As our group arrived in Houston and prepared to leave for Mexico City, we were told, “when you encounter God, there will be great joy, but also great sorrow.” I wasn’t quite sure what to make of this when when I first heard it, so instead, I just let myself get the experience.

Our group consisted of five FOCUS missionaries, one priest, and sixteen students from FOCUS campuses all across the country. We were told that every single one of us was a missionary doing God’s service everyday. Our mission was to serve the women of Villa de Mujeres and encounter Jesus in everyone we met. Some of my personal fears about the trip were that I wouldn’t be useful without fluent Spanish. I was afraid of my own ignorance of Mexican culture and I hoped that I would be able to hear what God was speaking to my heart above the noise of distractions and lies from Satan, who was waiting eagerly to work on us.

In Mexico City, we stayed with the Conceptionista sisters in their convent, which was only a short walk from the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. I found myself excited to walk out of the doors of the convent everyday to go where I could look straight up at the tilma of Our Lady of Guadalupe during our daily holy hour. The attitude of constant prayerfulness on the trip is one of the ways I know that God held me together and bound our group together in blessed friendship.

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Monday was our first day of service at the Villa, and it was nothing that I had expected it to be. The conditions of this women’s shelter were heartbreaking.We walked around to see the lonely, abandoned, bruised, hungry, anxious, and dying filling the buildings, congregating near radios, and sitting on the bare ground to feel the warm sunshine and breathe fresh air. At first, the whole scene was hard to take in. The needs of the shelter became more apparent in every step and in every conversation. Debrief for me on that first night was emotionless as I was still processing all that I had seen. The rest of the time we were able to spend with the women was filled by praying rosaries with them, painting their nails, and rubbing lotion on their hands and legs. Cleaning and feeding tasks were also split up between our group and we did our best to see that all of the workers had the help they needed. One of the most moving encounters I had was when all I could do was simply to hug one of the women to keep her warm. The women just wanted to be loved and listened to. They did not even care that we were unable to understand everything that they were saying.

God entrusted us to give hope, and I was comforted to know that we could show them through a simple smile. Our theme verse for the trip was Matthew 25:40 which says, “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to Me.’” Though our work was hard, especially seeing the incredible suffering of the women, this verse kept us going. I will never forget looking into the eyes of those beautiful women and seeing the face of Jesus. My life was changed forever by encountering Christ, and as promised I found incredible sorrow, but also overwhelming joy in Mexico City.

Andi Kitten (far left) is a Freshman, Baylor Business Fellows major from Lubbock, TX.

We pray at every Mass for those who suffer from religious persecution. But what is actually going on in the world when it comes to persecuted Christians? And what can we do about it here from Waco?
 
To help answer these questions–to raise awareness about persecuted Christians and to do something to help them–the Baylor Knights of Columbus Council is proud to be hosting the first Benefit Dinner for Christians at Risk.
 
The issue is getting more and more attention in world of politics and media. The Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, Carl Anderson, recently spearheaded the publication of a nearly 300-page report about the persecution of Christians especially in the Middle East. The report was submitted to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who as a result officially deemed the actions of ISIS as genocide.
 
To support the efforts of the Knights of Columbus in defense of persecuted Christians, we’re hosting this benefit dinner. It will be the classic Knights’ three-course meal: salad, entree, and dessert. 
 
Dr. Thomas Hibbs, Dean of the Honors College at Baylor University, will be giving a keynote address based on his own involvement in efforts, especially in Washington, D.C., to raise awareness about and give help to persecuted Christians.
 
We hope this event can bring together Christians from the greater Waco to support what Dean Hibbs has called “the most important issue facing the church universal.”
For details, see the attached flyer.
BenefitFlyer

Here are 3 links to help you get ready for Lent, which starts tomorrow:

7 Reasonable Ideas for Lent

Don’t Waste your Lent

6 Simple Ways to share your faith on Ash Wed. 

This recording was made on Dec. 13, 2015 on the 3rd Sunday of Advent, by Fr. Daniel Liu  Please visit http://www.baylorcatholic.org for more information.

 

To download click here.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

This recording was made on Dec. 6, 2015 on the 2nd Sunday of Advent, by Fr. Daniel Liu  Please visit http://www.baylorcatholic.org for more information.

 

To download click here.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

This recording was made on Nov. 29, 2015 on the 1st Sunday of Advent, by Fr. Daniel Liu  Please visit http://www.baylorcatholic.org for more information.

 

To download click here.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

This recording was made on Nov. 22, 2015 on the Feast of Christ the King, Fr. Daniel Liu  Please visit http://www.baylorcatholic.org for more information.

 

To download click here.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

This recording was made on November 8, 2015 by Fr. Jonathan Raia, Vocation Director for the Diocese of Austin.

Please visit http://www.baylorcatholic.org for more information.

 

To download click here.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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As a freshman, you quickly realize that you have nothing figured out. You enter college thinking that acting like an adult will be easy, but are quickly knocked down when things aren’t as easy as they appear. Finding your place becomes much more difficult than expected. In my first few weeks at Baylor, I met plenty of people that I liked and connected with, yet there was one small aspect of community that I missed. I missed the feeling of a family, a home away from home. My parish back in Minnesota had always served this purpose for me, and I was nervous that I wouldn’t come close to finding that at Baylor. I thought I could never find my home here. St. Peter’s showed me that clearly I didn’t have that figured out either.

I signed up for New Student Retreat thinking that, if anything, it would be nice to decompress after the first month of school. From the minute I walked into St Peter’s, I could feel the joy that seemed to radiate off of every person. It seemed to be chaotic, but the kind of beautiful chaos typically experienced at large family holidays. I readied myself for what would be a very interesting weekend.

