Listening Sessions Lead to New Fellowship Group at St. Edward’s University

Parishes, campus ministries and Catholic schools throughout the nation have extended invitations to young adults to voice their hopes and concerns about the Church in preparation for the XV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops later this year. At St. Edward’s University, the Listening Sessions facilitated by the Brothers of Holy Cross last fall made a few things clear.

“[Students] want to be heard. They want the Church to recognize that it’s a new generation and a new time,” said Bro. Larry Atkinson, CSC, assistant director of campus ministry at St. Edward’s. The Listening Sessions also revealed a desire among Catholic students for more education in the faith. “St. Edward’s is inclusive of all religious traditions, and we do that well,” said Bro. Larry. “But we found that Catholic students also want to have an opportunity to talk about and share their faith.”

Soon after, a new fellowship group, Father, Son, Holy Spirit (FSHS) Catholic Group formed. Since October 2017, a group of approximately 15-17 students has met each Thursday to learn about the Catholic faith, socialize and build a stronger faith-filled community. A student leadership team in Campus Ministry runs the group; the Brothers have provided some guidance and instruction on topics ranging from Mass to the symbolism of Advent. “We wanted the group to be about them,” stressed Bro. Larry.

Looking ahead to the Synod of Bishops, Bro. Larry has a number of hopes. “This new generation is facing a lot,” he said. “They are informed about world issues, but they also live in this world of social media, which can be lonely. Young people are looking for community more than anything else and we have to provide those opportunities in the Church.”