thankful for campus ministry!

i recently saw a photo on facebook of some former students from southwest texas state university (now texas state) in san marcos, tx. the picture was from the sorority mu epsilon theta’s 20 year reunion a few years ago. i had the good fortune to attend it. it always amazes me when i see how far these wonderful folks have come since their college days!

in retrospect, being at the catholic student center (now our lady of wisdom catholic university parish) in san marcos from 1994-1999 was one of my best ministerial assignments as a claretian priest. when i think back at all the good things that were going on in that campus ministry, it really does warm my heart. the energy and creativity of college students is great to be around. and the fact that the students came to the center their on their own accord and not being explicitly pressured by parents was very positive– they wanted to be there. it was a real grace to see the young people grow in their faith and other relationships. they had a certain excitement (as well as heartaches) that are proper to the college years.

here is a few random musings that come to my mind this morning:

the bobcat awakenings retreats were a real blessing. we began that model in 1995 after seven swt students attended the longhorn (UT) awakenings. the longhorns then helped us staff the first couple BAs until we had a big enough pool of retreatants to staff our own. BA took off. since i was the only guitar player for the first several, i helped with the music staff and advised the student leaders in their various roles. i broke so many guitar strings playing the song “anthem” at whirling dervish speed! i loved how the various student leaders of BA really took ownership of the preparations and the weekend — they made it happen. it was great just to guide the ship and play my guitar and watch the Spirit at work in their lives during the weekend as well as in the follow up gatherings. the service and love shined forth in so many ways from these young people! plus all the laughs!! my only regret is that they made my dance to a song (“and the father will dance”) around the campfire. that always embarrassed me. the bobcat awakenings is still flourishing and affecting many lives! ( )

i am also grateful for the various opportunities to work with and know the faculty/staff/administrators of the university. i was newly ordained and learning what it meant to be a public figure in my position as a priest. i had many chances to grow in being a “professional” and experience the various hardships that came along with that distinction. southwest texas was an ideal place to learn these life lessons. i am thankful for the prudence and patience of the university folks with me and all my mistakes that i more clearly see in hindsight. interacting with these fine university people helped shape me in ministry.

mu epsilon theta and lambda omega alpha are service groups that began while i was at the catholic student center. at first, the distinctions of sorority and fraternity concerned me. the greek system at most universities has a well founded reputation for underage drinking as a significant part of their weekend activities. i did not want our campus ministry to have the problems that accompanied the abuse of alcohol as in the greek system.

but meo and the loa were different– they were service groups primarily. in the beginning, we had to grow together in what it all meant and how the various activities were connected to our campus ministry. there was a lot to figure out because some leaders wanted the group to be separate from the mission of the catholic student center and just use the facility. for me, any new groups had to be part of our larger mission as a campus ministry. the catholic student organization (cso) was very strong at that time and my fear was that these new groups would diminish what we had built up over many years at swt. since the awakenings retreats were going very well, i was not so worried about its continuity. i knew that some retreatants would be attracted to the fraternity and sorority. but i also knew that the demands of leadership for the sorority and fraternity would take away leaders for cso.

in the end, the loa and meo evolved within the campus ministry and are still active today! ( and )

i look back at this wonderful chapter in my life with deep gratitude. when i see the various FB posts of some of the lives of the former students, i beam with pride to have been a part of their faith journeys. i am the person i am today, in part, because of my time in san marcos. i do not think that i could effectively serve as a campus minister now. so many gatherings and informal discussions happen late at night (now i like to be in bed by 8:30pm!). now, if students wanted to meet at 4:30am i could do that with great energy!

i pray that the Spirit will continue to inspire and mold young people in all campus ministries– especially at texas state– to know the love of God and to spread that goodness to all they encounter.


  1. Omg! I love this so much! My time at SWT was so awesome and do many memories and long time friendships centered around the catholic student center!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. frarthurcmf says:

      grace abounds!

      Liked by 1 person

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