Catholic Club Makes Comeback
Religious Life on campus has a diverse amount of groups for all kinds of religious cultures, but more importantly, the religious life culture on campus gives opportunity for students with similar interests to start up their own religious club if there is not one already. Catholic Student Association (CSA) has been inactive for several years but has just been recently reinstated by student, Mariana Quetzeri and Alfonso Vargas-Cortez. Both students contacted Megan Danner, the chaplin, who inspired Mariana and Alfonso to go through with recreating CSA at Southwestern. Soon after, there was an interest meeting for students who wanted to join. Their first official meeting is Monday, March 11, in the side room of the chapel on campus, at 8 pm, and everyone who is interested is more than welcome. Meetings will continue every other Monday at the same time and place. “CSA’s goal is to promote Catholic education, provide insight about the Catholic religion to students and provide Mass on campus to the Southwestern community.” This quote was found on the Southwestern University’s website under Student Organizations and Religions.
I talked with Mariana Quetzeri about her own personal perspective of this group, her own personal experience with Catholicism on campus, the reason for the group, and the goals. “[Coming into school] there was no one we could really talk too because there were no other Catholics [I] knew of…There are several other religious groups on campus but it comes with the different cultures and mindsets of the religions, so it was a struggle at some points to relate to some topics based on the different beliefs of each group. Bible studies were good but then there are also things that Catholics do that can vary compared to to other religions, so talking about [the differences] or relating to [the Bible study] was interesting. So the goal of the group is to create a Catholic group, and everyone is welcome, but just the emphasis on Catholicism and building community [on] what we believe. Also, just like any religion, some people move away from it or it might not be as strong [as] when your parents were telling you to go. Or its the opposite and it gets stronger because you realize what the struggle is and you just work towards it [the religion/faith]. So, we also want to have space where we hold each other accountable.”
Going to mass on Sundays, does it create a sense of community, and how do you think that students could feel?
“When we go to mass together is helpful, because last year I used to go by myself, and there are other young adults in the Georgetown community [at St. Helen], but they’re 25 and I was friends with them, but it is different now because they have already graduated from a university and are in a different place in their own lives. It’s refreshing to have people my own age and who believe in the same things that I do, I feel a deeper sense of community. Also, the majority of people there are much older or toddlers. So it’s good to have people my own age sitting together. I also think that it’s [helpful]/hopeful for older people to see younger people come in and enjoy the environment.”
Is there anything else you want people to know?
“I’ll read the purpose of the group….
‘CSA is a Catholic organization at Southwestern University dedicated to connecting students seeking faith, truth, and love.’ So one of the things we’re trying to do is, once we get started, we want to do community service and volunteer at the high school and middle school ministry at [St. Helen]. Also, older people and priests love seeing young people come in. One of the priests was actually campus minister at TXST for college students for a long time, and he has a big place in his heart for young adults.
Since it’s a lot of different people from different backgrounds, coming together… and I don’t think many people in the group have the same group of friends so then they can spread the word through their friends…
Last year for ash Wednesday I went to mass by myself, this year there were seven people going to seven am mass.”
Mariana goes to Sunday mass at St. Helen’s Catholic Church, and now so do a group of students. This group has shown the development of community and diversity at Southwestern University. There have been several [community conversations] talking about the lack of diversity and acceptance at the University and this is a good step forward. The CSA is hoping to develop a larger community in the years to come with an environment based on acceptance, forgiveness and love to all people.