We’re on Our Way to Appalachia Because of YOU!

 

This weekend, members of our Alternative Spring Break Mission Trip team attended all the Masses at St. Bernard’s making announcements and collecting donations for our trip.  The team has been busy preparing for the trip, including fundraising the approximately $5,200 it will take to get all of us down to B-Farm and back.  To be honest, we thought that people would be generous, but we had no idea just how generous until the final numbers came in late last night:

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YOU GUYS!  You helped us raise almost $1,500 dollars!!!!  We are totally awed and humbled at such a response, and we can’t thank you enough.  Truly.

If you missed Mass this weekend, or forgot your wallet, or otherwise still want to help us out, click here for more information on supporting the team through prayer and finances.

If you’d like to help the Newman Center with our annual fundraising goal of $4,250 (which includes a $3,000 goal for the Mission Trip), click here for more information.  All donations are tax-deductible!

You generosity (and God’s grace) is what makes it possible for this program to go from ordinary to out of this world!  We’ve experienced such growth in the last few years, and having a larger budget to be able to do things like this Mission Trip, overnight retreats, and simply fill the kitchen every week makes the difference between a surviving student community and a thriving one!  Thank you so very much.

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Announcing: New Ways to Support the Newman Center!

The end of the year means many things: cold weather, the holidays, and–for many–an increase in charitable giving.  The Newman Center can always use your help to keep our programs running and growing, food in our kitchen, and students in our community.  But we also know that sometimes, times are just too tough to make a monetary donation despite a deep desire to be of help.

Well, great news: we have a way that you can help for free!

goodshop logo

The Newman Center is now on Goodshop and Goodsearch, two ways to raise money for your favorite ministries and charities by doing something you already do: searching and shopping online!  It’s simple:

  • Go to www.goodsearch.com and sign up to be a supporter–it takes seconds and it doesn’t require any more information to be provided than your email!
  • Set Goodsearch as your default search engine–for every search you make (and think of how many you do in a day!), Goodsearch will give the Newman Center one cent.  If we have 10 people do this, we can earn over $1,000 in a year! That would be enough to offer partial scholarships for two participants on our Alternative Spring Break Mission Trip, to bring in an amazing speaker for Theology on Tap, or to stock our kitchen for the entire year!

 

You can also support us through Goodshop, which partners with over 5,000 stores (including Groupon, Kohl’s, Walgreen’s, Vera Bradley, The North Face, and more!) to provide you with deals and discounts–and us with up to 20% of your purchase.  There’s even an app for that so you can give on-the-go while you’re getting your holiday (and every day) shopping done! Goodshop has given over $11 million to charities and non-profits so far, so this is doing major good with very little effort on your part!

 

Charitable Giving

Of course, if you do have a little extra cash in your pocket and you’d like to help us out, please take a look at our Sponsorships and Monthly Giving pages.  This year, we have a few areas of special need, including:

  • Our Alternative Spring Break Mission Trip, which will cost $5,200 total.  The Team is busy letter-writing and doing other kinds of fundraisers, but we definitely need your help to get to Appalachia! To find out more, including how to give, click here.
  • We’ve had a huge increase of student involvement this year–and especially an influx of young men, which means that our kitchen is constantly getting a workout! We’ve already burned through our entire food budget for the year, and we need your help to keep it supplied with drinks and snacks for our post-Mass gatherings and for the students who come in during the week looking for a place to hang out, do homework, have Student Organization meetings, and generally experience a little Catholic hospitality. A one-time donation of $80 sponsors our kitchen for a month; $300 sponsors it for the semester, and in return you’ll get your name or business name displayed in our Common Room, a gift, and the undying gratitude of well-fed college students (and that’s a lot of gratitude, trust us!)  For more information, click here.

 

 

Every little bit helps, and no amount is ever too small.  Thank you very much for your generosity!

Plans for the Rest of the Semester!

We’ve got a lot going on–from Family Thanksgiving, to Second Sunday Adoration and Confession, to our annual Ugly Sweater Advent Party!  Check it out below (and click to make the image larger)

What's Going on Before Winter Break

An Open Letter in Response to This Year’s Pumpkinfest Riots

Dear Students, Staff and Faculty of Keene State College; and to the Community of Keene,

 

The events of this past weekend have left the campus community–and the city of Keene–with many feelings: anger, fear, disappointment, embarrassment and sadness.  But there is also hope; there is always hope. 1 Corinthians 15.54-58 says:

“When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that has been written will come true, ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’ ‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm.  Let nothing move you.  Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

This verse gives me hope because it reminds me that no matter the sinfulness that we find ourselves surrounded by, there will be a day when sin and death will be irrelevant in the world–and that on Easter morning, that process began when Jesus defeated both. It gives me hope because it reminds me that in the meantime, we are each called to “stand firm”, to be unmoved, to do the work of the Lord no matter what the world around us looks like, because it will never be in vain.

The riotous actions that some students and visitors to Keene participated in this past weekend are by no means indicative of the town or the general campus community.  You can see this in many ways: in the outrage expressed following, in the way that hundreds of Keene State students came out on Sunday morning to clean up the campus and town streets, in the words of the many students who said “This isn’t what Keene State is about” at the all-campus meeting last night. In this circumstance, at this time, these cleanups and meetings and talks are the work of the Lord and I pray that members of the campus community will continue to do that good work.

