My Chaplaincy Journey
I came into contact with the Chaplaincy as a first year student at university. Back then, I was fresh faced out of Catholic college and recently stepped down from my role as a youth group leader to focus on my studies. I thought I needed to be without ‘faith’ stuff to tackle the ‘real’ stuff. But I soon realised that I needed a community of faith more than I thought, and God more than that. Luckily (or providentially), I visited Newman Hall pretty much from the beginning of my university career; it was a convenient midway stop between music classes and business classes and became the place where I would heat up my food, leave my gear and have frank conversations about life with chaplains and students alike. University was a time of change for me, and a time of questions and meeting people of different opinions, and I was so glad that I had Newman Hall to call ‘home away from home’ as an anchor and the chaplains as my much needed big brothers and sisters to guide me throughout that time.
You could say then that it’s been a massive blessing to have been a chaplain myself over this last year and a half. I thought it would be a lot different to being a student and that I would know all the answers to life’s problems, but sadly (yet beautifully), I found the opposite. I’ve found that in my conversations with students, I’ve been in the same boat as them, a companion facing the same turbulent seas. I’ve had conversations with my fellow chaplains about how God has a knack of using my own brokenness and issues to be able to share in the brokenness and issues of someone else.
This has been the greatest privilege and joy in my role. Yes, it’s been awesome being able to do creative things, organise events, ask dumb questions and making people feel welcome, but it has been moments of sharing in each other’s lives and helping each other through that has been the biggest blessing for me. Meeting every student and getting to know them has been such a gift and it’s made me ponder on the unrepeatable goodness of each person. I’ve gained more than I’ve given and learnt so much, even through the struggles. What I’m taking away from this experience is that God loves us so uniquely, personally and profoundly, and all I need to do is receive that love and let Him love others through me in the ways that He provides in the moment, and my time here has been the school where I’ve learnt this lesson the most.
I want to thank Fr Chris and all of the chaplains that I’ve worked with for being such amazing people and for supporting me in my own life, and for inspiring me to give of myself more and more. It’s been a massive blessing to have shared these months with you in prayer and friendship!
Please pray for me as I journey on to the next chapter of my life, and pray for your new Chaplain! Know that I will be praying for you all!
By Shana Llorando