My goddaughter is heading off to college in Michigan so I gave her some money. I told her that when she gets settled there she should stop by the college store to pick out for me a coffee mug or a t-shirt or something with the college logo on it and to send it to me. Then every time I drink from the mug or wear the t-shirt I will say a short prayer for her and maintain a little connection with her.
I hope the college students will seek to stay connected too. Most importantly I hope they can stay connected with God. Most college alumni have happy memories of their college days but they also likely will recall what a stressful time it was. College life is beset with financial stress, social stress, peer pressure, maybe homesickness, roommate dramas, class loads, assignment deadlines, and the physical demands of sleepless nights and over-commitment.
What a difference prayer can make in the busy college life – taking some time in silence every day to listen to the calming and strengthening voice of the Good Shepherd. A good habit of confession and a commitment to receiving every Sunday the Bread of Life can bring about a strength of spirit that will make all the difference in the critical college years.
I also encourage college students to check in with the Catholic campus ministry and see what retreat offerings they have. It’s a good way to meet other good students and a great way to get spiritually fortified for the demands of the semester.
Parents, you can help to your student to stay connected to their faith while they are away. Log onto The Newman Connection website at www.newmanconnection.org or the Fellowship of Campus University Students website at www.focus.org . Contact the campus ministry or the local parish with your student’s contact information. They would be happy to contact your student or send information regarding Catholic college happenings.
Students, here is a prayer by St. Thomas Aquinas called, “A Prayer Before Study.” Be assured of the prayers of your parish family. Seek what is true, beautiful, and good!
“Grant, o merciful God, that I may ardently desire, prudently examine,
truthfully acknowledge, and perfectly accomplish what is pleasing to Thee
for the praise and glory of Thy name. Amen.”