By Most Reverend David Ricken, Bishop of Green Bay
Participate in Mass: There are frequent opportunities for you to have a personal encounter with Jesus on campus. This occurs most immediately in the Eucharist. Regular Mass attendance helps strengthen your faith through the Scriptures, the Creed, other prayers, sacred music, the homily, receiving Communion and being part of a faith community.
Go to Confession: Like going to Mass, you will find strength and grow deeper in your faith through participation in the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. Confession urges people to turn back to God, express sorrow for falling short and open their lives to the power of God’s healing grace. It forgives the injuries of the past and provides strength for the future.
Learn about the lives of the saints: The saints are timeless examples of how to live a Christian life, and they provide endless hope. Not only were they sinners who kept trying to grow closer to God, but they also exemplify ways a person can serve God: through teaching, missionary work, charity, prayer and simply striving to please God in the ordinary actions and decisions of daily life.
Read the Bible daily: Scripture offers first-hand access to the Word of God and tells the story of human salvation. You can pray the Scriptures (often times in a group setting in dorms or led by your campus chaplain) to become more attuned to the Word of God. Either way, the Bible is a must for helping you sustain and grow your faith during college.
Read the documents of the Church: College is a time of learning and studying, and expanding your knowledge of our Catholic faith is an important part of that. To become the kind of well-formed person you surely wish to be, you must understand what the Church really teaches and how it enriches the lives of believers.
Study the Catechism: The Catechism of the Catholic Church covers the beliefs, moral teachings, prayer and sacraments of the Catholic Church in one volume. It’s a resource for growing in understanding of the faith. Another helpful resource is the U.S. Catholic Catechism for Adults (USCCA).
Volunteer in campus ministry: Growing your faith can’t only be about study and reflection. The solid grounding of the Scriptures, Church teachings and the Catechism must translate into action. Campus ministry is a great place to start, and each person’s gifts help build up the community. Helping others brings Catholics face-to-face with Christ and creates an example for the rest of the world.
Invite a friend to Mass: A personal invitation can make all the difference to someone who has drifted from the faith or feels alienated from the Church. Everyone knows people like this, so everyone can extend a loving welcome.
Incorporate the Beatitudes into daily life: The Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12) provide a rich blueprint for Christian living. Their wisdom can help you to be more humble, patient, just, transparent, loving, forgiving and free. It’s precisely the example of lived faith needed to make your campus years a time of your life that you will remember fondly for years to come.