The weekend that followed became one of the most impactful times of my life. The first moment that stood out to me was meeting my table family. I may be a bit biased, but my table family was by far the best. From the start of the retreat, I was given people to turn to and talk to about whatever I needed. My “parents” were incredibly kind and made me feel as though I was part of an actual family. Throughout the weekend, each and every person I met made me feel welcome and at home at St. Peter’s. Whether it was someone simply introducing themselves or my table parents assuring me that they had been praying for me, I knew that I had found my home away from home. As a freshman, this is all that I wanted, a place to call home and people to call a family.

Not only was the retreat fun and joyful, but there was a clear devotion to prayer and faith. At every quiet moment, someone would ask if we could do a rosary or say another prayer. I saw a desire to constantly grow closer to God in each person at the retreat. Reconciliation was offered on Friday night, and people were eager to go. Most places I had been, eager would not be the word to describe peoples’ feelings about Reconciliation. Eager is the word I would use to describe much of what I saw. The people I met were eager to learn more about faith, eager to pray even more, eager to share what they experienced, and eager to devote themselves entirely to God. I was inspired, to say the least. I was compelled to draw closer to God and develop a deeper relationship. The weekend ended with affirmations. Half of us sat in a circle with our eyes closed as the others walked around the circle. Statements such as “someone who made you laugh,” “someone you saw Christ in,” and “someone who made you feel welcome,” were read as people tapped the shoulders of the people that had done such things for them. It was in those moments when I realized that someone had seen Christ in me that I sat in wonder. The people that had inspired me also saw Christ in me. I realized that my faith was visible, that in some way or another, I was imitating Christ. It is this realization that made me more passionate about being Catholic, and being very open about it.

Throughout the weekend, I found myself saying “thank you, God” each and every chance I could. I would look up at the beautiful night sky, and whisper, “thank you, God”. I looked at the Eucharist and thought, “thank you, God”. I saw the incredible, Christ-like people around me, and all I could think to say was “thank you, God”. I can never thank God enough for bringing the people of St. Peter’s into my life. The New Student Retreat was an unforgettable experience that has impacted my life far more than I could have ever hoped for. Each time I walk into St. Peter’s, I feel like I’ve returned home. I open the doors and see my family, loud and joyous as ever.

I have learned that I don’t have everything, or really anything figured out, but with St. Peter’s, I’ve seen that I have people that will help me figure it out, my family.


Emily is a Freshman from Savage, Minnesota studying Physics. Thanks for sharing Emily! 

Did you know that there are former Baylor Catholics out there currently pursuing Religious Life? We are going to spotlight three of them in the upcoming weeks. Here is Hillary’s story!


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The seed of becoming a nun was first planted in my heart when I was going through Confirmation classes at St. Peter’s in Waco in 2011. Fr. Anthony talked to us about nuns being the brides of Christ, and I remember especially loving the idea of wearing a wedding ring symbolizing that complete consecration.  Then I started dating a guy I liked, and I took my dream job working at a camp before taking another dream job working at a nonprofit in Austin, putting off this idea of becoming a nun for about four years. However, the seed that had been planted never died, and it finally reached the point that I had to address this desire within me or I wouldn’t be able to continue my life with peace of mind. After taking off work to hike the Camino de Santiago and visit Fr. Martin, my monk cousin at the Monastero di San Benedetto in Norcia, Italy, it was evident that my heart was longing to seek God in the monastic life. The monks recommended I visit several communities, and after visiting them all it was clear that the Abbey of St. Walburga was a place I could see myself calling home. I felt God’s love there in so many ways, and knew I would regret not returning to the abbey for their three month “live-in” experience.

Those three months were a complete roller coaster. I became very homesick because I’m so close to my family and friends. In fact, I was convinced for the majority of my visit that I would not be returning to St. Walburga’s after the three months were over. I realized during my time there that I could do anything with my life as long as I do it out of love for God, trusting in His Mercy to save me, and that He was not going to force me to be a nun. I found so much freedom in the truth that His will for me is simply for me to humble myself before Him and accept His infinite love and compassion for me, which is wonderful because that’s exactly what we do in the Mass when we confess our sins and receive Him in the Eucharist. From that point onward I knew that He would love me no matter what, whether I decided to be a missionary, raise a family, become a nun, or anything else. However, one week before returning home, on the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, He gave me the grace to desire to be a fool for love of Him.  Although I knew I could do many other things and be pleasing to Him, His love impelled me on that day to resolve to return to Him the most love I possibly can with this short life I have, surrendering to Him my entire being through choosing to live by the same evangelical virtues which Jesus Himself embraced; because He is worth it! He loves us so much. So I asked Mother Maria Michael if I could enter the community, and we set the date for Sept. 8, 2015, which is the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Please pray for me, that I will persevere in loving and praising God with my whole being and surrender myself to being guided by the Spirit throughout this life journey.

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We had the opportunity to take some people to the ordination of 5 new priests for the diocese. Keep praying for men to continue to answer God's call! #gopriests St. Maria Goretti, pray for us. Guess whose birthday it is?! 🎉 Happy Solemnity of Ss. Peter & Paul! We remember today the holy martyrs, St. Peter & St. Paul. Let's pray for the unity of the Church and for the Holy Father. Please pray for our own pastor and apostolic work in and around the Baylor/Waco community! We got our statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe for the grotto today! She will be staying inside with Pope Francis until the grotto can be built. Special thanks to the generous benefactor who made it all possible!
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