Campus Ministry office seeks to keep students connected in faith and fellowship

Timothy Holmes, Crier Staff

We find ourselves in a time of great tragedy. Flick on the news and a triad of sorrows springs from the audio within the first minute of listening. The rising death toll, struggling families, the highest unemployment rate in decades, and an end that is too far from sight to speak of. And we, the students of Saint Anselm College, find ourselves in our homes, amidst our families, wondering what will become of this, how we can derive goodness out of this, where God can be found in all of this.

In the midst of these questions, it can be easy to succumb to feelings of isolation and loneliness. We are tempted to take on the demeanor of the world and to wallow in a situation that seems to be completely out of our control. What can we do? While nurses and doctors risk their lives daily, while essential workers fight to keep the nation fed and the economy afloat, while scientists race to find a vaccine, we are told to stay at home and to wait. And while this is the way we can best love our neighbor, it remains difficult nonetheless to love ourselves. And failure to love ourselves is, in turn, failure to love our neighbor.

The temptation to turn inward is strong, to mindlessly go through the day and abandon the routines that help keep us feeling purposeful and mentally strong. Mix this with lack of connection with friends, inability to receive the Sacraments, and siblings who bother you 24/7 and you have a concoction that most would call unpleasant. Thankfully, we are not left to our own devices. 

While a plethora of offices from St. A’s have been offering programs and opportunities for students to come together, the Office of Campus Ministry has most notably devoted all of its efforts towards those whom they are always seeking to help—the students. The following is just a short list of the many, many things that Campus Min. has offered: Daily Noon Prayer, Virtual Soup & Spirit Lunches, Haustus on Fridays, Faith Sharing on Instagram Live, Virtual Women’s Retreat, Weekly Office Hangouts, Anselmian Trivia (which was phenomenal I might add), Spotify Community Playlist, Beer and Benedictines, Wed. Night Mass on Instagram, and a Weekly Renew Group. While the magnitude is impressive, it is the intention of these programs that make them worth their weight in gold.

When asked why they are going to such lengths, Campus Minister Kat O’Loughlin replied: “We quickly recognized there would be a need for connection, for community, while we are all at home. We wanted to provide some semblance of normalcy, and for us that is providing faith-based programming for and with students, helping to build a strong intentional and loving faith community at our College. Just because we happen to be living off the Hilltop doesn’t mean that work ends. Community is focused on the persons, not the places.”

So, my dear readers, if you find yourself falling into loneliness, if you are muddled down by a lack of connection and communion, if you feel like you have given up on trusting in the Lord, take heart. Open up your laptop, dust off your Bible, maybe change out of the pjs you’ve worn for three days straight, and engage in what Campus Min. has to offer. Because we, as human beings, are made to be in communion with others. We are made to give and to receive, to see and to be seen, to know and to be known. We are made for love.