TYLER – Patriot Catholic, the student organization of the John Paul the Great Catholic Campus Ministry at the University of Texas at Tyler, was recently named the Outstanding Student Organization of the Year by the university. The award recognizes the group’s “outstanding service to the student body” at UT Tyler.
Patriot Catholic members “work to promote Christ on campus and to offer fellowship to their peers,” said Father Justin Braun, chaplain of the John Paul the Great ministry. “They regularly have events like Monday Fundays, which is a fun social event following the praying of the rosary on campus. They’re on campus 2-3 hours a week doing outreach, which could be anything from having a prayer table or playing a sport and inviting fellow students or handing out water and prayers and inviting other students they encounter to be part of the ministry.”
Patriot Catholic was nominated for the award by Dr. Howard Patterson, vice president of student affairs.
“They were nominated for this award by the university and not by someone involved in the ministry,” said Father Braun. “So for it to come from someone on the outside is really great.”
The award comes as the Catholic campus ministry at UT Tyler is coming into its own.
Founded eight years ago with about 6-8 students as regular members, “we now regularly see 125-140 kids come through our doors during the week,” said Father Braun. “We reach more than that, certainly, but those are the ones we see regularly. They come to daily Mass, confession, adoration, and Sunday Mass.
“We’re really pleased with how it’s grown,” he said. “And next year will be the first year we’ll have a stable, cohesive team that’s worked together and knows how to work with each other. We’ve had a lot of personnel changes over the past three years, but we feel like we’re in a really good place now with a solid team. So we’re excited about the possibilities for next year.”
The ministry has a center, known as “The Blue House,” at 2603 Old Omen Road, only a block from campus. The ministry offers daily and weekly Mass, adoration, confessions, Christian Initiation classes, retreats, and other faith and formation opportunities.
For more information, call 903- 266-9110, or see the website.