We’ve all heard the stories of nice young people going off to college and falling off the deep end, where all a parent has to show for the enormous amount of debt they’ve accumulated is a kid who can recite every song of Grateful Dead and Phish by heart, and a new ability to grow multiple strands of strange herbs. I remember when I first came home for Thanksgiving from college. My dad was waiting to pick me up at the train station and didn’t recognize me. With my new beard, long hair, and faded jeans and bag (which, of course, cost more because they were faded!) he thought I was a homeless person! Luckily, though, I hadn’t fallen off the deep end. I went to a very Catholic University (Steubenville) and fell in to amazing group of Catholic young men. I was just experimenting with “style” for the first time.
Not all parents are so lucky, however. A very disturbing amount of young adults stop practicing their faith while in college – never to pick it up again. Colleges in our Archdiocese are no different. Of the approximately 66,000 combined students at CU, UNC, and CSU, about 15,500 are Catholic. Of those about 1,200 students show up at Mass on any given Sunday at those three universities combined. According to some recent surveys, many of the other 14,300 will never come back to Church.
I think in large part this is simply due to the turmoil inherent in freshman year of college. Those first few months away from home can be the most exciting, unhindered, and lonely time in a person’s life. Many young people, at a very vulnerable place in life, go from the comforts of home to the comforts of the wrong crowd.
Thanks to a generous donation – we’ve devised a way to help ensure that the graduating teens of the Archdiocese of Denver are found by the right crowd. On the Office of Youth, Young Adult and Campus Ministry page of the Archdiocese website there is a Campus Ministry Scholarship brochure to download for teens to fill out and send us their contact info. A $1,000 scholarship will be randomly awarded to one of them. (Deadline is August 8th.) The info includes where they’re going to college and will be passed on to campus ministry at that college before they arrive there.
Please help get the word out about this brochure to all graduating seniors – because if we aren’t seeking them out and evangelizing them in their first weeks of college…someone else probably will.