The Keene Police Department, college administration and others are doing much to bring riot perpetrators to justice and to care for the injured Keene State community. For our part, our student community here at the Newman Center gathered together in prayer on Sunday night for the injured, for the campus community, first responders, and the city of Keene. It was a time of great healing and peace. I invite you to please help us continue these prayers throughout the coming days and weeks as we all work together to move past these tragic events.

In the short time since Pumpkinfest, I have heard one question over and over: “What now?”  This is a simple question with an extremely complicated answer.  How does a community work through senseless tragedy? How do we work for restorative justice? How do we feel safe again? How do we come together while calling out those who did wrong? How do we rebuild a broken reputation, broken ideals–even a broken heart? Philosophers and psychologists have tried to answer these questions for centuries, but here are my ideas for this community today: we join together.  We stop ignoring each other–the good and the bad–and start connecting. We ask each other how we’re doing, honestly. We listen when someone else answers that question. We lovingly rebuke actions and words that do not represent what this college community stands for. We speak out on behalf of the silent majority who abhor the actions of the partying few. And we do it all with love and respect for one another.

Please be sure that my thoughts and prayers are with every member of the city of Keene and the Keene State community at this time, and that my door is always open for anyone who needs to talk–regardless of your faith tradition or lack thereof. There are many ways that we all need to process what happened this weekend, and there are many resources for that processing.  Here are a few:

  • To read KSC President Huot’s statement, click here.
  • If you know of any illegal activity or student activity that is against the college Code of Conduct, please do your part by reporting it here.  All reports made are completely anonymous.
  • If you want to seek help or counseling following these events, please contact either the Campus Minister at 603-357-1444 or the KSC Counseling Center at 603-358-2437.

Peace be with you in the coming days and weeks.

 

 

Pax Christi,

 

Cindy Cheshire

Director and Campus Minister

The Newman Center

Second Sunday Adoration and 5 Ways to Win at Confession

This Sunday marks our first week of Second Sunday Adoration! This year, we’ll have the opportunity to join together on the second Sunday of each month for a Holy Hour of Eucharistic Adoration accompanied by quiet worship music in the St. Bernard’s sanctuary. There will also be a priest available for the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession).

Eucharist-Adoration-Meme

Not quite sure what to do during Adoration? Here are a few ideas:

  • bring a notebook and do some journaling
  • say a rosary or a Divine Mercy Chaplet
  • do Centering Prayer
  • just pray in general
  • sit and just be still and silent for awhile (when’s the last time you did that?)
  • have a conversation with Jesus

If you’re like me, it can take a few times going to Adoration to feel like you “know” what you’re doing.  But really, there’s no way you’re *supposed* to *do* Adoration–it’s simply being in Jesus’ presence, which is a huge privilege and an incredible opportunity.

And if you’re like me, sometimes you sit down at Adoration and it’s like seeing an old friend through a window–there’s just something in the way there.

That’s why there’s also the opportunity for Reconciliation!

What’s that? You haven’t been to Confession in ages? And you feel like you wouldn’t even know what to do?

Well, my friend, you’re in luck!

Confession is such a universally awkward yet universally beneficial Catholic sacrament that there are a ton of resources out there on how to make a good one (“good” meaning you feel the high that accompanies closeness with God afterwards, not some performance quota).  Here’s one from a Catholic convert on BustedHalo, here’s a WikiHow page on Confession, and there’s even an app for that.  For our part, we present to you 4 Ways to Win at Confession:

1. Just show up.  Sometimes the hardest part is getting yourself in the door. Just go.  It will be worth it.  If it’s been awhile and embarrassment over that is what’s what’s holding you back, don’t worry about it! God (and the priest) will just be happy you’re there!

 confession

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You’re Invited to our Fall Retreat!

Fall Retreat Poster

This semester’s retreat will focus on our annual theme: “Be Not Afraid”!  We’ll be doing some team building, reconnecting with one another, getting to know the new members of our community, and more!  The Campus Minister will also be speaking on “Be Not Afraid” and we’ll enjoy a community dinner before heading over to the Student Mass at 7.

To RSVP, contact the Campus Minister at ksc.newman.ctr@gmail.com or NSO Vice President Zach Dube at zachary,j.dube@gmail.com!

New Office Hours for the Campus Minister

So you have some time between classes and you want to drop by the Newman Center to see if the Campus Minister is around.  But you’re not sure if you want to make the strenuous 273-step journey from the Quad to the Newman Center (fun fact: it’s the same number of steps between the Quad and the Newman Center as it is between Carle and the Student Center!).  What’s a student to do?

 

Well, that’s what Office Hours are for!  During the Fall Semester, here are the times that the CM will definitely be in the office for hanging out, advice, resources, tea, and/or sitting on the big orange yoga ball:

Mondays

2:00-5:00 pm

Thursdays

1:00-3:00 pm

Fridays

9:00 am – 12:oo pm

Of course, you’re always welcome to randomly stop by for a chat, or to set a time if you’re more the scheduling type!  Happy visiting!

