A challenge for tertiary students has often been balancing their academic and spiritual life.
On Thursday, November 21, Catholics celebrated an outdoor Mass at The UWI, St Augustine and were left wondering how much attention they were paying to their faith formation whilst pursing their degrees.
Chief celebrant, Archbishop Jason Gordon told them, “It is people like yourselves (University students), who are engaged in university work, reading, and thinking with scholars and others but aren’t always engaged at the same level when it comes to your faith.”
Today, he said, there are so many who are “intellectual giants” in academics but “dwarfs” in the faith.
“That’s a significant challenege we must overcome. If you are not reading, thinking and reflecting in the faith on a level that is equal to doing in your degree and throughout your profession then your profession will dominate your thinking.”
The local Church’s presence on campus is represented by the Catholic Students’ Movement (CSM) body and the Archbishop stressed the importance of their role.
“CSM, your role is to help students think with the Church on the big questions of the day and help students to read wide and deep for their faith formation.”
Archbishop Gordon also added it was becoming clearer, the values and “noise” of the dominant culture are not the same values Christians hold. He said, “The value system is changing but more so the escalation of it is changing. We have to be clear where the real gospel values are. They are in the hard choices we have to make but also in the compassion and mercy we have to show on the other hand.”
“We are not allowed to stand up for what is right and slaughter people who are wrong. Holding these two together is paradoxical and requires the highest level of spiritual development.”
The special open-air Mass was the last to be held for the semester. As final exams draw near, all students were also offered up in prayer and blessed with Holy Water by His Grace.
– Renee Smith