From my perspective, identifying as a Roman Catholic at a university like Samford is a blessing and something I am very proud of. Despite being recognized as a minority within a student body composed predominantly of Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, and non-denominational Christians, I have found that the fellowship and community within Samford’s Catholic Student Association is undeniable.
While some might be overwhelmed by the presence of non-Catholics on campus, especially at a school located in the south, I have learned so much from my peers who do not identify as Catholic, and in some rare instances, do not identify as Christian. It has allowed me to learn more about my faith and grow as a person, developing an ability to inform others about the complexity and depth of the Catholic Faith.
At first, it can appear as if you may not interact with any Catholics who take the faith seriously, but if you choose to get involved with CSA, which I did early in my freshman year, you will meet friends that change your life for the better. There are so many opportunities to get involved in CSA, ranging from Bible study and home group to social events, such as cookouts and game nights.
In my three completed years as a member of CSA, I have worked, prayed, learned, and enjoyed activities with a multitude of incredible students and staff. I was lucky enough to have the leadership of three fantastic CSA presidents: Madeline Fric, Becca Weatherford, and Liz Harris. It is not often that you find yourself with a group leader who cares so much about your well-being outside of Catholic events, but each of our presidents has done an amazing job leading the Catholic group on campus. I would also like to mention that I am confident that our new president, McKenna Martignoni, will do the same this year and expand the reach of CSA on campus.
Although everyone’s personal relationship with God and experiences within the Catholic Church vary, it is important to remember that you are never alone in your faith journey, even at a school like Samford. I came to Samford knowing nobody, and CSA has provided me with a solid platform on spiritual, academic, and social levels. I hope to call the people I interact with from CSA on a regular basis my friends for life, and I look forward to meeting new students in my final year at Samford.
-Gunnar Sadowey, Samford, Class of 2021