By Daniel Heitshusen
Would it surprise you to know that there are 139 registered Catholics on Concordia’s campus? A small group of these Catholics are involved in a club known as Catholics at Concordia.
According to both member Abigail Lyons and the group’s adviser, Accounts Receivable Specialist Theresa Hain, the group has been around for a long time. Hain says that Catholics at Concordia was approved as an official campus club by Student Senate in 2013, with Cindy Shaw as the adviser. However, it is uncertain when the group originally began. Catholics at Concordia died out for a time but is growing again through a combination of word-of-mouth from the group members and through flyers that the club posts around campus.
The “Constitution of Catholics at Concordia” states that the group’s focus is “to foster community,” “to encourage interdenominational relationships,” “to be theologically apologetic,” and to “learn more about our Catholic faith…(and) strengthen ourselves to defend the faith in love.”
A typical meeting starts with a prayer, may include a guest speaker, and offers an opportunity to talk through matters of the Catholic faith and of one’s life. The meetings also give those involved an opportunity to evaluate what they are learning in Concordia’s Lutheran theology classes from a Catholic perspective.
Lyons said that being a Catholic on a Lutheran campus “takes some work.” She said that since she grew up Catholic and went to a Catholic high school, it was difficult for her to transition into a Lutheran atmosphere due to disagreements between the denominations’ teachings.
Lyons herself has not taken Faith and Life, a required general education theology course, but she said some Catholic students have found this course to be challenging due to doctrinal disagreements, as they learn the Lutheran confessions in class, but believe and confess the Catholic teachings.
Hain, on the other hand, said she greatly appreciates the Christian atmosphere on this campus, even with the denominational differences. Having come from a job that did not allow her to show her faith, she enjoys being able to publicly show a cross or a crown of thorns.
To become a member, one must be a “(student) of Concordia University” and a baptized Catholic. Students who are Catholic or learning more about Catholicism are welcome to come to the meetings. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about future events and meeting dates.