Baylor Catholic Connect: Bright Beginnings at Baylor

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New year, new hope

A new year brings new beginnings at Baylor. We have so much hope for good things at Baylor!

We also have great hope for the renewal in the Church through the ministry of the Catholic Student Center. Along with new classes, new students, new faculty, and staff, we’re making connections between students, staff, faculty, and alumni. Within these relationships, God is creating agents of holiness and change and the Center is helping to form young disciples.

This hope resonates with our Leadership Council Chairperson, Baylor Associate Vice Provost Sinda Vanderpool, who noted the  following passage from the Prophet Isaiah quoted at this year’s opening convocation:

“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” – Isaiah 43:19

Dr. Vanderpool, in a recent letter to parents of new students and benefactors, added,

Thanks be to God for these new beginnings! This year, I’m particularly amazed with what’s springing up in our Baylor Catholic community. I see God bringing forth so many blessings on the Baylor campus for Baylor Catholics thanks to the ministry of St. Peter Catholic Student Center.

Engaging the community, connecting Catholics

On Wednesday, September 12, we held an event we call Baylor Catholic Connect. This is the second year we’ve offered this event, this year through the sponsorship of the Baylor Catholic Student Association and St. Peter alongside our Confraternity of Mary (Catholic faculty/staff at Baylor).

At Baylor Catholic Connect, over 175 Catholic faculty, staff, and students saw and felt our vibrant Catholic presence on campus at the beginning of the year. God showered His abundant blessings on us in a special way that day: right as we started the event, we looked out the window and there was a gorgeous rainbow!

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Bright beginnings, lively conversation

Catholic Student Association Vice President Jordan Vanderpool and Stacy De Leon, our emcees, welcomed the community and introduced our mixer questions to get conversations started. The many attendees saw friends, recognized people they knew (but didn’t now were Catholic), and made new friends.

One student, Christiana Hernandez, who serves the Center as our pastoral intern, noted the spirit of joy at the event. It wasn’t just the joy of friends having fun, but also the joy of newfound Catholic connections:

“One moment I can remember clearly is when a..professor came in and a small group of people, who had taken his class before, went up to him and they were just so excited to find out that he was Catholic! I think moments like that, in which we are able to become more than just student and professor, and become brothers and sisters on the journey to sainthood, are so important to our spiritual journey and make campus life that much more sweet!”

Dawn and Rob Rogers with Jordan Vanderpool
Rob and Dawn Rogers with CSA Vice President Jordan Vanderpool

A number of attendees got a chance to post in our photo booth and enjoyed delicious food (thanks to a generous donation by Baylor Catering). Towards the end of the event, Jordan spoke a little bit about the Catholic community at Baylor and he and Tammy gave away door prizes.

Father closed in prayer, and we finished the day singing a Salve Regina. What a wonderful way to usher in the new academic year!

Special thanks

We’re grateful to our volunteers, including our generous and talented Leadership Council members past and present, the Baylor Catholic Student Association, Baylor Catering for a generous donation, as well as special thanks to friends and colleagues from Baylor for joining us and helping make this a bright day:

  • Darin Davis, Vice President for University Mission & Director, Institute for Faith & Culture
  • Lori Baker, Vice Provost for Strategic Initiatives, Collaboration and Leadership Development
  • Fr. Ryan Higdon, pastor of St. Louis Catholic parish, Waco
  • Fr. Robert Verrill, OP, graduate student in philosophy
  • Ryan Richardson, Director of Worship & Chapel, for his support in increasing awareness through Chapel
  • Bob Oei, Assistant Director for Worship Technology, for his help in recording a promo video for chapel
  • Burt Burleson, University Chapel and Dean of Spiritual Life & Missions
  • John Haldane, J. Newton Rayzor, Sr. Distinguished Professor of Philosophy
  • Mike Foley, Associate Professor of Patristics
  • Frank Beckwith, Professor of Philosophy and Church-State Studies
  • Dawn Rogers, Deputy Athletics Director
  • Emily Hunter, Associate Professor of Management
  • Bill Reichenstein, Professor Emeritus of Investments
  • Peter Campbell, Assistant Professor of Political Science
  • Doug Nesmith, Lab Coordinator, Environmental Science
  • ….and so many more!

Did you get a chance to attend Baylor Catholic Connect? How was it for you? What people did you meet and connect with? Share in the comments!

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