After graduating high school, I was sad to leave my parish youth group and fearful that college ministry would not be as vibrant. Saint Stephen the Martyr Campus Ministry far exceeded my expectations and truly deepened me in my faith. Not only did I have a deepening of my faith, looking back now on my time in college, I can truly say it was the reason that I was able to keep the Faith at a secular university. Saint Stephen’s has such a vibrant community of Catholic, college students; not only the students at UAB, but also the other Birmingham colleges of Samford and Birmingham-Southern College. This community of Birmingham, Catholic, college students readily welcomed me into, not only fellowship, but also lasting friendships that I will I carry with me for the rest of my life and into eternity.
One of my first memories of St. Stephen’s was when I attended an Adoration night the week before Fall classes began. I had visited the chapel before a few times, but the space didn’t quite make sense until I was there before our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Having that time to rest with the Lord in the peace and stillness of the sanctuary, while the busy city of Birmingham continued rushing about below, was a strong assurance that His graces would continue to be with me as I began my college career. The chapel changed in my eye from a jarring space that was kind of awkward to a beautiful place that was comforting within the context of the Eucharist. The graces of that night were not only spiritual. After Adoration, I got to meet some of the students, but since school had not yet begun, there was nothing else going on at the chapel. So, a large group of us decided to go to Chick-Fil-A and spend time together. I truly felt welcomed into the group and have continued to feel that way since.
Saint Stephen’s is truly blessed to be a mission out of Saint Paul’s Cathedral, the seat of the diocese. As such, a university student is exposed to the many wonders contained within the Diocese of Birmingham. While discerning a vocation to the priesthood of this diocese, I took full advantage of this privileged position and was plugged into several parishes throughout the diocese, regularly making retreats with student groups to EWTN, Saint Bernard’s Abbey, Casa Maria, and events happening at Our Lady of Sorrows, Holy Rosary, and Saint Paul’s. It was the greatest gift to be introduced, not only to the community of Saint Stephens, but also to Catholic life within Birmingham. This college ministry is not only on an evangelical, apologetic, or catechetical mission, but also on a mission of serving the students’ needs for a strong support group of fellow believers, and building the student up in the four pillars of formation: intellectual, pastoral, human, and spiritual. My time at St. Stephen’s has not only made me a better Catholic, but an altogether better person.
-Mark Moore II, Class of 2020
St. Stephen's is home to students from UAB, Samford, and Birmingham-Southern.
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