“Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.” – Psalm 23:4
One of the first things Christians learn about God is that he is always nearby and within. In a year where keeping distance has been our main focus, knowing that someone is always there is quite comforting. However, another important element of the celebration of faith is showing up to celebrate God with fellow believers. The most popular way of doing so is attending Mass.
Last year, students participated in mass from their first-period classroom via Zoom Webinar. While this was necessary for the health and safety of the students, it withdrew an element of intimacy that is present when an auditorium is filled to the brim with students anxious for their first day of school. Senior Kate Dugan, a member of the preaching team, retells her experience: “When I was in the classrooms, I can say that the feel of Mass was a lot different. Since you’re not in the actual environment that Mass is being [shared] in, it’s more difficult to feel connected to the actual service and everything that is happening in it.” Students and teachers learned last year that it’s almost impossible to truly feel connected to something through a screen. Finally Fenwick has been able to transition back into a somewhat normal Mass.
With half of the school able to view Mass from the auditorium seats, Mia Scharpf said, “I wouldn’t say it’s the same as pre-COVID, but it is amazing to finally feel the physical presence of more of the community in the auditorium than last year, it makes a big difference.”
Senior Elizabeth Mack, who proclaimed a reading at the opening Mass, shared her gratitude for the effort Fenwick’s campus ministry has put forth at getting the student body back together for the celebration that is Mass. “Starting the year, the Mass showed us that the hope of the Fenwick body will always outshine the challenges that we face,” she said. “As we start this school year we know that when we connect as the Fenwick community there is always going to be a way to grow beyond the challenges and unite in learning with others.” Elizabeth Mack’s mentality is one that everyone should try to adopt. Why look back with disappointment on events that we have missed when there’s so much to have learned from and appreciate about what we were able to achieve?
In this 2021-2022 school year, the members of the Preaching Team as well as those in Campus Ministry hope to extend an inviting hand to the freshmen and sophomores who have not truly gotten to grow in their faith through the programs Fenwick has to offer. They have hit the ground running after ending last year with a sophomore retreat focused on building relationships within the Fenwick community and building a relationship with God. Mia Scharpf stands by the pillar of community. “I am hoping for a year where campus ministry and the preaching team can provide the resources to students and faculty to grow in faith and love this year that is unlike so many others,” Scharpf said. Elizabeth Mack agrees that with all the chaos in the world right now, a strong base in faith is all you need. “By helping spread Jesus’s mission we are excited to grow as a community and build up our trust and love of God’s family,” Mack commented.
Campus Ministry and the student preaching team have a strong desire to make up for lost time and celebrate the love of God as a community. With this, it is certain that this year will hold many opportunities for students to grow in their faith.