This week I will be traveling to Florida with a bunch of our high-school youth to look at Ave Maria University. This is part of our effort to get more of our Catholic youth to go to Catholic colleges with a strong Catholic curriculum and formation in the faith. It is an unfortunate reality that most youth will leave their faith (not just Catholics, but all faiths) when they are of college age and never return. The best chance they have to preserve their faith is to enter into a college with a strong Catholic community. Most college kids who stay active in their faith during college will have a much better chance remaining in or returning to the faith later in life. It is imperative that we do all that we can to get our kids to go to good Catholic schools or at least to go to colleges with a strong Catholic community.
We must ask ourselves this question, “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” Yet how many parents and children choose a college based off its food services, academic reputation and campus, rather than its Catholic community, which can help a child remain in the faith and go to Heaven. Some time ago, a Ryken parent sacrificed much to send their child to St. Mary’s Ryken, and he saw that his child was not growing closer to Christ despite his good grades. The father said to his son, “I did not send you to this school to become the smartest man in Hell!” What about our children’s and grandchildren’s colleges? We need to do everything we can to help them choose a college with an environment that will help them to grow in their faith and become more committed to Christ, not less. This does not mean they must go to a Catholic college. After all, there are places, like the University of Maryland, College Park, which have a very strong Catholic presence that resulted in many conversions and vocations (like our own Danny Baxter). The question is, “What are we doing to help our young people value the faith even more in their college years?” Remember that we are talking about their eternal salvation, and most who leave the faith will NEVER return! Therefore, we must do all that we can as parents, grandparents, godparents, aunts and uncles to encourage them to go to a place where their faith will grow and thrive. First pray, then encourage and then pray some more. This is not easy, but then again, nothing worthwhile is ever easy!
– Your Brother and Father in Christ, Fr. Scott