Before the Cross | Campus ministry connects college students to Christ
Archbishop Robert J. Carlson
"Catching fire" and "connecting students to Christ" are frequent expressions of Father Bill Kempf. Working with students, forming and shaping them as people and as committed Catholics, is what Father Bill enjoys most about his ministry to students at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. He believes that campus ministry has the potential to help students come to know, love and serve Christ. He says watching that happen and sharing in a student's experience of spiritual awakening and conversion is a source of hope and real joy.
Father Bill wears two very large hats. His time is divided between his duties as pastor of a parish with a school, St. Ann in Normandy, and overseeing the Newman Center at UMSL.
I'm fortunate to have two full-time jobs that I love," Father Bill said. "But some days it feels like no one is being well-served."
As he struggles to balance all the responsibilities that come with being a full-time pastor and a full-time campus minister, Father Bill recalls an admonition of St. Vincent de Paul to his co-workers: Do the doable, not the impossible.
What is doable for those who minister to the young Church on college and university campuses today? "Awakenings" which come from students' intellectual curiosity about the Church and about its often countercultural messages are doable, Father Bill says. Even if students don't understand, or agree with, the Church's teaching on a particular issue, students who are awake intellectually want to know more.