Category Archives: April 2019

The Final Curtain

Selwin Wainaina – Senior Anchor Intern, Multicultural Ministry

Coming in my freshman year, I would have never guessed that I would be this ready to leave a place that I have spent so much time devoting myself to. Like every place I’ve previously left where I was able to make life-long connections, laugh a lot, and take part in the community, I figured that the feeling of finally leaving the University of Notre Dame would be the embodiment of the Frank Sinatra song “My Way.” That I‘d stroll across the stage, the music would start, and as my eyes begin to swell with water I would begin singing “and now, the end is near…and so I face the final curtain. My friend, I’ll say it clear I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain…” This would be followed by numerous tears and embraces between me and my professors, friends, and mentors. This was the vision of my experience exiting this university. The only weird part is that… It’s not.

I wouldn’t say that my time here has been completely unpleasant, but it has had its fair share of challenges. There have been constant conflicts dealing with things like loneliness, depression, incompetence, mistakes, stress, anxiety, betrayal, and exclusion. My time as an actual student at this university has revealed that only certain people can fully gain the benefits and welcome of being a part of the broader “Notre Dame Community.” People often misquote 1 Corinthians 10:13 and preach that God will never give you more than you can handle. Well, I interpret the scripture very differently and have experienced first-hand dealing with conflicts and situations that I actually could not adequately handle. These occurrences have left me hurt and broken in so many ways and remind me of the point where Jesus is in the garden begging God saying, “won’t you take this cup from me!?” pleading for rescue from the misfortune that was to occur. But, as we have seen, his will is so much greater than our will.

Fall 2017 LFR Retreat

There is a song by VaShawn Mitchell that begins saying “there’s beauty in my brokenness.” I definitely believe these lyrics.  Through all of the trials I have experienced here at Notre Dame, I have grown and gained something beautiful. When I was excluded from one community I felt pushed to be a part of, I gained a new community and a true familia. From being betrayed and hurt by friends, I realized how to discern the people God wants in my life and the people who do not deserve to continue to be a part of my journey. From so many nights of stressing and letting anxiety get the best of me, I have learned to maintain peace through the realization that no matter what happens, God has me. And from experiencing exclusion and loneliness on this campus, I was able to gain true self-love and find those friends that will feed into me long after I graduate.

I believe that one of the greatest aspects of this university that I’ll miss the most are the friendships that I have made. Since I was younger, my favorite scripture, and someday tattoo, is St. John 15:13, “Greater love hath no man than this; than to lay down his life for a friend.” Friends have always been such an important part of my life, in some ways more than my family. These past four years have blessed me with great friendships who have fed me spiritually, emotionally, and mentally. Someone asked me the other day, if I could go back and have gone to another university instead, would I? These friends I made here are, sincerely, the only reason why I wouldn’t hesitate to take on Notre Dame all over again. I love these people and would give my life for each and every one of them.

Senior Anchor Interns Christmas Celebration

So, as I face my final curtain, I am tearing up with thankfulness that God has blessed me enough to attend the University of Notre Dame. It may not have been all sunshine and comradery, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world of growth and love that God has brought me into. “The record shows I took the blows…. and did it my way.

Dedicated to my friends and loved ones here at Notre Dame:

I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now…

– Philippians 1:3-5




Come, Join the Feast

Leah Buck, Senior Anchor Intern – Sacramental Preparation 

A couple of weeks ago, one of my professors opened class with the question, “What is the difference between eating and having a meal?” After a few minutes of discussion, the class came together and shared the fruits of their conversation and contemplation. We concluded that eating is for sustenance, while a meal is for savoring. Eating may mean passively grabbing a handful of pretzels on the way to class, while a meal implies an intentionality of compiling a plate and sitting down to consume it. Eating can be done in isolation, in a car or at a desk or in a dorm room, but meals are partaken in community. There is something more to a meal than just putting food into our bodies, there is a nourishment of soul that happens around the dinner table.

Jesus knew this truth well. Just look to see how often he dines in the gospels. He gathers with his friends and with his enemies, with his apostles to whom he will entrust the Church to and with the Pharisees who will persecute him. We see him eating breakfast by the sea with his disciples, feeding the crowds that he preached to, and reclining at the table with Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. Scripture never tells us, “Then Jesus grabbed a snack from the drive-through (or whatever the ancient Israel equivalent was) and went on his way.” No, Jesus intentionally gathers to eat and often ties his teaching to his meals. He quite literally builds the Kingdom of God over suppers.

This Thursday, we will celebrate the most significant meal that Jesus ever ate: the Last Supper. The last thing Christ did before entering into his passion was celebrating the Passover feast with his closest friends. As faithful Jews, he and his apostles prepared and ate the meal much as they would have every year of their lives, but at this meal, Jesus did something drastically different. In the midst of their supper, Jesus takes the bread they are sharing and says, “This is my body, given up for you.” The apostles were honestly pretty caught off guard, confused about what Christ was doing in breaking with the Passover rite. But Jesus was very clear: He is the bread of life, and this meal instituted something that would change the whole world, the Eucharist.

