We are now in back-to-school season and I am happy to share with you several exciting things God is doing through the ministry of Dominican friars for the salvation of souls at universities throughout the country.
As the Eucharistic Revival continues to highlight the important truth that it is Jesus Christ himself who is truly present in the Eucharist, we can recall the necessary conclusion drawn by St. John Paul II about what this means for our lives and the life of the Church: “The Church is from the Eucharist.” Our spiritual life, our salvation, and the life of the Church is from Jesus Christ, present in our midst, in the Eucharist.
It is no surprise then that at this same blessed moment when our Dominican friars recently opened the first perpetual Eucharistic Adoration chapel in Manhattan, these friars, who serve St. Joseph’s parish in Greenwich Village and the NYU Catholic Center, were also asked to take on ministry to several additional campuses in New York City. The abundant graces of the Eucharist are fueling the growth of the Church, even in the midst of a harshly secular environment.
When I was a college student, Catholic campus ministry offered me a life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, a community to form true friendships, and an understanding of who I am as a beloved child of God and the purpose of my life. In this issue, we talked with Curtis Martin, the founder of FOCUS, and Fr. Joseph-Anthony Kress, O.P., chaplain at the University of Virginia, who spoke with us about the distinctive power of the Dominican charism to animate thriving campus ministries and change students’ lives in our age of confusion and isolation that desperately hungers for truth and communion.
This summer, I also had the privilege of serving at the Thomistic Institute’s Student Leadership Conference, also featured in this issue, where over 100 student leaders, representing over 80 campus chapters, gathered for spiritual and intellectual nourishment and fellowship at the Dominican House of Studies. The Thomistic Institute brings the riches of the Catholic intellectual tradition to universities in an attractive way through a growing network of campus chapters. It is wonderful to see students getting excited together about the truth they discover and being empowered to share this truth with others—a sacred and saving truth that transforms lives, campuses, and society.
This is what Dominicans have been doing for 800 years—bringing the Savior of the world to universities through our preaching of truth, the forgiveness of sins, and the Eucharist, and inviting students to authentic and life-changing friendship with Christ and with one another.
Thank you for partnering with us in our Dominican mission. Your support for our Dominican formation programs ensures that these flourishing ministries transforming young peoples’ lives and saving many souls will continue to grow and bear good fruit.
In Christ and St. Dominic,
Fr. John Paul Kern, O.P.
Dominican Friars Foundation