Dear College Students,
Each year at this time I like to write a letter to students who are going to college. I want to encourage you to be faithful, to stand up for the faith and to live good, moral lives, despite the negative influences around you in some of your fellow students and many of your professors. This year, our Bishop, Bishop John Barres, also chose to write a letter to college students that you can find at drvc.org. What I would like to do is to take the Bishop’s 12 categories and offer my thoughts on each of his categories.
The Bishop began by writing:
“So much has changed in the world since last semester, and so much will be different on campus this year. Yet one thing remains: the love of Jesus Christ … The Holy Spirit desires spiritual greatness from you right in the midst of the heavy crosses the world is carrying.
As the year begins, I would like to offer you some words of advice as you strive for holiness in this unique moment of history.”
1) First, be radically faithful to the Sunday Mass. It will be good for you and will make your parents and grandparents very happy to know you are going to Mass.
2) Pray daily. Download a New Testament app on your phone and use it daily.
3) Live the 10 Commandments. Reject moral relativism—the belief that there is no right or wrong. This is a prevalent view in may college classes. Be able to identify relativism and reject it!
4) Have a deep devotion to the Holy Spirit. Say the prayer, “Come, Holy Spirit” often.
5) Serve generously. Be generous with you time giving Christian service. There are many Christian service opportunities available through Campus Ministry and Newman Centers at your college – service introduces you to great people, you do a lot of good, and others benefit from your energy and talent!
6) Sanctify your daily academic work. This is what God is asking you to do right now – to be a student. Don’t misuse your opportunities to learn!
7) Build authentic friendships. College friends can be companions for life. Choose wisely.
8) Learn to articulate the Catholic faith. What we believe in makes sense once you understand it. When someone says something that you know isn’t right, but can’t explain why – ask your campus minister to explain it. There’s always an explanation!
9) Explore the work of Catholic intellectuals in your area of study. Catholic scholars are in every field, not just theol- ogy. Find the Catholic scholars in your area of study and learn from they how they integrated their faith with their knowledge.
10) Be an instrument of Catholic social justice grounded in the sanctity of all human life. Join organizations that promote human life. It may be an unpop- ular position, but it is an important one.
11) Remember those affected by the Covid-19 crisis. There are important things going on in the world beyond your college campus!
12) Go to Mary. Pray the rosary and take her advice at the wedding of Cana, “Do whatever He (Jesus) tells you to do.”
“Thank you for your witness to your Catholic faith on your university campus. Be not afraid! Remember with St. Paul that eyes have not seen and ears have not heard what God has prepared for those who love Him. God Bless You.
Sincerely in Christ, Bishop John O. Barres”
Praised be the name of Jesus Christ now and forever!