Extension Magazine Fall 2013 - Featured Article I

Semester of Faith - Videos spotlight the “good news”  of campus ministry
Students from the University of Nebraska at Kearney gather in front of the home where they host meals and meetings. The chapel is next door.

Videos spotlight the “good news” of campus ministry

Too often we hear that young adults are turning away from the Church.

But that’s not Catholic Extension’s experience in visiting college campuses nationwide. In fact, the 70 campus ministries funded by Catholic Extension report record numbers of young adults turning to the faith, fellowship and fun that come from getting involved, especially at larger public universities where there seems to be a vibrant resurgence in faith.

Hundreds of students are showing up at Catholic chapels each week for Mass. In addition, students are engaged in a host of activities in these thriving Catholic communities and finding spiritual sustenance and growth.

And, they are having a blast, as only fully energized college students can. To get a glimpse of how these young adults are celebrating their faith and to help connect these ministries to one another, Catholic Extension recently held a Semester of Faith video campaign. The campaign invited campus ministries to submit a short video highlighting their own “good news.” The good news poured in as Catholic Extension received 20 get-your-feetstomping, inspiring videos that showcased young people coast to coast embracing and celebrating their Catholic faith.

The students from New Mexico State University created “Catholic Cardio: Get Your Heart Racing for God,” a fast-paced, short film that shows students working up a sweat as part of their praise and worship.

On Fire with Faith — University of Nebraska at Kearney

While all the videos deserve praise, the top prize went to the Catholic Newman Center at the University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK).

It’s hard to imagine that any team could have worked harder than the students from UNK. They were “all in” from the moment that Sister Rosemarie Maly, director of their Newman Center, announced the campaign. They immediately set out to create the video, using the theme “Setting the World on Fire,” which was inspired by the words of Saint Catherine of Siena: “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”

The team then combined hundreds of photos taken from student Masses, meals and other ministry events with UNK’s own Newman Center songs. “We can blow the roof off singing,” Clayton Pfiefer, a senior, said.

Across the board, the student videos demonstrated a dynamic faith and a group of young adults ready and willing to shout it out across the Internet. The students reveled in the joy of creating the videos — and wanted to spread the “good news” of their own ministries far and wide. Through the campaign, the students embraced a whole new spirit of evangelization.

As the winner of the campaign, UNK received a $1,000 grant for their ministry and a sponsored trip to the Catholic Ministry Leadership Institute over the summer for four members of their team.

Students clasp hands and say grace before meals. The big house is warm and cozy, but stretched when accommodating the nearly 70 students who come for weekly meals

Moreover, for this devoted team of young Catholics, who worked so hard to share their faith and “good news,” the rewards have been far greater. The video has been so well received that the UNK admissions office is using it in recruitment efforts, and stories have been written in diocesan and statewide papers, garnering even greater attention for the team’s good work.

As Sister Rosemarie noted, the campaign created a tremendous energy among the students, giving them “an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the community UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA AT KEARNEY they have.” The students also found it enlightening to view videos and learn from other campus ministries. For example, they got to see how some students worship on the beach, while others hold Mass in the mountains.

By participating in the Semester of Faith campaign, campus ministries nationwide not only strengthened their own communities, but they also connected more deeply with other faith communities like their own. They were invigorated in spreading the “good news.”

Diocese of Grand Island