Vol.1, Iss.

1 • December 2005 University Catholic Center

Longhorn Catholic
A MESSAGE from the Director...

Ministry Team
Director Fr. Dave Farnum, CSP ext. 14, frdave@utcatholic.org Associate Director Fr. Ed Koharchik, CSP ext. 12, edcsp@utcatholic.org Pastoral Staff Fr. Bob Scott, CSP bscott@staustin.org Deacon John De La Garza, Jr. ext. 18, john@utcatholic.org Business Administrator Pat Martin ext. 11, pat@utcatholic.org Receptionist Beth Boren ext. 10, frontdesk@utcatholic.org Administrative Assistant Brandon Kraft kraft@utcatholic.org

Fr. Dave Farnum, CSP

† † † †

e lcome to the “new and improved” Catholic Center at The University of Texas in Austin! For those of you who haven’t been by the corner of 21st and University in a while, exciting changes have taken place. Three years ago we opened the doors to a new campus ministry facility equipped to serve the needs of Catholic UT students into the 21st Century. In the fall of 2004, I arrived as the new director (some of you will remember me from an earlier assignment as associate director from 1998-2001). What I encountered upon my return was exciting: A premiere secular university with an estimated 13,000 Catholic students on campus 4 spirit-filled Sunday masses attended by 1,300 students, faculty, staff and resident community (undergrads make up 80% of our attendance) 25 student leaders coordinating over a dozen different social, service and spiritual organizations A financially generous faith community, with room to grow in the area of cultivating student stewardship

What are today’s Catholic students like? Many come to the UCC from active youth programs in their parishes and dioceses. These young men and women are familiar with youth retreats, service projects and frequent Mass attendance. Other students have very little faith formation and participation in parish life. They are seekers who are looking for answers, meaningful relationships, and a life purpose. Today’s UT students are smart and at the top of their game academically. As a campus minister at a large state university, I want to make sure that a graduating senior leaves UT not only with an excellent academic degree, but with a mature and strong Catholic Christian identity. The future is bright at the University Catholic Center! In the months ahead, you will hear more about how the Holy Spirit is energizing the students, the prayer and UCC activities. In the meantime, drop me a note or email (frdave@utcatholic.org) and let me know what’s going on in your life. If it’s been a while since you’ve visited The University of Texas, stop by the corner of 21st and University, your spiritual home here in Austin, introduce yourself, and discover the new and improved UCC!

Mass Schedule
Sunday Mass 9AM 11:30AM, 5PM & 8PM Daily Mass Mon, Wed, Fri: 12:05PM Tues, Thurs: 12:30PM

Longhorn Catholic

† Long-time resident community member Kathy Hackett coordinates UCC students to lead Communion services for the residents of the Austin State School for mentally handicapped people each Sunday (see article on pg. 5). Co-Coordinators Lauren Morton and Christina Castro will lead Longhorn Awakening #40, a retreat held every semester with personal discussions, prayer, spiritual activities, faith sharing, and community building (see article on pg. 3). Michael Raia leads Before the Throne, the UCC Praise and Worship music group composed of a 10-student band. They create bi-weekly services at the UCC as well as events throughout the state. Adam Schons is head chef of Carbos for Christ – a weekly luncheon following the Wednesday noon Mass, cooked by students. This meal regularly attracts 70 hungry students allowing for great fellowship. David Bierschenk stewards Catholic Longhorns for Life – a pro-life advocacy student group which raises funds, awareness and the level of discussion related to life issues from conception to natural death. Lauren Morton heads up the Catholic Student Association – the officially recognized Catholic student organization at the University of Texas. This group sponsors spiritual, social and service activities for the UCC community. Vanessa Mena leads Compass – a student-led bible study and catechism reflection group which meets weekly.


The University Catholic Center is a faith community serving students, faculty, and staff of the University of Texas at Austin. At the heart of this community is an assembly of over 25 student leaders who form the Student Leadership Group. Here’s a snapshot of these good people and their ministries:


Jeffrey Jose, Norson Fernandez and Rachel Sanchez lead Couples for Christ Youth – a Filipino student group meeting weekly for fellowship and spiritual development. Brandon Kraft is the president of Lambda Omega Alpha – the Catholic fraternity focused on service, social and spiritual activities for undergraduate Catholic men. More than 50 UT students are active in this organization that just celebrated its 15th anniversary. Alison Lawrence and Matt Stehling coordinate the Arteaga Mission Trip – an alternative Spring break mission trip to Mexico to serve the poor and grow in faith. Approximately 35 students participate each spring. In addition, Brandon Kraft leads a summer mission trip to an Indian reservation in Bapchule, Arizona along with Catholic students from the University of Notre Dame in South Bend. Laura Shrader is the president of Mu Epsilon Theta – a Catholic sorority focused on service, social and spiritual activities for undergraduate Catholic women at UT. More than 100 female students participate in this vibrant organization.

