Tuesday, July 8, 2008

COMPASS Catholic Campus Ministry

As grateful as I am for my college education, I am not proud of the negative impact my supposedly "Catholic" alma mater has on the faith of many of its students. Although opportunities to explore and exercise faith (particularly through community service) abound on campus, the example and messages set forth by the college often contradict orthodox Catholic teaching.

As my own Catholic faith deepened, I became increasingly uncomfortable with my college. I realized I could not contribute to it financially in good conscience, knowing that it might use some of my donation to fund immoral programs. So, for the past four years I have tossed those mailings begging for money in the recycling and politely declined the requests of the young students who called me during the phone-a-thons.

This past year, however, the solicitations have gone up a notch. A very wealthy alum pledged a huge sum for student internships if a certain percentage of alumni contributed within a certain time frame. At first I ignored the emails and brochures. But my heart began to ache a little at the thought that my choice not to donate might prevent the college from receiving funding for something worthwhile. They weren't asking me for much - just $1 so they could say I contributed. My mind churned as I tried to come up with some way I could give a little money, fulfill the requirements for the match, and still have a clear conscience.

After several months, the answer came to me: earmark my donation for a particular Catholic ministry or student organization that I KNEW was upholding Church teaching. I had the great privilege of participating in COMPASS my senior year of college. Our small group gathered for prayer, meditated on the Sunday Gospel, listened to tapes with solid Catholic teachings (including an introduction to the Theology of the Body), and discussed living out the faith as students and beyond. Best of all, we met at the campus ministry house for Feast Day Dinners every so often - we learned about saints and shared a meal from their country of origin.

I don't know how the group is doing on my alma mater's campus these days, but I hope my small donation and prayers give them a boost.

Do you have a campus ministry you enjoyed as a student and still support today?


Devin Rose said...

Katie and I have done something similar for her alma mater, Notre Dame ("soul mother, Our Lady"--how appropriate!) by donating specifically to the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture, which is an excellent organization that upholds the teachings of the Church.

Lillian said...

St. Mary's Catholic Student Center at Texas A&M in College Station. AWESOME PLACE!!!

I wasn't actually a student there, though. I was a campus minster for 3 years while dh was in grad school. Very worthy of financial support!