BY Amanda Connelly | December 8 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

7-youth

New connections for Catholic students

An exciting networking opportunity for Catholic students has arisen, as the Catholic Student Network launches

A brand new initiative, the new website provides a unique opportunity for Catholic university students all across the UK to find their nearest university chaplaincy, access resources and connect with one another.

The team behind the site is made up entirely of Catholic students or graduates from this year at a number of higher education institutions across the UK.

“It grew organically from friendships that were made at student events,” Isaac Withers of CSN said. “We kept talking and blue sky thinking about an infrastructure for Catholic students, a place to share experiences, a place where students who just had questions about Catholicism could come to find answers.

“It’s basically the fruit of two years of these kinds of conversations, then with people at the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales and with chaplains.

“Eventually we realised that the creative energy and the hours were things that we could put into it as students and so we’re really happy that it’s become a reality!”

The site was set up with two key purposes in mind: to support Catholic students and to give their creativity a national platform on which to be recognised, with the colourful new website features stories and testimonies from fellow university students across the country, as well as a location finder for students to locate their own local Catholic university society.

Upcoming events for students and young people are also made available on the website, as well as a resources section containing different tools for students, directions to noteworthy online content across social media platforms, and a chance to discover some of the Catholic organisations helping students across the UK.

“A lot of Catholic Societies and chaplaincies function through social media which is great, but they can be hard to find unless you are looking for them,” said Mr Withers. “We really wanted to throw everything up on a map and show where the communities are.

“There were also a load of great events going on already and so many students did not know they were happening!

“So it’s essentially to signpost the good and to share good practice, what works on campus, how to talk to your friends about Jesus, all of that.

Our mentality has always been that we’re not founding an organisation but putting all the good under one roof.”

In addition, there is also a section dedicated to ‘Big Questions’, where written responses are provided to some of the pressing questions about God, the Church and Faith.

Students and university chaplaincies are encouraged to get involved with the network, because ‘good friends are so important’.

“I’ve recently been reading St. Pope John Paul II’s ‘Love and Responsibility’ and in it he talks about Aristotle’s three types of friendship, the best being virtuous friendship, friends united in the pursuit of a common goal,” said Mr Withers. “As people of the same Faith, we already have that foundation in common and we can learn so much from each other as we all walk the same path to holiness and in trying to walk with others who have no idea what that looks like.

“University culture is not all bad, it’s not all Tinder, one-night stands, clubbing and a terrible sleeping pattern, but that is all in the atmosphere and it’s almost impossible not to come in to contact with.

“A lot of people don’t even believe you could live another way, or they don’t know you could do that and be happy, even if they’re dissatisfied.

“We have a serious message about real joy and authentic friendship, both of which are seriously attractive.

“We want to pursue that goal and that’s what faithful students and chaplaincies are trying to do, essentially it’s spreading the Gospel. It’s just easier to spread the gospel when we talk about how to chieve that it together.”

The Catholic Student Network have launched their advent campaign, ‘Uni Advent’, which is running now on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and can be found for searching for ‘Uni Advent’.

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