Greetings from a long lost blogger. When I’m not writing, you should worry. Well…maybe not that much, but enough to consider that I’m not taking enough stock of what I’m doing to wish to share it with you, dear readers.
I just finished my second year as Director of Campus Ministry and this 2015 Spring was the best of the four semesters for me. I’m starting to feel more at home and engaged and ready to begin to really direct the ministry now that I’ve been able to take a good inventory of the plant for the past two years. Change is difficult for people and even minor changes can upset the apple cart. But we are beginning to change and to consider what we are doing as a ministry and how we might look at doing things better, or at least, differently. I’ll share some of our results as we move forward into the light of summer and a new fall semester.
But the end of a semester always brings mixed emotions. I do an extended examen and find all that I have learned and offered. Truly Jesus is present here and asks me the tough questions in my colloquy with him. Have I been present enough to students? Have I been gentle enough with my staff? Who are we not reaching out to feed? What were the major flaws over the course of the year?
Then after I stop beating myself up, Jesus asks me if I’m quite done with the pity-party and points me in the direction of the light. The students who sought me out on retreats to talk about serious issues, good moments of preaching, understanding moments of sympathy with staff, collaborating well with colleagues, laughing with my Vice-President about a host of subjects, being moved by our President when he tells us that we’re doing well. Looking to see where the campus ministry staff works most effectively and finding that balance of staff contributions and student engagement has been a good stretch and allows us to see more clearly where God calls us.
But mostly, listening has been the most important thing and learning to listen and then to speak my truth has been a good management style for me. I think others got to understand my point of view a bit more, but at times, I’m still feeling misunderstood, or simply not understood. And I find it difficult to strike a balance between being “Campus dad” and “Manager dude.” But in general, this has gotten better over the year, with the Spring bringing many new waves of consolation. I settle into a calm now as baccalaureate mass is over and graduation and alumni anniversary masses are now complete as well.
The campus suddenly much more silent allows for deeper introspection and planning. The students are missed, but the time allotted now, gives us the opportunity to serve their needs far better.
Some highlights from the year included much in retreat work: Kairos #50 was an amazing retreat, a new men’s hiking retreat and seeing folks in various one-on-one settings. Managing the staff was often a good opportunity for me to listen to their joys and sorrows and to help direct them into deeper spaces and more efficient ways of working. My real joy this year was working with our sacristans (pictured right), who I really enjoyed being around and who flawlessly served at our masses and weddings and who make it all look easy. They were a great team this year and it was always joyful time and an opportunity for all of us to create calmness on campus.
So what has been your highlight of this year? Your deepest struggle? A new insight or learning? Where did God lead you this year?