By Rebecca Zamora, Mission Leader at the University of Minnesota
The spring semester is always a bittersweet time of year: there is much to be grateful for, but there are so many goodbyes to say. The University of Minnesota is graduating an amazing senior class this year. The past four years have been hugely transformative in the history of Saint Paul’s Outreach and the Brotherhood of Hope’s campus ministry here at St. Lawrence in Dinkytown; and a lot of these seniors have been around from the very beginning. They have witnessed a huge increase in attendance at weekly Mass, the birth of our weekly Gopher Catholic Nights, the beginning of Catholic Students United, and the growth of the Household and Formation programs. They have served as executive board officers, team chairs and co-chairs, small group leaders, speakers, and retreat coordinators. They have learned what it is to be welcomed into a loving community and have graciously passed that love of Christ onto many, many, new students.
At the end of each school year, we set aside a Gopher Catholic Night in order to honor the seniors. It takes the form of a "retreat sharing" night: the seniors go up one by one and share the ways that they have been impacted by our community. There was a lot of joy and laughter as the seniors recalled their first few days in college. While there were some common threads between students' testimonies, there were two common denominators throughout all of their stories: 1) The importance of a personal relationship with Christ, and 2) The impact that a community of disciples running after the Lord together makes.
As a Mission Leader, it has been so inspiring for me to watch this particular senior class discern God’s call for their lives. They have been brave and bold in their prayer lives, seeking to be open to whatever the Lord might have for them, and taking many different steps in their faith - even when the direction seemed unclear. Getting to walk with these students as they filled out countless job applications, prepared for many job interviews, and waited patiently for answers has been such a privilege. I am confident that these 25+ young adults are going into the world faithfully following the path that God has set out for each of them.
In this picture below there are engineers, nurses, linguists, marketing strategists, and missionaries. In a couple of months they will be scattered across the country - some even going abroad. There is not a doubt in my mind that they will continue to seek the Lord, even in the trials that come with transitioning into a new phase of life.