SMC Campus Ministry hosts Lenten reflection brunches
Gina Twardosz | Wednesday, April 3, 2019
Easter brunch is a holiday tradition, but what about the brunches leading up to Easter? Every Sunday until Palm Sunday, students can join Campus Ministry leaders in the conference rooms outside the Noble Family Dining Hall for Blessed Brunch and Encounter with Christ to reflect upon their Lenten spiritual journey.
Junior Grace Erving was one of the creators of the blessed brunches. An intern for Saint Mary’s campus ministry, Erving said she wanted to find a way to highlight the teachings of Campus Ministry’s retreats in a way that required a lower commitment from students in the midst of finals or senior comprehensives.
Emily Sipos-Butler, assistant director of Campus Ministry, said she felt a Lenten brunch was the perfect way to meet students where they are while still providing them with deep, meaningful conversations about faith.
“In the past, I’ve led a retreat called ‘Encounter with Christ’ and students just loved it,” she said. “But when I tried to recruit students for it, you can guess what I would hear: ‘I’m too busy.’ Many students can benefit from deep conversations about faith and life, but they’re so busy, it can be challenging to get them to come away for things.”
Each Sunday for four weeks during Lent, Erving said students can come brunch with student leaders while discussing different topics, like their relationship with Christ and their Lenten process.
“This Sunday, I will be talking about prayer and different ways to pray, and our last brunch will feature a presentation from graduate student Margaret Davis on how her relationship with Christ has grown and how she will continue her faith after leaving Saint Mary’s,” she said.
The blessed brunches are open to “all Christians and any seekers,” Sipos-Butler said.
“It is Christian-focused, but anyone who is asking questions about faith and God and is curious can come as well as those students who are very devoted to a life of faith as a Christian,” she said.
Sipos-Butler and Erving both agreed the focus of the brunches is to encourage students to be open about their Lenten struggles and triumphs. Sipos-Butler said feeling the presence of community during Lent can make it easier to achieve one’s Lenten goals.
“It’s important for us to be encouraged in our faith journey, particularly during Lent,” she said. “Lent can feel like an individual time of penance, but we journey on this together. It’s much easier to ask deep questions of yourself and of God if we know we are apart of a supportive community.”
Erving said she sometimes feels like she’s “doing Lent all wrong,” but that having a community to share her frustrations with helps overcome some of the challenges she experiences.
“I’ve had some very difficult Lents and I’ve had some very fruitful Lents in the past,” she said. “Some people can feel like they’re doing Lent all wrong, but having that community to bounce ideas off of can be very helpful. Of course you can’t do Lent wrong, but it can start to feel that way if you feel like you’re in it alone.”
All in all, Erving said the brunches provide students with the opportunity to breathe and reflect over good food and good company.
“When you’re a college student, you have 86 things on your plate at one time, so it’s hard to prioritize,” she said. “Your spiritual life and your faith may not get prioritized, but those are some of the most important things for college students because they’ll stick with you long-term. We all need to retreat and do a little reflection, because it’s a part of self care.
“Everyone has one bucket, and if you put good things in the bucket you can pour those back out — but if you’re not putting anything in your bucket, you’re not going to have anything to pour out.”