How time flies! Just about three years ago I entered this building. I remember the mixed feelings which engulfed me in attendance of my first Mass there. The emotions of loss from having left my homeland, to the joyful ones for being able to celebrate the Eucharist after two weeks of arriving in the U.S. were both strongly flowing through my heart.
Did I know that the Midwestern State University Catholic Campus Center would mean anything to me at that time? I had no clue whether I would have remained there, but I knew that it was the closest thing to Church for me. So I kept going.
Today, I am one of them – a CCC-er as we say. Though my time is not half as long as the existence of this facility, my appreciation for its existence is grand. The fact that it has been home to me, in more ways than one gives me that sense of gratitude.
Many have walked through the doors of the Catholic Campus Center before my time, and most certainly, many more will walk through it after. Today, the CCC is talking about its 25th Anniversary. Kudos to the pioneers, and those who paved the way. The creators, investors, donors, servants, priests, people of God, alumni and regulars who carried and are still carrying the place; thereby, making it a ministry.
Having come from foreign and benefitting from so much of its giving, I am grateful to all and sundry. Many of us who are current students do not even know half of the people who have set the path for the CCC to be 25 today, but I can risk saying that We are all so very grateful for their sacrifice of blood, sweat and faith-filled tears.
Most certainly, no 25 year old has walked the face of the earth unscaled. None has had a perfect movement; thus, CCC definitely had, still has and will have its share of pain, challenges, and struggles of all sorts. Still it stands, it grows, it welcomes, it enables and it is flying without wings. This is an amazing reality.
What is the CCC? The Center is a building, the facility is a place where many people congregate on Sundays, and where many students meet to interact, socialize, build relationships and just chill out during the rough weekdays of university life. Still the CCC is a refuge, it is a body, a heartwarming soul that reaches out to the Wichita Falls community. You see, the CCC extends itself not merely to its regulars, but further it embraces the less fortunate. Like a woman who loves her children, like a man who seeks to protect and provide for his household, the CCC reaches out to the less fortunate, needy and disadvantaged. With its ministry at Faith Missions, ARC, Habitat for Humanities and other such institutions over the years, the Catholic Campus Center (MWSU) shows what Christ requires. Service is a key ingredient in her daily diet which she serves to her patrons. Compassion is a key characteristic in the CCC’s quest to make a difference. You by now should not be surprised that it has spread its arms to other lands. One of its biggest achievement might be the two years Mexico Immersion Mission trip where faith was experienced and shared with strangers who in faith are brothers and sisters.
So what does 25 really mean? If it really is a Silver Jubilee, the CCC is golden. The fact is, silver does shine, it is solid and it is dazzling. So does gold, still I am convinced, the CCC is golden – by that I mean, it is worth more than is visible to the eyes. The weight of the hundreds if not thousands of lives it has touched over its acquisition of silveriness, is immeasurable. Probably saying it’s golden is even an understatement. But, I will leave room for its imperfections still needed to be perfected like gold in the fiery furnace. Thus, in it’s silver-coating, we have seen new ministries up-springing, with older ones taking on new and elevated states. New retreats have been extended to CCC-ers and confirmation candidates of neighboring church parishes and many more lives have been impacted. One can’t close their eyes to the fact that the beauty of its diversity is exemplary and unique within this sphere. No doubt, the openness of the CCC to people of different socio-economic backgrounds puts it in a place of its own.
Since I am on the verge of joining those in the ranks of Alumni, it would be remiss of me to not exhort the current members to preserve the tradition of those who preceded us. We must make the ministry better by the lives we lead. Each of us is called to know, love, and serve God in truth, in spirit, in fear (holy reverence) and trembling that we may be happy with Him in the next life. This appointed time all of us must do our part to take the Catholic Campus Center to its Golden Jubilee with God, Christ Jesus and Holy Spirt at its center always. May our Lives tell the story of its impact on us in our words and deeds during and beyond this year of faith as pronounced by Pope Bene XVI.
Conclusively, so much more can be said about the Catholic Campus Center – but I will conclude here by paying much regard, respect and honor to the Minister at its helm at this time. Hats Off, to Mrs. Debra (Debbie) Neely who for the last 11 of the CCC’s 25 years, has been, and is now efficiently holding the fort. On behalf of every past student, every current student, and those to come, I hereby extend a heartfelt gratitude to you for what you have done and continue to do for the CCC-ers. We pray tremendous blessings upon you and your family as you serve the Lord through this ministry.
Cheers Everyone!!! – Happy 25!!! 🙂 (Feel free to visit the CCC on Saturday 22nd from 12:00pm, and join the celebration at the Anniversary Mass on Sunday 23rd October at 10:00am)