A university chaplaincy in Spain, a little path of the Kingdom

For the past six years the Little Sisters of the Assumption have been in touch with university students in Cartagena, a large town on the Mediterranean coast of Spain. Sister Charo Martin tells us something of their journey during that time.

’Since we arrived here in the province of Murcia, in 2005, we have been involved in the university pastoral ministry, at the request of the Episcopal vicar. Cartagena is the centre for most of the higher technical studies in the region (engineering, economics etc.) The university campus is relatively recent and the pastoral ministry is trying to find its way, not without difficulty, through formation courses and activities for both the teaching staff and the students. I work with the students. 

Out of a whole group who benefited from this ministry during their studies, we are still in contact with only two students. Last year, we invited them to lunch at the community to introduce them to a young woman from our neighbourhood who had just begun her nursing studies. It was a very pleasant time and we agreed that we would meet again two weeks later, each one to be accompanied by a guest. So, six came the next time. The whole LSA community was present. This opened doors for us. 
 
This year, other friends have joined the group. We meet at lunchtime as it’s the only time when everybody is free. We have an open table and are attentive to see that everybody has a chance to talk. We discuss university life (their favourite places for studying, difficult times they may have had, the reasons for choosing a particular course of study etc.) and each one’s personal history (the meaning of our name, the desires and horizons that are the most important for us.) After the meal we pray, using a Gospel text so as to link up with our experiences, and we express our requests, our thanksgiving etc. 
With these young university students the Kingdom is a banquet, a joyful meal – we laugh a lot – where we share the bread, the word and life. The Kingdom is a festival between friends. Our encounters greatly resemble Eucharistic celebrations. The group is small and the young people do not often participate in other activities organised by the university pastoral ministry but, isn’t the Kingdom like a mustard seed, like the yeast in the dough, like a person who sows knowing that it is another who will make the seed grow?’ 
 
Sister Charlo Martin Perez, community of the LSA in Carthagena, Murcia, Spain
30/08/2011
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