Knabb: Liturgical ministry and its impact

Justin Runquist

Turning the calendar to first week of second semester can be tough.  Unlike summer, we all return with pasty white skin and not much to look forward to.  No orientation or moving into dorms or having reunions with friends.  Just class syllabi, frosty walks through a colorless quad, and waiting lines in Kennedy Hall it seems.

Cheer up though.  This a fresh start for us.  It’s a chance to start from scratch and do something great. I reflect on a single decision I made my first week of freshman year’s second semester and actually think it was one of my most defining moments in college.

Over that winter break, I felt like a selfish quarterback sitting in the locker-room over half time of a game I was losing big. At that time, my motto was 4.0 or bust. My friendships were still suspect, and I hadn’t yet contributed much to this university. I just had an empty feeling. An unfulfilled feeling. I needed not just a big play that second semester, but a new offensive strategy altogether. I felt I needed a bold move into something new and into a cause for something greater than myself.

That’s when I made the defining, Joe Namath-like move in my life. I walked to St. Rita’s hall and signed up to be a lector for student masses. Instead of sneaking into church on Sunday, I figured I’d force myself to stand at the lectern in front of standing room only crowds. Instead of continuing to use my protestant faith as a crutch here, I figured I’d start exploring Catholicism by fire. And instead of keeping my deep love and devotion for God inside, I figured I’d start proclaiming it.

For the first time in my brief college career, I felt like a player rather than a spectator. In this large community, I began to feel like an important contributor. St. Thomas church began to be a meeting place for all sorts of friends, too: athletes, upper-classmen, Greeks, bio majors, engineers, Villanova mascots, priests and even the university president.

I love liturgical ministry. It’s been fun, it’s been a chance to meet so many good people, and it’s actually helped me have peace-of-mind with academics and other aspects of college. My baseball dreams may have died in high school, but my sense of teamwork and contribution to something great continues through ministry.

And that’s what I think liturgical ministry is all about; giving to something much, much greater than yourself. It’s handing back your talents and efforts to God. It’s planting a small part of your personality and legacy into this great campus. It’s standing in a position where so many curious, Villanova Christians have stood before you.

And this experience has not only changed my life for the better, but other Villanova Christians, who have taken that leap of faith, feel the same way.

“My role as a liturgical minister helped me realize the joy and love that can be fostered by a Catholic as part of a multi-faith community on this campus,” senior Ian Bush said. “And while my own faith journey continues down several paths, liturgical ministry has remained a completely rewarding, fulfilling, and inspiring experience.”

“Liturgical ministry has impacted me deeply during my time at Villanova,” junior Daniel Hines said. “It has opened my eye and introduced me to people and opportunities that I would never have known otherwise.”

“Ever since I came to Villanova, I have been most impressed with the warmth and vitality of the Villanova masses,” senior Sarah Banas said. “I think it is the energy of the celebration and a desire to be an active part of it that has inspired me to be a liturgical minister.”

The calendar has now flipped to another second semester and sign ups for liturgical ministry have begun and it is now your chance to take that leap of faith and be rewarded with the experience of a lifetime.