs teams of missionaries and students on Alternative Spring Break trips to areas in the U.S. devastated by natural disasters. Students post flyers around campus and invite their friends to join upcoming trips. After returning to campus, many new students are eager to explore the lively faith expressed by the Catholic Center and participate in activities such as prayer nights.

“Students hunger to do something for others to give their lives meaning,” said Br. Patrick. “Our service trips immerse them into a spiritual family that gives students exactly what they are yearning for.”

Getting “opposites” to attract

At the University of Minnesota campus ministry, Br. Matthew Warnez made a “discovery” when he started holding Faith-Science meetings two years ago, prior to final exams.

Students who don’t normally participate in campus ministry are attracted to these evangelistic events, where three students make 10-minute presentations followed by a Q&A session moderated by Br. Matthew.

“Students desire reassurance that their faith is pertinent in the scientific age in which we live,” said Br. Matthew. “Faith-Science dialogues are very attractive to students because it helps them see that the Church is happy to engage in scientific issues.”

A recent presentation covered the relationship between biogeography (the study of the distribution of plants and animals across geography) and the covenant God made with Noah.

“One of my favorite things about Faith-Science nights is hearing unique topics shared by excited students,” said Austin Redington, a junior at the University of Minnesota who participates in our campus ministry.

Service Solidarity -Students in our missions grow in sharing Christ's heart for other as they serve.
Here some Rutgers students prepare lunches for the homeless in the city.

Serving the needy together

“Affirming human dignity is at the heart of the Catholic Center’s Respect Life Committee,” said Br. Logan Murray, campus minister at Northeastern University. “The committee’s activities help students expand their sense of community to those most in need, especially the city’s homeless and elderly living near campus.”

One popular activity for our students is preparing peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that they share with the homeless in Boston. Along with “feeding the hungry,” our students’ outreach has attracted the attention of other Christian groups and students on campus who  have asked to join our efforts.

In another genuine sign of community, our students invited their classmates to help prepare a pre-Thanksgiving dinner for residents living in a nearby retirement home. Students cooked, served dinners, and sat and chatted with elderly residents while they enjoyed their meals. These are ways to serve, connect and evangelize.

(Students at our other outreach schools, such as Rutgers students shown in the photo above, do similar service activities such as preparing lunches for the homeless in the city.)
Winning respect through sports

One thing is certain when playing sports on an intramural team sponsored by one of our campus outreaches: the opposition will be in for a competitive contest! At Florida State University, our teams not only gain respect through their winning records, they also attract attention from other teams and their fans because of our students’ humility and faith.  

Last fall’s ultimate frisbee championship game is an example of when the scoreboard doesn’t tell the whole story. After losing an exciting game, our students invited their opponents and all the fans to participate in what became probably the largest prayer circle in the history of FSU intramural sports!

“It’s a snowball effect,” explains campus minister Br. Brandt Haglund. “Our exposure to other students through intramural sports sparks interest in our faith community. Instead of recruiting someone, we’re developing real friendships with new students, which is what they are really thirsty for.”

Personally choosing Christ

While most of us didn’t have a choice in our Baptism and becoming Catholic, many students on our campuses are saying a resounding, “Yes!” to following Jesus.

Inspired by their involvement in vibrant campus ministries, students are participating in our RCIA programs and receiving the Sacraments. Last school year at the University of Central Florida (UCF) in Orlando, three students received Confirmation, while three others were baptized during the Easter Vigil.

“An authentic Catholic community draws people in,” said Br. John McCabe, campus minister at UCF.  “We are attracting students with a growing, thriving Catholic presence on campus that’s bearing fruit in people’s lives every day.”

Food and Fun! - Our students experience authentic and fun friendships
during campus ministry activities, such as during this pre-Thanksgiving
meal hosted by our Northeastern outreach.

The Brotherhood of Hope serves Catholic campus ministries at six secular colleges and universities in the United States: Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida, Northeastern University in Boston, Massachussets, Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida, and the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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This article was originally published in the Brotherhood of Hope Newsletter, Fall 2019 edition.
Used with permission.


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