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Campus Ministry

“We have Mary. What Else Do We Need?”

By Father Ted Cassidy, S.M.

Mary is at the very center of life at the University of Dayton. A UD student once said to me, “We have Mary. What else do we need?”  He grasped a gift at the core of our life here at UD.

A university has a soul, the raison-d'etre of its existence. Like all great institutions, it has a quality and authenticity that enables it to progress in abundant ways.

We can sense the genuineness of a person or an institution sometimes rather quickly and at other times after further experience. But we are able to fetter out what is authentic.

The church’s doctrine of Mary from Vatican Council II placed Mary at the center of the Church. Mary is the Mother of the Church. She is the Mother of Christ, Mother of God.

We can easily recognize the role of mother. How does this pertain to a university? It pertains because a mother’s role is to foster healthy growth in her children. Seeking to be what a mother would want for her children is authentic life.  We may not think of this reality very often but all aspects of university life seek to live this authenticity. 

Blessed Chaminade grasped that underneath, growth for humanity in equity and progress is what Mary represents.

It is true to say that Mary’s role is spiritual. The authentic is both freshly human and has a spirit. The various kinds of Marian art celebrated throughout our University vibrantly helps us connect with this authenticity and Mary’s role in helping us achieve our own authenticity.

Finding ways to help us put into virtuous action our authenticity is our work, and sometimes the work is challenging. But we can do this keeping in mind what the best part of a mother would tell us. This is simple and profoundly true.

Mary accepted her role as mother of Christ in a simple and deep faith. She encouraged her son to change water into abundant wine at the wedding of Cana. She suffered at and after his death and inspired the first Church after his resurrection.

This is her role. She did not stop being the mother of Christ. She continues to lead us to the life of God, of Christ, in us.

This role of Mary is the center of life at the University of Dayton. This is a precious charism that is our gift.

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