Archbishop of Denver Charles J. Chaput and his auxiliary Bishop James D. Conley are scheduled to celebrate an open-air Mass at the University of Colorado at Boulder on Sunday to mark the one-hundredth anniversary of Catholic campus ministry at the school. Over two thousand people are expected to attend the noon Mass, which will be held at the center of the university’s Boulder campus, on the Norlin Quadrangle.
“This celebration of the Eucharist and 100 years of Campus Ministry at CU is a great way to start the new school year. I hope students will take this opportunity to begin the year rooted in their Catholic faith,” stated Archbishop Chaput.
Explaining that the archdiocese considers campus ministry a “vital ministry for our Church,” he continued: “Strong Catholic campus ministry provides students with Catholic formation and a community of support for living out their faith that can be a sturdy foundation for the rest of their lives.”
Father Kevin Augustyn, pastor and director of campus ministry at the St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Center in Boulder, explained why he decided to hold Mass to kick off the 100th anniversary celebrations.
"This anniversary provided us with an opportunity to celebrate Mass on campus and to be a witness of Christ's light and love for the University of Colorado. We hope to attract more students to our already vibrant ministry, express our faith in the public square, reach out to non-Catholics by making our presence more visible and known and, of course, contribute to the diversity and excellence of the University as we have done for the past 100 years,” he told CNA.
Fr. Augustyn also spoke about the theme that the center has chosen for its centennial celebration: “Christ’s light beckons you to be guiding stars for others.” The theme comes directly from Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the U.S. this past April.
“We have chosen this as our theme for the centennial celebration because it encompasses everything that we strive for at the Catholic Center,” Father Augustyn said. “We are trying to provide them with opportunities and guidance to answer the Holy Father's call; to energize, encourage and embolden them to be proud of their Catholic Faith in the context of the modern university culture and become leaders and evangelists for our Church and our world.”
The pastor also pointed out the historic nature of the event. “We have organized many events on campus but never on this scale, nor in the center of campus. It is a very exciting time for us and we are looking forward to future events similar in nature."