A strongly Reformed college campus with a Catholic club? You might not think you would find anything of the sort here but you would, of course, be wrong. Pax Christi (Latin for “Peace of Christ”) president Marie Jeppesen gets a lot of astonished reactions when she brings up the club.
“When I say I’m Catholic, people are like, ‘There are Catholics on this campus?’ and they’re really, really surprised,” Jeppesen said.
Last year, the club discussed topics in Catholicism and what it means to be Catholic on a Reformed Christian campus, but the leaders have a new direction they hope to take the club this year. With help from the new adviser Prof. Chris Hausmann, the club hopes to welcome non-Catholic students into conversations about a variety of issues, and also talk about what Catholicism can mean for their own faith no matter where they stand.
“We wanted to make it more open for students of any denomination to come,” Jeppesen said. Pax Christi hopes to clarify what Catholicism is, as well as what it isn’t.
“One of the big misconceptions is that Catholics worship Mary, and worship the saints, the whole idolatry thing – and that is completely not true,” Jeppesen said,
Students will have lots of opportunities to discuss topics that are important to them as well as learn about the issues and what they can mean in the context of the Catholic faith. Jeppesen envisions “an apologetics sort of thing where people bring in their own questions and we talk about them as a group.”
Though the group will talk about issues that relate to broader contexts than just Catholicism, Jeppesen is also eager to talk about rich traditions in Catholicism that anyone can take part in, such as prayer.
“We’re going to look at what are normally viewed as specifically Catholic prayers — but what a lot of people don’t know is that anyone can do those; it’s not bad to pray the Rosary if you’re a Protestant, it’s not bad to pray Liturgy of the Hours if you’re from the Reformed Church…it’s a lot more inclusive than a lot of people understand,” Jeppesen said.
For students who want to learn about the church that has been around for a while — as Jeppesen put it, “It’s gone back to the beginning of time – this is the church that Jesus started” — or for those who want to put their own ideas on the table and talk them out, stop in to a Pax Christi meeting. Come at 7:30p.m. on Thursdays to the upper floor of Ramaker.