Mike Urbaniak, Assistant Director of Leadership Formation
As I look out my Coleman-Morse window, out on to South Quad here at Notre Dame, the winter white has finally turned into budding green. The trudging and scurrying through snow and cold has given way to frisbees, Spike-ball, and soaking up the warmth of the sun. It is this transformation each year that signals the end of another academic year and the departure of another decorated class of graduates. In Campus Ministry, it means that we must say farewell to another year of Anchor Senior Interns, thankful for the incredible work they have done and excited for what they have to offer the world beyond zip code 46556.
Being the director of the Anchor Senior Internship in Campus Ministry, I have the unique privilege of walking alongside these eleven students on their yearlong journey as student and minister. I have seen their exaltation in the execution of a great event. I have heard the challenge of cancellations and misunderstandings in communication. I have sat with the tears of stress, anxiety, and grief. I have witnessed the breakthroughs in discipleship. I have celebrated the accomplishments of the present and the acceptance of future opportunities. It is bittersweet to see this time come to an end. Mostly, however, I’m simply proud. I’m proud to have been a part of shaping this year with them, doing what I could to help them grow, but mostly relying on the Holy Spirit to guide their formation into the likeness of Christ.
I imagine Jesus might have felt this somewhat as he sent his disciples out at the end of the Gospel of Matthew:
All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
Jesus sends them out with purpose and pretty clear direction. I don’t believe he would do that if he wasn’t proud of them or believed that they couldn’t do the job. Those disciples were sent out to change the world. And, they aren’t sent out on their own, but Jesus reminds them that he is always with them.
I am proud to send out our interns because I too know that they can change the world. They are capable and skilled. They are gritty and resilient. They are compassionate and empathetic. Most importantly, they have Jesus with them, always. I have seen their growth in relationship with Him this year and that makes the “bittersweet”-ness of sending them out more sweet than bitter.
As I’ve stated before, these students are called our Anchor Senior Interns, and as I close out my reflection I’d like to make one last note for anyone reading this. Many of you will know that the anchor is an ancient sign of Christian hope. This is also seen in the cross and anchors present on campus, a symbol of the Congregation of Holy Cross, the founders of Notre Dame, whose motto is “Hail the Cross, our only hope”. If you ever have any doubt about the future of our world or our Church, I’d be happy to set you up to have coffee with one of these fine young men and women. They are my hope. By no means are they perfect (neither am I!). But, they are men and women who think deeply, pray fiercely, and care compassionately. They are doing their best to live lives integrated with the Gospel. They seek justice and mercy. They care about those who are most vulnerable and constantly ask how to serve them better. We are so fortunate to have them officially with us for a year, but even more fortunate that they are heading out beyond our campus into the world to glorify God with their lives as ministers, doctors, consultants, teachers, engineers, business people, and more. I give thanks to God for them especially this day and pray for God’s Spirit to continue to guide them, to make disciples of all nations.