On Blessings, Being Fearless, and a Brief Grammar Lesson

Earlier today, I ran across a blog post written by a noted Catholic author (and parishioner here at St. Bernard’s) Simcha Fisher.  You can read it here, and while you do–if it’s more helpful to you–maybe substitute “having a baby” with “having a way to pay for college” or “getting that internship you wanted” or something else that’s more applicable to your life.  Her original post may be about using the word “blessing” appropriately when it comes to announcing a pregnancy, but the message is clear and it is so, so applicable: God blesses us, not because we’ve done anything to deserve it, but simply because He is Good.

 

Let me say that again: God blesses us. Not because we deserve it. But because He is Good.

 

The example that Simcha uses in her article is excellent: imagine that you spent four months looking for the perfect present for someone you really care about, and then they just act like it fell from the sky. You’d be outraged! You’d be offended! You probably wouldn’t ever bother trying to hard again because seriously, show a little appreciation, yo. If you’ve been paying the least bit of attention to the news in the last month or two (or even just paying attention to your Facebook News Feed), you’ve probably experienced the numbing sensation of feeling crushed under the weight of so many horrible events all happening at once. Killer epidemics. Ongoing wars. People being beheaded for the world to watch. ISIS. Politics. Entire US cities in open revolt. Racism. Depression. Suicide. Add in whatever drama is occurring in your own private life and it seems too much to handle.

If you’re anything like me, this feeling of desperation is quickly, almost silently joined by a feeling of guilt. Why is it that relatively few of these issues are directly affecting me and my life? I don’t live in daily fear of contracting Ebola. I know the odds of my town being occupied by a foreign power are relatively small. I can wear a cross and go to Mass and simply do my job as a Campus Minister without fear of being raped or beaten or beheaded. Even when the number showing on my bank account balance is lower than I’m comfortable with, I know that neither I nor my family will go without our next meal. I am blessed–and I mean this not in the way that some smug people smile at their newest material acquisition and say it, I mean it in a way that I can only describe and understand as….grammatical. I…am blessed.  It’s classic Passive Voice (you know, the verb tense you’re not supposed to use that’s considered poor English? Need a quick way to tell if you’re using passive voice? Add “…by zombies” to the end of the phrase. If it makes sense, you’re using passive voice and you should restructure your sentence. There’s your English lesson for the day.), and if I were using proper English, a better way to put it might be “God blesses me” or “I receive blessing”.  The subject (“I”) of the action (“to bless”) is passively receiving it. I’ve done nothing to make this situation happen. I’ve done nothing to deserve it.

 

It is mind-boggling how ridiculously blessed I am.

It is mind-boggling how ridiculously ungrateful I can be.

 

I am not blessed because I am in any way “more” than a woman in East Africa or a journalist in Syria or a teenager in Ferguson; I am blessed because God’s goodness falls on the wicked and the righteous the same. I’m fortunate to be living where I do, how I do, when I do–a good fortune that came partly from luck and partly from the people before me who worked to create this kind of life. When I really think about it, when I start to comprehend even the slightest degree of what blessing truly means, I am filled with a deep sense of humility. And I am filled with a deep gratitude. And I am filled with a deep, deep sense of responsibility.

God, thank You, I pray. But what can I ever do to show my gratitude?  And suddenly the commands in Scripture to do justice, know God, spread the Gospel make sense to me: I can be fearless.

I can be a Christian in my every action and every word because here–in this town and on this campus–I might get embarrassed, but I will not be beheaded. I can speak up for injustice when I see it because–since I am white and I am educated and since I am generally more prosperous than the rest of the world population–people might listen to me.  I can hold hands with and show love to the sick because I have a doctor and a nearby hospital and good healthcare. I can take the luck I’ve been dealt that makes it easier for me to see the ways that I’m blessed, and respond by using the fullness of the freedom I have to be Christ to those around me.

2015 Alternative Spring Break Mission Trip Application Materials are LIVE!

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Are you ready for the best trip of your life?!?

Application materials for the 2015 Alternative Spring Break Mission Trip to Bethlehem Farm (or B-Farm, as we like to call it) are LIVE!  Click here for more information about the trip, and here to get to the application materials.

All applications are due on September 30th and Team selection will be announced on October 3rd!  Have questions in the meantime? Speak to the Campus Minister or come to one of our informational meetings (all of which last 30 min and will be held in the Newman Center Common Room):

Thursday, September 11 at 3 pm

Friday, September 19 at at 3 pm

Wednesday, September 24 at 4 pm

 

And if you just can’t contain yourself, check out the slideshow from last year’s trip below:

 

Coming Up This Semester!

 

Interested in what’s up this semester?  Great, cause we have a lot planned!  Whether you join us for our weekly 7 pm Mass at St. Bernard’s (and fellowship afterwards in the Common Room) or a special event like the Fall Retreat or the Spring Break Mission Trip information meetings, we can’t wait to see you around!

 

If you have any questions, feel free to contact the Campus Minister at ksc.newman.ctr@gmail.comFall Semester 14-15