By Carl Legg
For Lent 2017, Canisius’ Campus Ministry has been doing its best to get the community involved with Christian practices. Under the theme of Jesus Christ’s words, “I Thirst,” they are hosting many events to strengthen the faith of those who participate. It is Campus Ministry’s goal through these events to help satisfy the thirsts that their students have. Their efforts can be clearly seen through all of them, from meditation services, to faith sharing and prayer groups, to a photo project; there is something to appeal to everyone.
Associate Campus Minister, Paul Stage, encourages everyone to try out as many of these events as possible to find which one reaches them the most. He believes that Lent is a time for reflection and prayer, and is motivated to help students participate. It is easy to forget about Lenten practices, but Stage emphasizes the importance of committing to them because “we are creatures of habit, and sometimes we slowly slide into bad habits.” He has faith that Canisius can make the most of them.
“Once a year, the Christian faith asks us all to take a good, hard look at those habits and make a firm commitment to do better, because we know that we can,” Stage said. He went on to say that Canisius has a tradition of periodic reflection during Lent to encourage those in the community to become their best possible selves in the classroom, church, and living room.
Students at Canisius are equally involved with the events. The “I Thirst” theme was brought forth by student Julia Dressler. Inspired by a letter from Saint Mother Teresa, the theme has been part of the programming and publicity. The letter was written through the perspective of Jesus Christ in an attempt to describe his love for everyone as equivalent to his thirst. Stage said that it was an easy choice because “it so deeply conveys the traditional Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and giving.”
One passage exemplifying this states, “For Me, there is no one any more important in the entire world than you. I THIRST FOR YOU. Open to Me, come to Me, thirst for Me, give Me your life – and I will prove to you how important you are to My Heart.” As people give up their bad habits for Lent, it is important to understand what they are trying to make room for.
The “I Thirst” theme is best found through its photo project. The Flickr project can be found on the Campus Ministry webpage and is a moving gallery of students expressing what they thirst for. The depths of the hearts at Canisius are on full display with pleas for things like “Acceptance,” “Magis,” and even something as simple as “Something New.” The photo project is continually being added to on a daily basis.
Canisius’ Campus Ministry is constantly working to enhance the spiritual experience here. If anyone is looking to get involved with them, their doors on the second floor of Old Main are always open. The Ministry’s programs are listed on their website, and they are always hoping to see new faces.