This article highlights one of the 70 ministries supported by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington’s annual appeal. Donation week for the 2022 Annual Appeal is February 12-20. People can donate to the annual appeal by visiting give.adw.org.
“How can we do more?” That’s the question University of Maryland student Christopher Desrochers asked himself as in-person activities began to resume on campus and at the Catholic Student Center in College Park in the spring of 2021. “We want to be here for something and not just getting to college and hanging out,” the now-senior said.
This sentiment, shared by staff and students, prompted a renewal of CSC activities in the fall of 2021. Thirty-five Bible studies attracting 250 students were active during the semester. At least 150 students attended CSC’s popular weekly Wednesday night dinner, and more than 250 students attended the first dinner of the semester. Additionally, Father Conrad Murphy, chaplain at the University of Maryland Catholic Student Center in College Park, said their RCIA program was the largest in years, which he credits to the vibrant community there.
“The desire of our students to share the good news of Jesus Christ is tangible when you are at CSC,” said Father Murphy. “In the madness of our world, they are joyful and zealous servants of the gospel.”
Desrochers, as grand knight of the Knights of Columbus Council of CSC, experienced a similar renewal in his membership. “When the pandemic hit, we were down to eight active members on our board. This year, however, we have 30 active members and our activity has also increased,” he said.
Some of these activities led by Desrochers and the Knights include weekly virtual trivia nights, Sunday brunch after CSC’s 10 a.m. mass, food drives, and a “rosary challenge” where students contributed more than 1 000 rosaries recited in the fall.
“This year has been a great opportunity to witness to the desire of our community to come together and pursue our faith. We wondered how, as Knights, we could be a more intentional organization to create some of these opportunities,” Desrochers said.
Father Murphy said there has been a similar turnover among CSC alumni. “We have had so many vocations over the past few years, not just to seminary and religious life, but to sharing the gospel by serving the poor as missionaries to the homeless and on campus as missionaries FOCUS. While people are rightfully concerned about the state of the Church after the pandemic, these students are truly seeds of renewal spreading through our parishes.
Soon to join the alumni ranks with a degree in computer science, Desrochers knows CSC will always be a home.
“A cohesive, rock-solid home is what CSC provided me with,” he said. “It’s a place I can go no matter how I feel, even if it’s just to go to chapel. You can be entirely who you are – frustrated, disappointed, whatever – and you know you will always be accepted. That’s what a home is to me.