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Plymouth State University Catholic Campus Ministry
As students prepare to head off to colleges and universities this fall, many for the first time, there is bound to be a mixture of excitement, anxiety, and anticipation. The transition from home to school is often one of the most challenging times in a young person’s life. Being able to make new friendships and connect with other like-minded people who share a Catholic faith, is a huge step toward easing into collegiate life. Participation in campus ministry provides a perfect opportunity to do just that.
In our three-part series, we traveled to three of New Hampshire’s state schools to meet with the campus ministers and some of the college students who participate in campus ministry. We discovered that students who participated in campus ministry:
Made close and meaningful friendships
Learned more about their faith
Gained confidence about being Catholic
Enjoyed fun activities
We invite you, and the students in your life, to see what campus ministry has to offer by reading our three-part series.
On Tuesday evenings, students from Plymouth State University come together at the Reflection & Spiritual Care Center on Highland St. in Plymouth as part of Plymouth State University’s Catholic Campus Ministry. Each week offers something different to those in attendance whether it be guest speakers, discussions centered on topics of faith, learning stress relieving techniques, or meditation.
Home Away from Home
It is interesting to note that 40% of Plymouth State University students are first generation college students and most of them hold down at least one job to pay for their education. It is very clear that this Center affords these students a quiet, peaceful place to come and rejuvenate. Students enjoy coming here with other like-minded friends who understand the importance of their faith and who are here because they choose to be. There is no competitiveness in this group that might be found in other campus activities such as sports or clubs. Here you are simply invited to be yourself.
A Sense of Community
Once a month, students have the opportunity to attend a prayer service, created by the students themselves, and a supper with the pastor at St. Matthew Church of Holy Trinity Parish for which the parishioners prepare the food. During finals, parishioners again bake for the students and the Campus Ministry students deliver it to all those in the halls. Students return the generosity at the end of the year by cooking a Thank You Dinner for the parishioners. It is quickly evident that the lives and ministry of the people of the parish and students overlap and is interwoven into the fabric of their identity.
Being centrally located in New Hampshire, convenient to both the Lakes Region and the White Mountains, Plymouth is the perfect setting for outdoor Campus Ministry activities. Students enjoy bon fires, corn mazes, bowling at Fun Spot, and hikes. The pastor also offers Masses at the top of Rattlesnake Mountain for the Campus Ministry students and Confirmation students from the parish.
Annual Walk with the Homeless
These students are also dedicated to giving back to the community by participating in ministry at Mass or by helping to prepare Thanksgiving baskets. One of the most meaningful service projects is the annual walk with the homeless in Boston. Students travel to Boston armed with backpacks filled with practical items like socks, clothing, and gift cards to restaurants and hand them out to those living on the streets. These gift cards allow the homeless to be “customers” in establishments that can’t turn them away for an inability to pay. The students are led on a “tour” of Boston from a homeless person’s perspective where they are shown an ATM enclosure where one person sought refuge from the weather only to die there after freezing to death. Another homeless person had only a knife, fork, and spoon as their sole possessions but was then denied access to a shelter because those were considered to be “weapons.” The person chose to remain on the streets instead of giving up their only property. These experiences help these students make a connection between the homeless they met and Jesus who was homeless as well. They each expressed how they will never take their own lives for granted again after participating in this ministry.
All of these activities, whether social or service-oriented, enrich these students’ collegiate experience and help them to form lasting friendships and memories. If you are a Plymouth State University student, feel free to drop by the Reflection & Spiritual Care Center, or check them out on Facebook. Please know that there is a welcoming place in Plymouth for you where close friendships are made.