Tuesday, February 03, 2009

A heartfelt message to our Student Minister Candidates

I’ve never held a meeting like this before.
In 11 years I’ve been here I never thought of asking for one.

I asked you to come here because
I just couldn’t let the interview process continue without taking an opportunity to talk to you.

I want to start off by telling you a little about yourselves.

There are some Eagle Scouts here
There are a number of you, a lot of you, who were members of the National Honor Society in High School.

There are some very athletic people here.

I was amazed at how many of you were involved in youth ministry not only in leadership roles in your parishes but also in leadership roles on a diocesan level.

Some of you are really smart.
Others succeed academically by plugging along but you still succeed.
Some of you are members of the give me a C and set me free crowd.

A lot of you have been involved in all kinds of community service.
One of you even postponed college to do a year of service in another country.

So many of you were involved in the Kairos retreat programs in High School
A number of you served as rectors on these important retreats.

Many of you are willing to give up things very important to you for a chance to serve as a student minister on our campus.

A number of you expressed your willingness to serve wherever you were needed in whatever building we placed you.
You placed no conditions on your willingness to serve.

Many of you have had a special moment of faith which you can point to which changed your life.
Maybe this was an encounter with God.
Some of you spoke about these special moments in very moving terms.

Some of you can’t point to one moment like that but you still have this intense desire for more.
It is clear from your applications that you want to know, serve and love God more.

Lots of you come from large families
Some of you are home schooled

Some of you have looked addictions in the eye and are living sober lives.

A lot of you just want to help and you wrote things like…..

“I really want to make a difference in someone’s life.”
“I’m no saint but I want to share what I have.”

Some of you expressed concern about being able to balance all of the demands a year of ministry would make on your time and relationships.

But the vast majority of you said you were willing to try and make any necessary sacrifices.

Several of you seem to have musical talent and one of you even served the Cathedral in your diocese in this capacity.

A number of you were really honest about being scared or intimidated about being a student minister or even applying but what amazed me was that even with your fear I still had your application in my hands.

I could go on and on and on about your applications and what you wrote but then I wouldn’t have time to talk about your references.

So many of you are considered “exceptional rare finds” by the people who wrote references for you.

There was not one negative comment from past employers.

You worked in Pet stores and beauty salons
I think one of you bar backed

One boss called one of you up and tried her hardest to push you to the limit by posing as an obnoxious client and you never lost your cool “that’s great customer service”

A number of you cut grass in the summer or should I say provided lawn care.

There are a myriad of waitresses and waiters in this room.

A lot of you worked in your parishes answering the phones, cleaning the church etc.
Your priests love you.

Your employers rave about you

One of you after learning that your teacher had a huge project at home to work on during the weekend showed up to help him out without expecting anything in return.
Your teacher was so touched by that.

Perhaps the most moving of all the references were the peer reviews.

So many of you are good friends, caring friends, loving friends
So many of you go the extra mile over and over again
Many of your friends look up to you and hold you up as an example.

One wrote: ”She was the only person I could count on, the only person I could trust in the whole world” WOW

There are sixty of you and if we had the funding and the resources
I would hire all of you.
Truth be told we have 18 or 19 spots maybe less.

Roughly, two thirds of you will not be hired as student ministers.
You knew this and you still applied.. Thank you.

This year I couldn’t let you go through the process without telling you how proud I was of you.

I couldn’t let you go through the process without making sure you knew how grateful I (we) were for your willingness to serve your peers on campus as a student minister.

s you know ours is not a short application process and your willingness to submit yourself to a long application with three references and a 2 stage interview process speaks to your generous hearts.

Sometimes people take not being hired as a rejection.

Once I was walking across campus and there was one of the student ministers crying in McMahon parking lot because she was not given another year to serve.

Some people walk the other way when they see someone from the professional staff coming their way after they receive the word that they were not hired because they feel angry or embarrassed or disappointed.

Once in a while people just stop being involved.
I have to say I am always very sad when that happens.

For a while, we used to write little notes in the letters of the students not hired encouraging them to get involved in this or that activity based on the skills we saw in the interview.

Many told us as soon as they read they weren’t hired they didn’t read the rest of the letter they just crumpled it up and threw it away so that didn’t work.

I don’t’ have a clue who will be hired. I won’t even be at the interviews

However, I want you to write this on your heart
There is a place for ALL OF YOU EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU in the life of the Church on this campus.

There is a place for everyone to serve
There is a desperate need for everyone to serve.
There are unlimited opportunities to serve your classmates and friends and God in profound holy and generous ways at CUA

Our little ministry needs 200 student leaders just to do what we normally do.

We need…
Community Service Site Leaders
Retreat Leaders
Renew Group Leaders
Renew Core Team Leaders
DC Reads Site Leaders
Esto Vir and Gratia Plena and Students for Life Officers
CAC Officers
Pro-life Hospitality leaders and volunteers
Mission trip leaders
Liturgical Minster Team leaders for our lectors, servers, Ems of Holy Communion, Musicians and Hospitality greeters
RCIA team leaders
Confirmation Team leaders
Social Justice Committee Team leaders
Work Study Student Staff
University Chapel Sacristans.

All of these tasks are noble and holy and sacrificial and essential ways to serve Christ and your peers on our campus.

If for whatever reason you are not hired I would beg you to serve in one of these important initiatives at CUA. Or find another way to serve.

Any member of our professional staff is very willing to sit with you and work with you to find your place in the life of the church on campus.

I don’t have the power to take away the disappointment you may feel in not being hired.

And even if I did it wouldn’t be good for me to do so because in life will always be disappointments and all of us have to deal with them and not let them discourage us or defeat us.
That’s just part of adult life.

Remember I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

I called you here because I was moved by your generosity.
I called you here because I (we) are grateful for your willingness to serve.
I called you here to make sure you knew that I (we) believe in you even if you are not hired.
I called you here because there is still so much to be done for the life of the Church on Campus.

Let’s place all of the applicants and this process the hands of Our Lady.

Let’s pray for a successful search to replace Erin Craine so that she can be the full time Mom she longs to be.

Please pray that I get rid of this cold and feel better

Let’s pray for each other.


1 comment:

fr. Matt, OFM Conv. said...

prayers promised....