A Faith Community for DU Students

An organization on campus is striving to provide a community for students to express faith in the midst of a largely non-religious school.

 

The DU Catholic Student Fellowship (CSF) is a campus organization that serves Catholic Christian students through various services and events. The organization functions as a club with a student-run board, as well as a ministry served by priests and graduate student volunteers.

 

“I think the mission of CSF,” said student president Zoe Klein, “is to enhance students’ faith and allow them to express it in the most comfortable way possible.”

Klein emphasized the importance of making new students feel comfortable, based on understandable reasoning. Religious students at DU represent a sizable minority, with only about 60 students out of the undergraduate population of 5,600 regularly attending Sunday Mass.

 

“It’s very hard both meeting other people and being Catholic when you first come to college, and of course you don’t want to be weird and go to mass alone with a bunch of old people looking at you,” said Klein.

 

Klein serves as the head of a student board comprised of five members that helps plan events  and liases with the University like any other student organization.

 

“We plan a few big events each year, such as a weekend retreat at Mt. Evans every Fall Quarter, and we just did a day hike last weekend that we’re going to make a regular event,” said Klein.

 

In addition to the larger, community based events the students of CSF plan, the organization also hosts regular weekly services. These are largely put on by the Servants of Christ Jesus, an order of four priests and religious brothers, part of whose mission includes ministering to students.

 

They became the exclusive pastors to DU after FOCUS, a nationwide college missionary organization left the campus in 2011.

 

These priests hold mass every Sunday at 6 p.m. in Evans Chapel on campus, and is followed by a free “Sunday Supper” at the Catholic House on the north side of campus, which serves as CSF’s headquarters aside from Evans.

 

Other regular events include weekly men’s and women’s bible studies, as well a multi-purpose event on Wednesday evenings called Spirit Night.

 

“[At Spirit Nights] we teach the students many different parts of the faith,” said Brother Thomas Gonzaga, a priest-in-training with the Servants. “We talk about different teachings of the Church, help students learn how to grow their prayer, and also provide one-on-one direction.”

 

Outside of the formal purposes of these events, the formation of friendships and mentor relationships within the community was emphasized as an important benefit of CSF.

 

“The community is really tight-knit,” said Sarah Purple, a graduate student of Theology at the Augustine Institute who serves as a campus minister to the women of CSF.

 

“It’s relate great to see how the students come together to support one another, especially in a campus that frequently challenges their faith life. But I’ve also seen how that can strengthen the community.”

 

Purple, who attended the Catholic University of America for her undergraduate degree, offered a unique perspective on the nature of CSF.

 

“[The Catholic community] is definitely smaller than others I’ve seen, but I think the students benefit from being in the middle of a campus like this,” said Purple. “They have a unique opportunity here to learn from other viewpoints, but also share their faith.”

 

According to Purple, the Servants’ efforts to help the students of CSF grow seem to be working.

 

“These students know how to stand up for their faith – they know what they believe and why they believe it.”

 

Sheer numbers seem to attest to this as well. Klein, a junior, shared that the average Spirit Night attendance has increased to 15-20 people each week compared to just four during her freshman year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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