“For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve…” – Mark 10:45
Looking back at every awesome experience I’ve had at CUA, I can say without any doubt or reservation that serving as a Student Minister has been my favorite. On campus, Student Ministers live in a place called The House and in the residence halls, with the intention to build community in a spiritual way. As a House Minister, living in an intentional community with seven fellow first-year Ministers, I have had several unique opportunities to serve CUA through Renew (a weekly Gospel reflection group on campus) and being a Student Minister to the men of Flather Hall. My foremost role as a Student Minister in the House is to serve as a link between Campus Ministry and the men of my residence hall. In addition, the House Ministers host Mass in our living room each Tuesday, put on an event every Friday night, and endeavor to serve the men and women of our residence halls in whatever capacity we can.
I decided to apply to become a Student Minister in part because of how much I loved and respected the Minister I had as a first-year student and in part because I wanted to find a way to serve CUA’s campus community. The application consists of a written component, wherein the applicant details his or herself, and also requires a spiritual reference. Each applicant gets the opportunity to interview with current senior student leaders who ultimately decide whether or not the applicant is ready to move on to a second interview with the Office of Campus Ministry’s Pastoral Staff. From there, Pastoral Staff decides whether or not the applicant will be hired as a Student Minister.
I applied as a first-year student last year and ultimately was accepted for a position in the House; next year, I will be serving as a House Minister again and I am very much looking forward to it. To say that Student Ministry has changed my life would be an understatement. I cannot genuinely explain the growth and joy I have experienced as a Minister. While I have strived to serve CUA since I arrived as a first-year student in late August of 2015, Campus Ministry has provided so many opportunities to serve in distinct fashions that it is now difficult for me to picture my life without it. Living in the House community has been a special cause of growth in many regards: prayer, fellowship, vulnerability, communication, to name a few. If I could share one story about how being a Student Minister changed me, it would have to be this one:
During Orientation, there is a very large food tent set up right outside of Mullen Library. Hundreds of families eat lunch there between the orientation events. As a natural introvert, I was nothing short of terrified of the prospect of sitting under this tent and trying to befriend new students and their families. As I walked up and down the aisles, I struggled to find an open seat, but right as I reached the end of the tent, I found one. There were three young ladies sitting together, discussing how excited they were to begin their college experience at CUA. As I sat down and introduced myself as a Student Minister, all three of their faces lit up.
For the next fifteen minutes, each of the young women asked questions about Campus Ministry at CUA and shared with me experiences they had as ministers at their home parishes and high schools. Today, I am friends with all three and frequently see them at House events, whether those be Masses or Friday night events. Having the ability to be present and invite people to experience Christ in distinct manners is a gift from Student Ministry that I do not take for granted. This experience occurred on my first official day as a Minister and I have had many like it every week since. Ultimately, I love this position for a simple reason: it allows me to love and to serve the students on this campus in a way that I could not be connected without it.