A Call to Share our Mission — By JoAnn Shull

JoAnn_002In our second reading this Sunday, St. Paul reminds us that we each have the Spirit of God dwelling in us.  And how the Spirit is alive at Newman today!  Generations of students and parishioners have built the Newman Center into what it is today and have continued to bring Christ’s light to our corner of the world.

Last week in this bulletin column, Angelle wrote about the history of our student community.  Today, I write to you about our future.  What we do now impacts our community one month, one year, 10 years from now.  The way we shore up our foundation today will make a difference for the countless generations to come.

As you may have read about in the most recent parish newsletter or have seen at Mass, our student community is growing.  I don’t wish to belabor a point you may already know, but this growth is something to be proud of.  Our young Church – finding spiritual enrichment in our faith community – is making a difference on campus and in our world.

This past fall, we embarked upon a full-fledged development program for Campus Ministry.  You may hear the word “development” and think that it solely means asking for money.  But development, especially within the context of the Church, means more than donor asks and dollars raised. 

Henri Nouwen, an internationally known author and professor, wrote a book called A Spirituality of Fundraising, linking the need for resources in a ministry to those who wish to give.  For Nouwen, fundraising is a way of “announcing our vision and inviting others into our mission.”  We are not begging for money; instead, we seek to find an intersection with those who can meet our needs while we meet theirs.  Development and fundraising, in the Catholic context, is a discernment of how the Spirit – living within each of us – is calling us to act.

Is there a particular charity or organization that you give to because it makes you feel good?  Or one that you know is making a difference with your contributions?  That group is meeting a need for you.  You are able to use your God-given gifts to make a difference in the lives of others through your investment in an organization you trust.  Your gift, sparked by the Spirit, brings into fulfillment God’s call for you to serve.

Sometimes gifts are a stretch.  But, as God tends to do in all areas of our life, we are called to stretch to grow closer to Him.   As St. Paul exhorts in 2 Corinthians 9:8,“God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work.”  In giving through the Spirit, we share in God’s love with those to whom we give.

So, as we embark upon this new path, my call – as well as yours as members of this vibrant faith home – is to share our mission with others.  Our community is a community that fosters believers, grows disciples, and builds a community of love.  I invite you to actively participate in this mission, not just for our students but for our entire faith community. 

If we place our trust in our God-given mission, I am confident resources will follow – our God is a God of abundance!  We are called to humbly share the Light we have within us which will naturally attract others to the Good News in our community.  Your continued prayers for our faith community as well as the hundreds of benefactors outside of our immediate community are immensely appreciated as we share our mission.