Recently I was asked by an online Catholic friend if I received a package yet. I hadn’t, so when I checked the mail after a long mail hold while we were visiting family in Virginia, I was excited to open the package and see what it was.
Yes! Christmas in August!
I opened it, saw the familiar Longhorn colors – colors that make my heart skip a beat – and unfolded the windbreaker to reveal a note Anna had included. It read:
A friend of mine gave me a giant bag of children’s clothing and this jacket was among them. After the obligatory consideration of burning it, I thought Josie would fit into this in a few months during those rare Texas “winter” days.
I cracked up laughing as I read the part about wanting to burn it. Yes, this is how we are wired to respond to our rival school and those unfortunate enough to make the decision to attend said rival school. Ribbing is always in good fun!
As a proud Longhorn grad, I sometimes find it difficult to attend a church that has a thriving Catholic Aggie population. It grieves my heart to concede that good things are coming out of A&M, like an increase in vocations, the origination of 40 Days For Life, former Planned Parenthood’s executive director Abby Johnson’s conversion from pro-choice to pro-life took place there, or FlockNote which originated there as well. Some of the most popular Catholic bloggers have roots that go back to A&M, like Marcel LeJeune who writes The Catholic Evangelist or Flocknote founder Matthew Warner who is a regular blogger for NCR – National Catholic Register. Even my friend, Jennifer Fulwiler, blogger of Conversion Diary and blogger for NCR has A&M ties. Good gracious, I couldn’t get away from it if I tried! Le sigh. The Aggie well runs deep. So much so, that our two priests are from the rival schools – Father Dean Wilhelm, former pastor of both the infamous St. Mary’s from A&M and St. Thomas Aquinas in College Station and Father Jonathan Raia from UT. We are a house divided when it comes to schools. Through our Faith we bridge that gap and it heals all those rivalry wounds. Almost all of them, anyway.
I am saddened at the liberalism found on the UT campus. I am equally saddened that I didn’t know my faith better when I was a college student. As someone who now has a passion for evangelizing and witnessing for the Faith, I could have found some fiercely passionate Catholics once we peeled back those layers of liberalism and hypocrisy at UT. See, for me, liberalism from a Catholic point of view, is akin to agreement to being lied to, if even on a subconscious level. The thought process leads to moral relativism and shortchanges us spiritually. It comes in a falsely packaged pill that touts “compassion” and “tolerance,” “live and let live” and “don’t judge me.” What a bunch of garbage, I say. Give me the Truth and let me work out the struggle on my own. I’d rather know the Truth and disagree than be spoon-fed lies and then feel total abandonment or disillusionment when I realize I’ve been fed a crock. This isn’t necessarily an absolute for religion, either. This can apply to most things in life. Just don’t lie to me. The truth may hurt, but I can do more with the truth than I can with lies.
The days of Catholic liberalism may be challenged – the UT horizon is filled with Catholic hope. A new program called FOCUS, the Fellowship of Catholic University Students is a national outreach that meets college students where they are and invites them into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ and the Catholic Faith, is coming to campus this fall at the UCC. St. William had the privilege of having Lauren Garcia, team leader of FOCUS at UT come speak about the program. Its mission is centered on answering the Church’s call for a new evangelization.
As a Longhorn, it thrills me to have a program that is designed to work upstream in a ferociously liberal environment and take students and grads and form them into strong and faithful Catholics. I am rooting for the success of this program and I hope you will join me by supporting Lauren and her mission in any way possible. You can reach her by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org OR by phone, 512-514-3026.
I am also looking forward to the fruit of this program to be a stronger UT showing at St. William.