One of my favorite responsibilities at the parish is coordinating the college student meeting. It is always unpredictable and you never know how the students who attend will respond. A few years ago, some of them joined together to form the immigration committee. What a miracle of life in our parish! The immigration committee has since held workshops like “Shout it Out” in support of young undocumented students. It has conducted voter registrations, lead marches and participated in parish events like Posadas and Via Crucis. This summer, the committee will continue with the invitation to join them in the garden to pray the rosary on Friday evenings.
More recently, the college students responded to an invitation to make drums and beat their drums at the same time as students in Los Angeles, to bring peace to our neighborhood. The group of 300 or so walked to the closed library last fall to send a message out to the City that we want to restore a place of learning for our children, a place that offered safety and consolation! They are now considering yet another march.
It is no surprise the college students continue to be a force in the mission of our parish. They now have a coordinator, a secretary, communications people and are focused on inviting students to attend meetings, those from our parish who study at colleges in Chicago as well as outside Chicago. They are planning a picnic next week at a forest preserve, and they are planning to help high school students and parents to prepare for the ACT test and apply for financial aid in the coming year.
As we award scholarships today, we honor our high school and college students not only for their academic dreams, but also for the dreams of their hearts, especially those dreams that make a difference in the lives of others. We are grateful for their interest in college, and I am thankful for their participation at parish college meetings. The dreams of our students inspire our children, help give voice to those who suffer and are without resources, and bring a little piece of the kingdom of God to the Back of the Yards…. A little more justice and a little more peace. Congratulations to all those who are receiving scholarships and thank you for making this Father’s Day celebration a special day for all of us who are proud for your spirit of life!
Fr. Bruce Wellems, CMF