Seniors said their final goodbyes to Catholic Community Sunday during the last Mass of the semester at the BLUU Ballroom. Some students shared memories, smiles and even happy tears.
Graduating senior speech pathology major Anna Chavez said she didn’t know how much it meant to her until it was time to say goodbye.
“I was so nervous when I was standing up there because I couldn’t believe that I was actually about to say ‘goodbye’ to Catholic Community,” Chavez said. “I felt like I was telling my family ‘Bye’ when they dropped me off at TCU my freshman year.”
In lieu of a homily from Catholic Community priest Fr. Charlie Calabrese, seniors shared what being a Catholic at TCU meant to them. Chavez, Catholic Community co-president, also said it’s really important for students to find their faith while in college, whatever religious affiliation.
“College is the time when we actually have the opportunity to explore our beliefs without someone telling us what we should or should not believe,” said Chavez. “I was able to grow in my faith and as a person because I met people who challenged me and encouraged me. When I look back on the last four years, some of the greatest memories are from Catholic Community and I know they are memories I will cherish for a lifetime.”
With hardly an empty seat to be found in the BLUU Ballroom, the service included several traditional hymns preformed and sung by a live band of students. Following each hymn, the congregation of seniors turned their attention to Calabrese as he led them in prayer.
“Everything about Sunday Mass was joyful, the music, the people, everything,” Chavez said. “Father Charlie is amazing and every week I was able to take something away from his homily.”
Of the soon-to-be Horned Frog alumni, graduating senior math major and Catholic Community co-president Drew Curd said that Calabrese and his homilies are a huge part of why the TCU Catholic Community is what it is today.
“The Catholic Community at TCU has given me a place to go and meet people from all backgrounds,” Curd said. “These people are some of my best friends and Father Charlie truly is the greatest priest you could have.”
While faith has no simple equation, or sometimes a clear answer, Curd found there was one simple concept he learned that drove him to be an outspoken individual among the congregation of Catholic students at TCU.
“Pay attention to your life,” Curd said. “Realize the friends and people who love you who surround you and realize that in those moments God is there.”
Mark Weathers, a Brite Divinity School graduate student and member of the campus ministry team for the Catholic Community at TCU, said that although the practices preformed in the mass are strictly of Catholic belief, he and the rest of the congregation invite those of other religious affiliations to join.
“There are no generalizations that can accurately describe the entire community,” Weathers said. “The TCU Catholic Community represents Protestants and Catholics, conservatives and liberals, West Coast and East Coast, North Americans, South Americans, Africans and Asians, students and adults, traditionalists and iconoclasts. It is an immensely unusual demonstration of the ability of diversity and even disagreement to flourish within a harmonious family of acceptance.”