The Campus Ministry Office is here to help support the Mount Saint Mary College community on their spiritual and moral journeys, whether they belong to an official religion or are unaffiliated with a particular mosque, church, synagogue, or temple. Today, Alyssa Picard, a junior Psychology major and Religious Studies and Human Services minor at the Mount, talks about how being part of Campus Ministry has benefitted her college experience.
“As the old saying goes, ‘Home is where the heart is,’ and Campus Ministry is where my heart lies. One thing I love about the office is the unique group of people who gather there, who I would never have met if I had not joined Campus Ministry. To me, Campus Ministry exemplifies and helps me to live out the virtues of faith, hope, and charity.
For me, faith is a central part of my life. The office continues to give me opportunities to grow in my faith. One thing that it offers is a Holy Hour every morning (a time of prayer in front of the Eucharist), which has become an essential part of my day. College can be chaotic, but this hour in the morning allows me to start my day grounded before the day takes flight. Campus Ministry also offers daily Mass, which is the central part of my day. The Mass focuses me for the rest of my day as well as giving me strength to serve God wherever He calls me that day. (Above: Alyssa Picard [far left] serves as an altar server during Mass with former Director of Campus Ministry and Chaplain Fr. Francis Amodio, O.Carm.)
In addition, Campus Ministry is a very hopeful place. We provide hope for everyone, especially when we give back to the community through programs like our Giving Tree, Coin Wars, and many others. As Mother Teresa says, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” We also volunteer with the Newburgh Ministry, and this is where I feel I make the biggest ripples. Every week since I was a freshman, I have gone to Newburgh Ministry once a week to volunteer. I usually work in the hygiene closet and sort donations and hand out basic hygiene items to people like toilet paper, soap, deodorant, and so many more things that I would normally take for granted. While I’m packing their bags, I like to start small conversations with the people there. I didn’t think anything of it until one of the men I was talking to nearly burst into tears. He said, “You know this is the only place that calls me by my name.” I had never realized the power of calling someone by their name until this experience.
(Below: Alyssa Picard [bottom right] attends the Preaching in Action conference in Michigan in 2016 with fellow Mount students Christina Mistretta [top left] and Alberto Gilman [bottom left], and Assistant Director of Campus Ministry Roger May [top right].)
Finally, the virtue of charity is also known as love. Love is always shown in the Campus Ministry Department. For me for example, the office has become my safety net. A lot changes while you’re in college: majors, minors, friends, and other things, but Campus Ministry is, and always will be, a constant. I know that when I go to the office in the morning, Roger (the assistant director) will be there to greet me and to talk to me about everything. College is about finding out who you really are, and that does not come without some type of struggle. Even if you love college. being away from home for the first time can be challenging. Campus Ministry was there throughout that transition for me and has been ever since. Whether you are changing your major or discerning your path in life, the office will always be there for everyone.
Campus Ministry is the epicenter of Mount Saint Mary College for me, and the reason I still call myself a Knight. We are all like one big happy family, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Every day, I see glimpses of the theological virtues of faith, hope and charity exemplified by the people of Campus Ministry, and I am eternally grateful to them for helping me become the person I am today.
For more information on Campus Ministry at the Mount, visit msmc.edu/campusministry