Campus Ministry: Practicing Charity Through Service

By Roman Flores
Staff Writer

What is Campus Ministry? Does it entail reading scripture at the lectern during Mass, or making available the sacraments of the Catholic Church here on campus? Is it putting on retreats in order to grow closer to God, or working to combat the evils of abject poverty by going out into the world and practicing the virtue of charity? Is it part of “living responsibly in a diverse and interdependent world?”

Yes, campus ministry is all these things and the students, faculty and staff involved in Campus Ministry here at Marywood University truly do, as the Catechism reads, “…encompass the call and obligation to respond with sincere love to divine charity (CCC p. 508).”

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Campus Ministry faculty member, Sr. John Michele Southwick, IHM, in order to get a better insight as to what Campus Ministry has done in the past and what they will do this semester.

There will be many fundraisers held this month and all proceeds will go towards the service trips. If you missed the Divine Chocolates, San Lucas coffee, and baked goods at the Mardi Gras fundraiser this past Tuesday, February 5, be on the lookout for the other fundraisers. The students will also be selling flowers on St. Valentine’s Day.

Many different knickknacks that have been donated by the community will be sold at the annual Campus Ministry Flea Market on Friday, February 22 from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and on Saturday, February 23, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. in the Multi-Purpose Room (also known as the Crystal Room), and there will also be wings on sale during Student Activities Crew’s monthly student bingo. In the coming months, Campus Ministry will also sponsor a basket raffle, t-shirt sale, and have a Red Robin Night where Red Robin will donate 10% of your bill towards the service trips.

In their mission statement, “Campus Ministry proclaims the message of God’s unconditional love for all people. …By providing opportunities for growth through worship, service and leadership development, Campus Ministry encourages people to commit themselves to shaping a more just society.”

This commitment of shaping a more just society is evident in all of Campus Ministry’s doings, from liturgy, retreats, adoration, Bible Study, and Volunteers in Action, to community service activities like Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week, Kidstuff, Adopt-a-Grandparent, and Best Buddies.

In particular, I would like to point out that it is especially evident in the national and international service trips. “One can learn about poverty and other cultures in the classroom, but not as well as experiencing it in person. Students are changed by these trips,” said Sr. John. “Krystle Powell, a junior at Marywood, helped serve at a trip to the Romero Center in Camden, NJ. It really opens your eyes to the problems in the world. It takes you out of your little bubble of Scranton, Pennsylvania, or wherever home is for you. [These problems] are not going to be fixed overnight but if we keep going back and helping, they will.”

In the past Campus Ministry has also served the impoverished nationally in places such as Philadelphia, Washington D.C., New Orleans, Arizona, North Carolina, Ohio, Kentucky and internationally in Peru and Guatemala. This Spring Break, Campus Ministry plans to venture nationally to Camden, NJ, Baltimore, MD, and New Orleans, LA, in addition to their international service trip to areas near Quito, Ecuador, scheduled for this May.

The ten students and two faculty/staff members will be working alongside Global Habitat for Humanity in Ecuador and Sr. John assured me that they do whatever it takes to “work in what needs to be done” to help these people in all their service trips. Still, there must be funding in order to launch these trips, and that is why Campus Ministry will be putting on various fundraisers and events this semester.

In conclusion, let us always keep in mind that “Charity upholds and purifies our human ability to love, and it raises it to the supernatural perfection of divine love.” (CCC p. 449) Just as the Good Samaritan helped the man on the side of the road, we must help our brothers and sister at home and abroad. Likewise, just as the widow that had little yet selflessly gave, we must give.

I implore you to please help the students, staff, and faculty of Campus Ministry by participating in these enjoyable events, and donating anything you can to the cause of “proclaiming the message of God’s unconditional love for all people,” in order to foster a selfless spirit of service and promote social justice throughout our community, our country, and our world.

In order to contribute or learn more about our Campus Ministry visit God bless.