By now, we have seen advertisements for clothing, supplies, and even furniture as part of the back-to-school sales. For many, it is a time to return to a routine for nine months which includes clubs, sports, and academics. It is also a time when our faith will be put to the test. The good news is we have tools that will help us maintain our faith while fostering friendships with like-minded people we encounter. Here are some ways to maintain faith during the school year.
1. Get involved with a Catholic Newman Center
For those of us who are attending a secular campus, we should be sure to find a Newman Center. Be sure to note its Mass schedule, meet the FOCUS missionaries on campus, take part in retreats, make frequent visits, and attend Mass every Sunday. The Catholic Center will have bible events, Holy Hours, Daily Mass, rosary, confession, and many other activities to nurture your faith. Always find time to visit the Newman Center. If attending a Catholic University, be sure to find out Mass/Confession/Holy Hour schedules.
2. Find professors who align with your faith values
How often have we felt humiliated or even chastised by a professor who lines his or herself on the left side of the political spectrum as your classmates check their faith they once learned at the door in the name of comfort and convenience? Catholics are not meant to blend in, they are meant to stand out from the crowd. Stay away from progressive professors as they will single one out to the point of surrender to fit in with the culture.
3. Find people who want to build you up into a virtuous person
At a Catholic Center or club on your campus, there will be fellow students on the same journey as you. They want to surround themselves with those who will build them up, not tear them down. Spend more time with them as opposed to those who are engaged in drugs, porn, hook-up, and rowdy parties, among other things that will compromise one’s beliefs.
4. Take part in a pro-life club
One way to help you grow in being a faithful witness to the gospel is to defend the church’s teachings. One is pro-life. Learn about apologetics, step into the breach outside of abortion facilities with fellow club members, take an active role, and help plan events to counter pro-abortion demonstrations. There was a college pro-life group that countered a Planned Parenthood chapter during an activity fair and were literally next to each other.
5. Be You
During a student’s four years of college, they will be challenged to be a copycat. God created us to be the best version of ourselves. Likewise, we must be ready to stand against the tide of mediocrity. As St. Catherine of Siena reminds us, “Be who you are meant to be, and you will set the world ablaze.”
The faith must be sustained, nurtured, and defended during these critical four years. Sadly, 80% of young adults will lose their faith by the time they attend college. It is time to turn against the tide.