Over the past few weeks at George Mason Catholic Campus Ministry, there has been a certain buzz around 4515 Roberts Rd.
The year kicked off with the annual Luau at the chapel. Students began arriving promptly at 5:30pm, and never stopped coming. The smell of Oscar the pig spread across campus, luring students out of their dorms. CCM Student Leaders also aided in promoting the Luau on campus. A few brave souls elected to wear a pig costume around campus to spread the word about this giantly awesome party. Others took to chalking the sidewalks across campus, which helped direct students to the chapel. And yet others handed out fliers and manned kiosk desks to inform students about upcoming events.
Aided by the Holy Spirit, the chapel was blessed to receive over 1500 students on Friday, August 23rd. Along with plenty of food provided by Oscar himself, students met new friends, played cornhole, listened to a live band play, and roasted marshmallows toward the end of the night.
A few weeks later, freshman escaped the drudgery of Fairfax, VA and ventured out to the breezy dunes of Virginia Beach. This was the Freshman Beach Retreat that CCM puts on every year. The retreat consisted of talks by both students and staff members. Saturday night adoration and confessions were heard.
The theme of the retreat was “Abundant Life in Christ.” As the students spent time in small groups, listening to talks, and in prayer they came to experience the rich, awesome life Christ had in store for them on campus. As the weekend progressed, these 60 new freshman began to foster growing relationships with each other, with the older student leaders, and with Christ Himself.
They returned to campus that Sunday, September 22, energized and refreshed. Christ had put a burning flame of love on their hearts, and many of these new students began attending daily Mass and weekly bible studies afterwards as a result.
Two weeks later, the not so fresh upperclassmen went on retreat as well. They journeyed to the mountains of Priestfield, West Virginia for a weekend away from the world.
The them of the retreat was “Unlocking the Spiritual Riches of the Church.” Like the freshman beach retreat, talks were given by both the staff and by students. One of the talks focused on St. Therese of the Child Jesus and her Little Way. Other talks dove into the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the charismatic movement in the Church.
Saturday night confessions were heard by six priests from around the Diocese of Arlington. A majority of the over 70 students on the retreat went to confession. Adoration, which consisted of silent prayer time, a penance service, and songs of praise went on during this time as well. Students also had ample time for silent reflection, small group discussion, and the ability to bond with each other during free time.
Furthermore, daily Mass attendance has spiked as well because of these retreats. Monday, Tuesday, and Friday Mass is held on campus in the HUB. Roughly 50 chairs are set out, but frequently over the past month there have been 5-10 students sitting on the floor!
God continues to work powerfully in the hearts and minds of the students at George Mason. Fr. Peter commented last week that the fire in the hearts of the students is like fire: it catches the more it is spread. It’s attractive to others and Christ’s love is able to spread the more the fire catches. Let’s pray this keeps up!