What called you to minister to college students?
No matter where you go — whether your own home or in a different country — everyone deserves to be loved by the Lord in a very particular and radical way. There are all these stats: that many people leave their faith in college, but that it is also such a place of isolation and loneliness.
Is there one moment that stands out?
I just remember walking down 15th Street one day, and looking around me at all the college students and thought, “Wait, you don’t know that he loves you. You don’t believe that he loves you.” We hear all time now: Jesus loves me. But people don’t actually believe that reality because if we did, our lives would be so different. Just then, I thought, “No, other people need to know that he’s real. That he loves them. That he died and rose for them, and he’s inviting them into a relationship with and through his Church.” In my junior year of college I decided this is what I want to do with my life, and the Lord just kept on my heart, saying, “I want you to go to a college campus, specifically through Brew City Catholic to stay in Milwaukee.'”
What is a typical day or week like for you?
Typically, we pray Liturgy of the Hours as a team at 7:40 a.m. Sometimes students will come to that as well. Then we’ll go to 8 a.m. Mass at the parish out here and then have a break for breakfast. From 9:30 to 10:30, we pray a holy hour together as a team in front of Blessed Sacrament here in the chapel on our campus.
Do you have team meetings?
On Tuesdays, we have a staff meeting talking about the logistics stuff — setting up Bible studies or planning our discipleship groups, how we are interceding for the students on campus, or prepping for a treat. Last week Thursday, we went out on campus and handed out goodie bags and had a Warhawk Catholic table out where students could approach us.
What else do your days consist of?
Afternoons are usually open for us to grab lunch with students that we know, or we go out on campus and meet people and just get to know who they are. In the evening, we typically have a lot more programming. There are four missionaries on this campus, and we’ll each have our own Bible study that we’re leading, co-leading or supporting a student leader with.
On Tuesday nights, we have 9 p.m. student Mass and a large group on Wednesday night where we’re going through the Creed by Bishop Barron so students can learn intellectually. On Thursday nights, we have adoration, student dinner and social time.
Can you describe some of the encounters you have with the students?
All of it is aimed at building a relationship with the students on campus to invite them into deeper discipleship and a relationship with Jesus Christ. We meet him in the context of community, and we meet him in the context of the sacraments. God doesn’t always work in a Saint Paul moment, where he blows someone off their horse. It’s like a lot of the times at the beginning of the apostolic era; it was through those interactions between the apostles and their household and then that household and another household in the family. We’re trying to model that, I would say, of just through building relationships, spreading the gospel in that way.
Piggybacking off of that, how should people approach teens and young adults about faith?
The Lord uses our prayers so much more than we can use our words. There’s a lot of students I’m going to meet on this campus that I will never meet again, but the Holy Spirit will be able to work through someone else or just in their own hearts. So first off, praying for the Holy Spirit and for an encounter, he has provided in so many ways. For me, it’s talking to students and then asking, do you have a faith background?
What’s it like?
It’s asking questions to let them reveal their own story (in order) to also build that connection of trust. So when it is time for you to preach the gospel — that you were made for relationship, but sin entered the world, then Jesus came and died for your sins and is inviting you into community through His Church — that trust is already built so they can receive that.
How can we pray for you and your ministry?
Pray for us, our team and our staff here. We are leading a lot of students, but also for our own relationships with Christ — everything foundational — and just pray there’s an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on this campus and a renewal. Pray for the conversion of the students’ hearts here that we receive students and walk with them while they are in that new sort of dialogue and renewal with God.