Once again, a senior in high school emailed me with a list of excellent questions. This time, the focus was on the Butler Catholic Community. As I told her, I am so glad she asked because I’ve been meaning to write about the BCC. Here is part of the letter I wrote her:
First, here’s a bit of my own religious background. I was raised in the Catholic Church, but I’ve always gone to public school. I have nothing against Catholic schools and think they can be quite valuable, but I am very glad I went to public school. It was the right place for me, and I got used to being exposed to a bunch of different and sometimes contradictory ideas. Coming to Butler from my East Coast public school system actually felt like a smaller world demographically and (a bit) ideologically. So we have somewhat different situations.
That said, I understand your concerns. Nevertheless, I believe faith grows through questioning; what has survived testing is always stronger. College is where many people (free for the first time from parental influence and from the same friends and places they’ve always known) can find out whom they really want to be. If you are committed to your faith, I think you will find like-minded people wherever you go in your life. I know I have.
How do you join the Catholic Community?
The BCC is not like a club. Just show up at Mass, volunteer to help during the services, attend retreats and community service projects. You can be as involved as you want to be. We have a table at Block Party (a big event before classes start where every organization has a table on the quad; people can check out and sign up for all sorts of things.). You can sign up on our listserve to get emails about BCC events, and you can also sign up to receive a short prayer every morning. I am part of the leadership team, and we meet regularly to discuss programming and such. This year there is also a newly formed service committee that plans service projects.
What kinds of activities does the BCC sponsor?
Well, we have Mass every Sunday on campus. I am currently in charge of finding people to help during Mass, so you have the opportunity to be a communion minister, lector, or alter server. A student offers a short witness on the readings before Mass every week. There is also a midweek Mass most weeks.
We always have a freshmen retreat in September (it’s actually the upcoming Friday, and I’m so excited. It’s one of my favorite events). We’ve had sophomore walking retreats in the mornings, a men’s/women’s retreat, and some other activities at night. There are faith-sharing groups and even a group that meets once a week to discuss spirituality for college students, using the lives of the saints as an outline. A group of students even went to Honduras during the summer!
The priest, Father Jeff, offers Reconciliation. We have food pantry dates, assorted one-time service projects, tutoring local students, adoration, and prayer services. There’s usually a Mardi Gras dinner, and there are services on campus during days like Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Once we even baptized a baby!
If you are not Catholic or are interested in the interfaith opportunities, stop by the Blue House. There are loads of spirituality-type organizations available.
When and where is Mass held?
The time sometimes varies, but Sunday Mass is at 1 pm in the large reception room (the Johnson Room) in a building on campus called Robertson Hall. Midweek Mass is at 5 pm this semester in the little room in the Center for Faith and Vocation on campus. (The Center is painted a light shade of blue, so everyone calls it the Blue House.) That Mass lasts only about twenty minutes or so.
Are there any retreats?
I already mentioned this in the “activities” question. Usually retreats run from about six pm to midnight on a Friday night. Sometimes we go off campus: We’ve gone to the nearby St. Thomas, and I went to a convent last year with the women’s retreat. I highly recommend the freshmen retreat. I went as a new student and helped last year; I plan to help out again this year.
Remember, if you have any questions you would like me to answer, just leave a comment and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible! (My turnover time seems to be about a week.)