We are all One Body — By JoAnn Shull

JoAnn_002Welcome to all of our visiting families for Mizzou’s Family Weekend! We are happy to have you here.

As you may have gathered by looking around during Mass, the St. Thomas More Newman Center is not your ordinary parish. In addition to the 600+ families that attend on a regular basis, we also see 1,000+ college students. We offer all that a regular parish does — children’s religious education, sacraments, and social justice/service opportunities — as well as serving as the largest Catholic campus ministry in the state of Missouri.

This is a special place.

Over the years, so many people from different walks of life have shaped Newman into what it is today. Our resident families provide the backbone of our parish, supporting and creating structures that allow this place to thrive and grow, year after year. The students bring life, energy, and creativity to the mix, encouraging all of us to renew our relationship with Christ. Our alumni and parents of current students provide the much needed support — both prayerfully and financially — so that our student ministries have the resources they need to spread the Gospel on campus.

Without all of these component parts, Newman would not be what it is today. I am reminded of St. Paul’s writings to the Corinthians: “God placed the parts, each one of them, in the body as he intended. If they were all one part, where would the body be? But as it is, there are many parts, yet one body” (1 Corinthians 12:18-20).

As the Development Director for Campus Ministry, I feel privileged to work with the parents and alumni who are part of our Newman “body.” I hope that you know that you are a valued part of our community.

As parents, I ask you to prayerfully consider how the Lord is calling you to be an active part of the body. We rely on your generous support to serve our students. As you heard during Mass, we have a matching gift this weekend that will match your donation up to $2,500! You can also have your gift matched through Tuesday on our website at www.comonewman.org/giving.

I am always looking for parent and alumni volunteers who are willing to help raise support for our students — they are worth it! And I hope you will have some fun in the process, too.
Above all, I ask for your prayers. God is doing some amazing things this year. During Welcome Week, our students taught international students about root beer floats and Jesus. I heard the story of a new freshman who, after pondering Jesus’ words of “Who do you say that I am?” grew in boldness and began to invite his hall mates to Mass. We also had an impromptu group of 25+ college women gather to watch Disney’s Moana and talk about how the Gospel message was present throughout the film.

These are just a few stories that I have heard in the past few weeks. I am sure there are countless more about how the God is working in the lives of our college students. How can you contribute to the Lord’s plan? In what way is He calling you?

On behalf of our pastor, Fr. Rich Litzau, O.P., the Campus Ministry Team, and the entire staff and community at the Newman Center, we are happy you’re here. Thank you for enriching the life of our parish community. Safe travels home, and please visit again soon!