As part of my ministry I work as a chaplain to a university. It’s a ministry that has taught me a lot about the importance of contemplative presence and fidelity.
Taking on the chaplaincy in a secular institution has its challenges – there was little faith based activity and no ‘ready made’ chaplaincy community – instead we have had to build it from scratch. Week by week we have turned up, been present, offered opportunities – lunch, prayer, gardening, Mass, charity work and volunteering etc -and slowly a community has formed around us.
It’s a community of students who appreciate the space, who enjoy the calm atmosphere and friendly welcome, who want to be listened to without feeling they must be saying something of life-changing importance, students and staff who need to be able to explore the spiritual side of life without judgement.
This has all been as a result of our simply being faithful and present, witnessing quietly and consistently to our own deep faith and to gospel values.