This past weekend I traveled to Oklahoma to do promote monastic vocations at the Catholic Center on the campus of Oklahoma State University. My classmate, Fr. Kerry Wakulich, is pastor at St. John’s Catholic Student Center and he is always welcoming to the monks of Conception Abbey.
What do you do when you travel to a college campus for vocations?
Normally the pastor invites me to celebrate Mass and preach to the students. This past visit I took the Friday noon Mass, the Sunday morning Mass, Sunday evening Mass, and Monday noon Mass. I also setup a vocation display and have different information about monastic life, prayer cards, and Benedictine medals available for the students. I make myself available for the Sacrament of Reconciliation and for spiritual direction and schedule appointments with the students. I witness to the Benedictine way of life by being around campus and the student center in my monastic habit. Many students don’t know about monastic life and I need to be present to answer their questions. Since I’ve visited OSU about once a semester for a couple of years, I have gotten to know many of the students’ names. Building relationships is an important part of the ministry.
In this case, it is also a helpful connection that I attended Oklahoma State for two years before entering seminary. While at Oklahoma State I was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, which is always something students are surprised to hear.
Below: Fr. Kerry and I pose next to the monastery vocation display board and materials.
Below: Monday evening Fr. Kerry arranged for 15 men from the Newman Center to meet out at a ranch outside of town. The ranch belongs to one of the parishioners. We started with skeet shooting, then grilled some pork chops. It was a good chance for fellowship and brotherhood. One of the freshmen is pictured below aiming at one of the clay pigeons.
On the morning I was departing to return to Conception, I was able to visit my niece and nephew’s classrooms at their Catholic grade school. My nephew is in first grade and I am pictured below with his teacher and class. I gave them icon prayer cards of St. Benedict and medals.
Upon my return, Wednesday evening I did my usual ministry at the Newman Center at Northwest Missouri State University and afterwards we had another Bible Study. We continued our discussion about the Eucharist and Mass. To begin the Bible Study I had organized a quiz about the Mass. We used Kahoot, a website that allows you to make a quiz and have all of the participants use their mobile devices to answer the multiple choice questions. Since everyone in the group is really competitive, the quiz format went well.