The altar at my home parish features a scene from the Last Supper, reminding us of the transcendent meal that we join at the Mass.

The Eucharist is the source and summit of our Catholic faith, the lifespring, the nourishment for all that the Church does. It is Christ made present to his Church every day, under the appearances of bread and wine. This is the most glorious earthly meal that we can ever partake in, the most intentional way that we can ever eat. But, though it is the holiest thing in the entire universe, it is only a prefigurement of the heavenly banquet that is to come.

One of my favorite songs, Gone are the Days by the Gray Havens, sums this dynamic up pretty well. The artist sings: “As I reach for the bread and the wine, for the comfort I’ll find, picture the scene. One day, to the table we’ll come, every daughter and son, finally free.” The Eucharist, the bread and the wine, is our greatest consolation, our greatest comfort. And as we receive it, we join with the whole Church in heaven and on earth around the same table. The eternal banquet in heaven is the same, the place where God is calling every son and daughter to gather, finally free from sin and suffering.

This song takes on a whole new dimension for eleven of my friends who are preparing to receive the Eucharist for the first time in the coming days. They have been preparing through the RCIA process at Notre Dame all year for these Liturgies, when they will be baptized and fully initiated into the Catholic Church. They are picturing their first Communion, where they, for the first time, will approach the Eucharistic table and share in this banquet. They will taste the goodness that the Lord offers, the foretaste of heaven, for the first time. Joining the universal human longing for heaven, they hunger and thirst for the bread of life. But so, so soon, they will get to taste it in the Blessed Sacrament.

The supper that we partake in at Mass is not merely eating. It is active, it is communal, it is soul-nourishing. It points us towards the place that we were each made for, the place where there is always room at the table, heaven. Join me in prayer for the men and women who will soon join us at the Eucharistic table for the first time.

Please pray with me for Chris, Brian, Jiale, Jin, Andrew, Ricky, Zoe, Sean, Spicer, Capria, Matthew, and Justin as they prepare for the reception of the Sacraments of Initiation later this month.

We Are All Ministers

Senior Anchor Intern, Jenna Morgan – Retreats and Pilgrimages

Yes, you heard me correctly, we are all called to be ministers… but maybe not in the way you might initially think of when you hear the word “minister.”

Until my sophomore year of college, I thought that to be a minister you had to have the job title and an official-looking nametag, particularly a gold one. I thought that to be a minister you had to have extensive training and some type of degree in theology, but I was wrong. Now, as an Intern for Campus Ministry, I have a new perspective on what it means to be a minister, and I’ve come to realize that though we are viewed as ministers in a more official capacity, we have actually been minsters all along, in those everyday moments. Allow me to explain.

First of all, let me start by debunking the myth of the gold name tag. Yes, it is pretty cool to have one with your name on it, but they are not as substantial as they appear. They are actually made of plastic and have the potential to scratch or crack. In many instances, those wearing the gold nametags can be just as much a participant as they are a leader. I was particularly confronted by this reality this past summer when I served as a mentor-in-faith for Notre Dame Vision. I soon discovered that though I was one of the individuals wearing a gold name tag, I was just as much a participant as everyone else. I was blessed to learn from the speakers, head staff, fellow mentors, and from the students we walked with throughout the summer. Our work did not originate from ourselves, we were simply instruments of God’s grace. I was humbled by each of the student’s thoughtful questions and responses, insights, and affirmations for one another; all they noticed, heard, and saw throughout the week. Some of the students asked questions that challenged the entire group to dig deeper and confront challenging questions and life circumstances.

Second, though having the training or a degree in theology may be helpful in some situations, it is by no means necessary to have these in order to be a minister. From my understanding and experience, the only requirement to be a minister is the willingness to intentionally share life with another. With this definition in mind, what constitutes ministry and who is a minister is wide open. Ministry definitely includes the commonly thought of activities and roles such as creating and running a retreat, leading a small group or Bible study, serving as a lector, Eucharistic Minister, or sacristan at Mass. But ministry also includes sharing a meal with someone, talking over a cup of coffee or tea, inviting someone to go to the Grotto, a Mass, or prayer service with you, sending them a good luck text before an exam you knew they were stressing about, remembering someone on their birthday, smiling and saying “Hi” to someone on the quad, helping someone set up for a dorm event they are running, and many more moments both large and small. These are all part of what is referred to as the ministry of presence: one’s attendance to another, with or without words, to be a vehicle of God’s love.

God calls us to serve, to minister. He calls us to meet others where they are at and become a part of their lives. He uses each of us and our unique gifts to hold each other up and to help each other grow in their journey with Christ. With so many different ways to minister, during this season of Lent I want to encourage you all to embrace your role as a minister. This call connects to the three elements of Lent: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. In particular, almsgiving may be seen in the three areas of time, talent, and treasure. Therefore, almsgiving is not only about monetary contributions, but giving of ourselves through our time and talent. Look at those who surround you, and discern who you might reach out to or accompany. Deliberately plan to become a part of their lives so that you can fulfill God’s call to you, for we are all called to be ministers.