Today we hear from Rowan students and how they are involved in their faith on campus. They are involved in clubs such as Catholic Campus Ministry, Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship, and Hillel.
Amanda McNally is a freshman Athletic Training major from Tabernacle, NJ (Burlington County). Amanda is involved with Catholic Campus Ministry. She says that “just going to the meetings alone, and the student masses every Saturday, I have had the opportunity to hear from speakers, such as religious sisters and a married couple, and talk with a bunch of other students who are my age and share the same beliefs as me. It is really nice to be able to talk about my faith with other people my age and go to mass with other people away from home. I have noticed in this first semester that all of the members are there by choice. In high school, people went to my youth group and their parents made them go, but it’s great to be with people who want to be there and follow their faith.”
Morgan McRae a junior Music Therapy major from Forked River, NJ (Ocean County), is also involved with Catholic Campus Ministry. Morgan says that it was nice to connect and bond with people over something deeper than surface level. “I never really had Catholic friends before, I went to a public school, so that was a big change for me. I feel like I can talk about different aspects of my faith and feel accepted.” She also discusses the different kinds of activities and discussions they have. “Before March, we used to have different activities. When March came, everything moved online. Rebekah Hardy, our Director of Campus Ministry, and Father Rossi, the pastor at Saint Bridget’s University Parish, did a great job of picking topics that are just as impactful online as in person.”
Carley Robinson a junior Psychological Sciences major with a neuroscience minor from Marlton, NJ (Burlington County) is involved with Catholic Campus Ministry, as well as Chi Alpha. “Catholic Campus Ministry has meetings every week to discuss different topics in the Catholic faith. We learn about one sacrament, belief, or doctrine in the Catholic faith in each meeting. We usually have a retreat every semester for a weekend, as well. On the retreats, we have many more Catholic activities such as mass, adoration, listening to talks, and getting to know other Catholics in the Rowan community in a special way. There is a college student mass on Saturday night at 4:30 pm at Saint Bridget’s University Parish. There is a bible study every other Thursday as well. I also am involved with the Christian club Chi Alpha. They have bible studies, and praise and worship every week.” She says that over quarantine, she was able to take time and make sure her foundation was in God. “During 2020, I was able to have the perception of it being a challenge, rather than something to destroy your faith, and I think that helped me. As a Catholic, you want to have God as your foundation, so being alone and separated from people is a good opportunity to work on that and see where your priorities really are and see if your foundation really is on God.”
Brianna Broadwater is a freshman Psychology major from Bel Air, Maryland, and a new Catholic. She completed the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) over the summer at a church in her hometown, and now she loves being part of the Rowan Catholic community. “Catholic Campus Ministry has honestly helped me make the most friends and helps me get to do a lot of things, especially during the pandemic. We haven’t gotten to do as much, but there is still Newman Night every Wednesday, and we have group chats. We have a whole freshmen group chat dedicated to freshmen from the club, and we all talk and eat good food. We get to help each other with anything we are going through and tell each other stories and make each other laugh. It is amazing.” I have gotten to thrive more in my faith this year because I have been able to go to Newman every Wednesday, and I go to the bible studies on Thursdays sometimes. I also go to the student mass on Saturdays, and I have been able to cantor for that. I have been very involved in church, and I have been able to have more of a prayer life. I have started a prayer journal about things that are important to me, and goals. I have started getting more involved in my faith.”
Steven Douglass a sophomore Chemistry major from Cherry Hill, NJ (Camden County) is also involved in Catholic Campus Ministry. “Catholic Campus Ministry gives me a community of like-minded people and it helps to have a good friend group that has the same beliefs as you.”
Alex Herschman is a junior Management and Marketing major from Marlboro, NJ (Monmouth County). She just finished her term as vice president of Hillel, and began serving as president. “I began going to Hillel as a freshman and loved it ever since attending my first event, which made me eager to join Hillel’s executive board. I started off as the organization’s social media chair, then served as the vice president and now president.” She says that Hillel gave her a sense of belonging at Rowan. “Hillel gave me that Jewish community and sense of belonging on campus. We are all super close, and I feel comfortable with them, and it is nice to have something in common with each other. If I am on campus and not at home, I can celebrate the Jewish holidays with the community at Hillel. During Passover, we do a seder, and for Yom Kippur, we were able to do an outside break fast event, which was very nice, because it was on a Monday and I was not able to go home. It was great to spend the holiday with my fellow Hillel members when I couldn’t go home and spend it with my family.”
Christa Ouellette a senior Civil and Environmental Engineering major from Delanco, NJ (Burlington County), is also a part of the Catholic Campus Ministry. “Catholic Campus Ministry has opened up so many doors for me. One of the greatest things that Catholic Campus Ministry has done for me spiritually is the group discussions and retreats we do. These guided retreats we do one weekend a semester are just us and we get to step away from the world for a bit and reconnect spiritually. We also do different trips sometimes. In 2018 or 2019, we went to the border in Texas and we volunteered with the Humanitarian Respite Center, and we got to help refugees that were recently released by ICE. That was really awesome.”
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Rachel Rumsby, sophomore communication studies and public relations double major
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