||Students from St. Paul University Catholic Center in the Library Mall construction zone welcome students with free root beer floats. (Contributed photo)
MADISON -- St. Paul University Catholic Center welcomed University of Wisconsin (UW) students back to school with a week of free root beer floats, followed by pizza parties, dances, and spaghetti dinners.
In a warm spirit of friendship, St. Paul’s students spread themselves across campus to draw others into a discovery of the joy of the Gospel.
Twenty-two-year old Irina Olson, who is serving this year as an intern at St. Paul’s, has a special love for Welcome Week. “No matter how many root beer floats you have, Welcome Week never gets old,” she said.
“In every scoop of ice cream is an opportunity to build a friendship that could teach someone about the love of the Lord. That makes this the most exciting of all places to be at the University of Wisconsin.”
Leaders for Christ
The St. Paul’s team focuses on the life-giving mission of bringing Christ to the heart of one of the most influential university campuses in the world.
The University of Wisconsin forms leaders. The young adults who come to the UW campus will leave equipped to carry the torch and become leaders in every area: education, public affairs, engineering, business, medicine, law.
The job of St. Paul University Catholic Center is to bring to the forefront that UW students also need every possible opportunity to encounter their faith and see the beauty of a life of service. When they question their faith, they need to receive an equally strong reason why it is valid.
Thousands of students leave home for the first time to attend this university. They begin to make decisions on the life they want to lead.
St. Paul’s invites these young people into an atmosphere that gives them the confidence and ability to ask important life questions, surrounding them with a large student community that gives them lifelong friendships and support.
St. Paul University Catholic Center on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus is widely recognized as one of the nation’s flagship Catholic public campus ministries.
This fall, as another academic year begins, St. Paul’s is launching a new formation program, Missionary Discipleship, aimed at equipping young adult leaders with the breadth and practice of the Catholic faith so they may share it confidently and knowledgeably with others.
Many of the leaders being trained through the Missionary Discipleship program are Bible study leaders who meet weekly on campus with their peers, providing an opportunity for students to discover the beauty of faith through prayerful discussion.
Each small group of four to 12 students provides an environment for developing deep and meaningful friendships, asking questions, taking an active role in their faith, and being encouraged.
With over 65 Bible studies running at any given time and targeted to a wide variety of peer groups, St. Paul’s has one of the best Bible study programs in the nation in terms of magnitude and quality.
The Bible study program is in accord with Church teaching and is proven to be effective in bringing young people closer to Christ through Holy Scripture, but the Missionary Discipleship program will ensure that Bible study leaders are prepared to share the light of Christ in its fullness.
Over 130 student leaders have enrolled in the program, which will eventually offer 10 rotating six-week courses on various aspects of the faith on Wednesday evenings at St. Paul’s.
The courses are compatible with the Diocese of Madison’s Seat of Wisdom Institute courses, and students who complete them will receive the same certification to be catechetical leaders in the state of Wisconsin.
More importantly, they will be prepared to answer the kinds of questions that arise from their peers as they seek truth in the faith and begin to live their own lives with integrity and confidence in the secular world.
Course topics include those important to all (Prayer and Evangelization), to new Catholics (Creed, Sacraments, Life in Christ, Salvation History), and to those who are ready to learn the faith at a deeper level (Handing on the Faith, Revelation & Reason, Love & Responsibility).
“The courses we are beginning to offer students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are among the best catechetical formation programs available,” said Fr. Mark Miller, director of student ministries at St. Paul’s.
Though Father Miller oversees the program’s content, it is in reality a collaboration with the entire ministry staff.
Community of faith
With the Missionary Discipleship program and so many other programs starting up and running strong, it’s an exciting time to be at St. Paul’s.
“St. Paul’s is excited to welcome new students to the UW-Madison,” said Fr. Eric Nielsen, director. “They will find a wonderful community of faith, education, and support here at St. Paul University Catholic Center.
“If you know of a student on campus who is struggling or in need of community support, please let us know if there’s anything we can do. We are eager to help any student at this university from any faith or background. Don’t hesitate to contact me or anyone on our ministry staff.”
For more information, call 608-258-3140, visit the St. Paul’s website at www.uwcatholic.org or email