Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Coming soon to GW?

Here's an article from the Catholic Herald which is the newspaper for the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia.  To view the pic which goes with the article and shows the huge dinner crowd, please click on today's title.  With the help of God and through FOCUS, might this be coming soon to GW????

‘Exponential growth’ at Mason

The Catholic community at the Fairfax university is outgrowing St. Robert Bellarmine Chapel.

Kevin Loker
For the Catholic Herald


More than 180 students crowded the meeting hall of St. Robert Bellarmine Chapel at George Mason University in Fairfax to hear Father James Searby speak during the Catholic Campus Ministry’s (CCM) first Thursday Night Supper this fall.

The seating capacity for the basement hall? About 150.

“We’re bursting at the seams,” said Father Peter Nassetta, chaplain.

According to Father Nassetta, the Catholic community at Mason is growing beyond the chapel’s physical limits. “Come to a Thursday Night Supper this year, and, well, it’s obvious. For several years now I’ve said that we’re growing faster than the university, I just didn’t expect to grow this much faster.”

More chairs were brought in and dining tables were taken out in order to accommodate the crowd in Father Bob Cilinski Hall. The food line was moved outdoors to the parking lot in order to allow more seating space for students. About a third of attendees still stood to eat their meal.

The annual luau — an event held at the chapel that serves as a welcome to new students and a kick-off for the new school year — also demonstrates God’s hand at work at Mason, said Father Nassetta. At the first luau in 2006, there were 115 students. This fall, the attendance skyrocketed to more than 1,000.

“We expected regular growth this year,” said Father Nassetta. “What we’re getting is exponential growth.”

But the growth goes beyond the parties and social gatherings. In addition to the students who attend the other weekend Masses, more than 270 students attended the first 10 p.m. student Mass of the fall semester — filling the pews and leaving standing-room only. “We actually had to ask students to scoot in toward the center of the pews,” said Catherine Horan, associate campus minister. “We’ve never had to do that before for the student Mass.”

CCM has six missionaries from the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) working with the staff, and the number of their student-led Bible studies has more than doubled since 2006, growing from 14 to more than 30. Next weekend CCM will hold its annual beach retreat and at least 100 students are expected to attend.

Junior Alex Crockett, a student disciple in FOCUS, said the climbing numbers are a testament of “the fire” growing on campus.

“You know it’s funny because one of CCM’s alum, Thomas Gallagher, got us all using that phrase two years ago,” said Crockett. “More and more, people on our campus are looking for real friendships, real relationships — and CCM can provide that in a meaningful context. Real friendships and real relationships are Christ-centered. There’s a ‘fire,’ I think, because people are beginning to really recognize that.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well, so much for those who grouched about the $50k for FOCUS. One hopes the investment is as worthwhile as it's been for GM.