Dear Newman Community,
For the last several years, Campus Ministry has taken groups of students in Alternative Spring Break service trips. We have visited San Diego, CA, Camden, NJ, Flint, MI, and Albuquerque, among others. On these trips and in our networking at conferences with other universities, we've learned how often other universities bring students to our Borderland for spring break or summer trips.
This has been a good reminder about what a rich opportunity we have right here in our back yard. We don't have to go far to )ind families in profound economic and social need. We don't have to go far to serve Jesus in the poor.
With this in mind, Sal and I spent part of the last week visiting with organizations and groups serving the poor and vulnerable in our local community. Our visits included a conversation with Edith Tapia, of Hope Border Institute, walking along the border fence in Chihuahuita, the neighborhood where the annual Diocesan Border Mass is held, a tour of Annunciation House, a house of hospitality for migrants, and a visit to the Assumptions Sisters at Flor y Canto convent in Chaparral, NM. (Photos at right show Edith, HBI, and David, Annunciation).
The people we met were so inspirational and such powerful witnesses of faith. It was obvious from even our short time together how much they care for the families of our border area and how hard they work to make sure their God given dignity is respected. I look forward to developing these partnerships and sharing the challenging learning experience with our students!
The initial response to our Lenten Almsgiving efforts has been positive. Well over 500 shopping list handouts have been taken, and several food distributions have already been dropped off. Our goal is to provide 250 food distributions at the Newman Foodshare event on April 29th. This is a oneday event where clients and volunteers will come together for a festive community gathering. The food items collected over the Lenten season will be distributed, hot dogs will be served by Newman’s Knights of Columbus council, local social service agencies will be invited to share information with the clients. Mark your calendars so you can be a part of this event! Given the generous spirit of our parish, we anticipate receiving items beyond our goal. These items will be shared with La Bodega and the Aggie Cupboard. Both of these food pantries provide emergency food assistance to our community.
La Bodega is our parish food pantry. Several volunteers serve yearround in this ministry, responding to Jesus’ words to reach out to those in need, "Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” La Bodega distributes food on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of the month to about 90 families per month, or about 1,080 distributions a year! Families are able to receive a food emergency distribution (about 25 items) once a month. La Bodega is staffed and supported year round by Newman parishioners.
If you bring in your items for the Foodshare event during the weekend Masses, place them near the Almsgiving display wall, donations for La Bodega are to be placed on the rolling cart near the Lunch Bunch counter. If you have some spare time to offer, we can use some help after all the weekend Masses to carry the food items from the church over to Casa A for storage. We will also sort through donations on Tuesdays from 3 to 4pm. If you are able to help, contact me via email at email@example.com.
Aggie Awakening X preparations are underway! It is hard to believe that we are working on the tenth Aggie Awakening. The first one happened in Fall 2012! We began the process of building up AA with a small head staff, with Ivan Torres, Carmen Duran, and Carlos Briseno directing thirteen other student staff members. This semester, Javyn Sillas, Justine Del Castillo, Dante Avalos, Andrew Dominguez and Tori Null are serving as AA X’s head staff. They have already had several meetings, including an all staff meeting with the other twenty seven students who will serve on the different supporting staffs. One of the many blessings of the Awakening experience is the enthusiasm participants exhibit in their eagerness to serve on subsequent Awakening staffs. The initial retreat experience is a very formative spiritual experience which is built upon as the students serve is the various staff roles.
We will gather again at Holy Cross Retreat Center for AA X on April 8, 9 and 10. If you are a student who has yet to experience Aggie Awakening, we invite you to prayerfully consider joining us! I promise this experience of the ever-present, unconditional love of God through prayer, community, music, and Sacrament will be a highlight of your Lenten journey. Justine will be happy to get you registered, you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you aren’t a student, but know a few, encourage them to sign up! And of course, please keep the staff and retreatants in your prayers!
Sharing the 'Good News' of Campus Ministry!