A Year of Blessings: Campus Ministry
“Fr. Nick has helped me grow in my faith.” “Fr. Nick helped me in my daily prayer.” “Fr. Nick challenges me to apply the teachings of the Bible to my own life.”
These are just a few of the things students are saying about Fr. Nicholas Monco, O.P., who recently completed his first year as the Saint Benedict Institute chaplain to Hope College.
When the Saint Benedict Institute set out to hire a chaplain, we said we wanted someone who “could build a credible Catholic witness on Hope’s campus, one which strengthens the faithful Catholic students, draws in the lapsed Catholics, and embraces the non-Catholic students in ecumenical friendship.” Fr. Nick has done this with grace and tact.
One students humorously relates, “Fr. Nick has given me faith that not all priests are old and boring. He brings enthusiasm to Catholic students and has great homilies.”
Fr. Nick has established a rhythm of Catholic activities aimed at cultivating a deeper faith and Christian friendships. These included daily Mass, regular confession, spiritual direction, and an open offer to go out to coffee. He also launched men’s and women’s prayer groups along with the very successful Exodus 90 program.
Cultivating habits of prayer and Christian friendship has been of particular importance. “My goal,” Fr. Nick said, “is to provide a regular sacramental presence and be someone students can talk to, to develop their faith.”
“He always makes himself available to students and is great at reaching out to anyone in need,” one student said. “He is also great at relating to the average college student, both through personal anecdotes and analogies in his homilies.”
We feel particularly blessed to have had Fr. Nick this year and to see all the good things that God has done through him. Please pray for his ministry and for our students!