Transitions — Developing a personal creed of faith

Several weeks ago, Diocesan Campus Ministry sponsored a retreat for those students heading off to college. The EMBARK Retreat is designed to help our young people navigate the transition from high school to college and beyond. As someone who wasn’t involved much with church or religion in my early years, it is always a source of joy when I meet young people who are active in their faith and in their relationship with Jesus Christ as many of our retreatants and team are and who are trying to follow Him as they move through life.

One such young person was a team member on the EMBARK Retreat. Lindsey is a junior nursing student at UMass Dartmouth and a peer minister on campus. During the retreat, the team and retreatants were asked to spend some time developing a personal creed of faith. We explained that transitions transform our beliefs about ourselves, our lives, and our God. Therefore, we asked them to draft a creed of faith regarding transition. This statement of personal beliefs, we hope, will help ground each during the often turbulent and uncertain aspects of transition and remind them of their faith as they navigate through each transition they will face in life.

I asked Lindsey if she would summarize and share why she is so active in her faith life and in Campus Ministry and a little bit about the EMBARK Retreat. I hope her words will inspire many of you to get involved in your parishes or campus ministry and to validate those who already are. What you, as peers, can do to foster the faith life of others far surpasses what most adults can do. We need you to support your peers in developing that genuine and close relationship with Jesus Christ. As you know, Jesus changes everything! So many need to know that! 

Lindsey said, “Being a campus minister and retreat leader has given me so much joy and peace. I truly feel my faith grows immensely while helping others grow in their faith. Being able to share my experiences and serve as a mentor to fellow peers/college students deepens my relationship with God and gives me a sense of connection with what the Lord is asking of me. This EMBARK Retreat was such a wonderful experience, to help incoming college students relieve some anxieties regarding the beginning of a new transition; one that I have experienced and remember very vividly. Conversations including: what to bring to college to how to stay connected with our faith during the college years. College is a very difficult time with all of the new transitions that we face; however, remembering that we are never alone. Campus ministry has helped me stay connected with others who are serving the same mission of God, and helping guide others to stay connected as well.

 One of the most beautiful aspects of UMass Dartmouth’s Catholic Campus Ministry is that we serve not only UMass Dartmouth students but students from Rhode Island College, BCC, Wheaton, local high school students (Bishop Stang), community members, faculty and staff of the school, etc.

“Father David Frederici and Deacon Frank Lucca have worked with our campus ministers to implement many programs, and provide many opportunities to grow in faith, for not only UMass Students but any college student who wishes to partake. Many students from local colleges will attend our retreats and even our weekly Mass and Pasta Dinner Nights on Thursdays to help stay connected with the Lord and peers.” 

Lindsey’s Personal creed of faith, that she wrote while on EMBARK, beautifully summarizes her beliefs that have sustained her through many challenges and transitions. She is happy to share it with all of you.

“My Creed of Faith by Lindsey Meunier:

“I believe that I am never alone in my struggles, worry, depression and illness. Amidst my difficulties, God has blessed me in countless ways: family, friendships, and my fellow peers in Campus Ministry. Although at times I may feel in darkness, I can always see God’s shining light in my heart and through the hearts of others.

“My God, my Father, my Brother, my Protector, and my Friend: You hold my hand and guide me through joyful and challenging times; For I am not afraid. I believe that You speak to me in many ways; In nature, in song, in conversation with others, and through your Holy Gospel.

“Lift up your eyes on high and see Who has created these stars. The One Who leads forth their host by number. He calls them all by name; because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power, not one of them is missing (Is 40:26).

“With faith I hear Your commands, with love I serve Your people, and with Your mercy and forgiveness — I am saved.”

 I think that says it all Lindsey. Thank you! Now, I hope Lindsey has inspired you all to take some time to develop your own Creed of Faith. This creed may help you in the transitions that you will surely face. May it remind you of what you truly believe — at the time you most need to be reminded of it. 

Anchor columnist Frank Lucca is a permanent deacon in the Diocese of Fall River, a youth minister at St. Dominic’s Parish in Swansea, and a campus minister at UMass Dartmouth. He is married to his wife of 38 years, Kristine, and the father of two daughters and their husbands, and three grandsons. Comments, ideas or suggestions? Please email him at DeaconFrankLucca@comcast.net.


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