There are over 250 Catholic colleges in the United States. So what’s special about CUA? I think what is special about THE Catholic University of America is its focus and support of its community’s faith.
CUA embraces its Catholic faith. CUA shows its true colors from the start, boasting the name of THE Catholic University of America. While CUA does embrace its Catholic culture, CUA does not ignore the fact that not everyone on its campus will be devout Catholics, or Catholic at all. Just from my experience alone, I have made friends with the most Catholic people I have ever met and with the most atheistic people I have ever met. CUA simply succeeds in creating an environment where people across the faith spectrum feel respected and welcomed.
Now was faith a big reason for why I chose to come to CUA? Not really, actually. I have gone to Catholic school my whole life, from 1st grade up until now. Going to a Jesuit high school in NYC was the time when I truly grew in my faith and began to understand why I believed in certain aspects of my faith. But as the college application process came along, faith and religion were not “must-haves” on my college criteria. With all that stress of finding a college and doing well my last year, my faith took a backseat during my senior year. Moreover, I naively thought that since I’d be given more difficult responsibilities in college, it would be okay if I left my faith in that same backseat. “Maybe I’ll go to Sunday masses, I’ll try my best!”
Fast-forward a year and I am halfway done with my freshman year. I find myself going to daily mass at least 3 or 4 times a week, joining Esto Vir (a men’s prayer group), and just growing in my faith in every way possible. At this time, I was a dual-degree major, juggling architecture and civil engineering. I made time to go to mass and grow stronger in my faith. I found myself praying in Caldwell Chapel (pictured above) in the wee hours of the night to get me through a project or a bad week. And sure, I may have sacrificed a couple of hours of sleep here and there, but do I regret it? Absolutely not. I also absolutely loathe the fact that I was okay putting faith in the backseat to start my college career. Without my faith, my friends (believers and non-believers), and this welcoming CUA community, I would not be where I am today.
– Andrew Santiano