Jenn Svetlik, along with long-time resident community member Jim Harrington, coordinates the Social Justice Team – this group is responsible for the UCC study, advocacy, and service projects in the Austin area putting Catholic spirituality into action. Cathy Bundy is the president of STRONG (Sharing The Rewards Of kNowing God). This UCC student group leads high school retreat programs for parishes throughout the Diocese of Austin. Adam Bossy heads up Communications – a group of students who create, update, and maintain the UCC website and other communications materials used to evangelize the community of faith. Nate Erickson, Claudia Torres and Hyun Gu Kang shepherd University Graduates and Professionals (UGAP) – this graduate student and young business professionals group meets weekly for faith sharing, social activities, and service projects. Mary Phan and Linda Pham convene the Vietnamese Student Group which meets weekly for fellowship and spiritual development.

University Catholic Center


December 2005



For the 39th time, 63 retreatants gathered in Jarrell, Texas to deepen their faith and build up the Body of Christ. Coordinated by UCC students Michaela Palmieri and George Malinoff, 110 staffers helped the retreatants explore the theme, “Called to Serve.” Many of the students who attended the retreat were freshmen, getting their introduction to the UCC faith community by meeting spirit-filled Catholic students. The power of this kind of retreat is its emphasis on peer-to-peer ministry. Paulist Fathers Dave Farnum and Ed Koharchik were on site throughout the weekend to offer spiritual support and to celebrate the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist. Awakening is the highlight of the semester for students at the University Catholic Center. From this weekend, students return to Austin energized to join other UCC service and spiritual organizations such as Mu Epsilon Theta (the Catholic sorority), Lambda Omega Alpha (the Catholic fraternity), and STRONG (the retreat team that goes out to area parishes to lead youth retreats).

Are you a Longhorn Awakening alumni? Let Father Dave know of your experiences by sending him an email at frdave@utcatholic.org. We’ll publish some of your memories in future editions of LONGHORN CATHOLIC.

Stewardship Corner

$6,000 $5,581 $5,000 $4,355 $4,364 $4,000 $3,000 $2,743 $2,000 $1,000 $0 $3,193 $3,523 $3,723

...offering gifts of time, talent & treasure

A new way of giving has been introduced to University Catholic Center benefactors. ParishPay allows alumni, parents, students, resident community members, and friends of the University Catholic Center to quickly, easily, and safely contribute regularly to the Catholic ministry for students at The University of Texas. Through ParishPay, gifts can be automatically debited from checking or savings accounts and credit cards. Gifts are processed on the 5th of every month. In the few short months since the UCC joined the ParishPay program, more than 68 individuals have taken advantage of this offering program and contribute more than $72,000 per year. Could you give $20 per month to support the ministry? Please consider making the UCC part of your stewardship plan. Sign up at www.parishpay.com or call 866-Parish-1.








University Catholic Center


December 2005

Longhorn Catholic

Rachel Herrera graduated from UT with a Bachelor’s degree in Latin American Studies. She just began her two-year commitment as a missionary at the Finca del Niño orphanage in Honduras with Children of the Farm. While a member of the University Catholic Center, she was active with Longhorn Awakening and the Social Justice Committee. Before Rachel left for Honduras, she remained active at the UCC while working for Posada Esperanza, a shelter for immigrant women and children. Listen to Rachel’s first impressions as a foreign missionary
Rachel and her parents, just before her departure

Rachel Herrera


in her own words...

monday, 19 september 2005

Only 7 more days until we leave for Honduras...the timeline for Finca volunteers includes 2 months of language school in Guatemala prior to arrival then job training for the months of October and November.

sunday, 23 october 2005

This past week we had a good scare with Hurricane Wilma. As the hurricane hit a level 5, the army sent in huge tarp-covered trucks to evacuate the Finca and the surrounding areas. We spent two days at the local convent in Trujillo. Imagine an entire orphanage, plus Finca neighbors crammed into three rooms. Upon our return to the orphanage almost every member of our house was promptly attacked by head lice that multiplied at rates worthy of making it to the Guinness Book of World Records. In my three short weeks here I have experienced quite a bit: we found a pig and dubbed him the Finca mascot, exploded an oven, went crab chasing on the soccer field, made crab stew, battled hurricanes, and head lice...and I have met some of the most awesome kids in my entire life. Each day begins promptly at 5:45 with a prayer service and a chance to enjoy the most refreshing moment of the day...My first two weeks here were filled with meetings, orientations, and training sessions. So, even though I’ve been here several weeks, for the first time I finally feel like I’m actually HERE.

Through it all, the kids have been the source of keeping my spirits high and offering kind smiles each time I see them...which is constantly. This place is basically a huge family made up of volunteers, house parents, kids, support staff, and three religious sisters; we live, eat, play, cry, learn, pray, laugh, and grow together. I realized very quickly that each of us are just a brief moment in these kids’ lives and the only real consistency they will ever know as family is one another. I received my position; Auxilio Comunal, which literally translates to Community Aid, but encompasses a bit more. I felt that community outreach should be more than just the orphanage as an institution or individual volunteers building and maintaining relationships with the surrounding communities...On Wednesday afternoons I work with two other girls heading up a local girls group, kind of like a girl scouts program; I also run the food bodega/store for the local communities; and I serve as a tutor on an as-needed basis... We are slowly learning about each of the children and how they came to end up at the Finca. The human spirit and what it can endure never ceases to amaze me... Muchisimo paz,

Rachel (Raquelita)

University Catholic Center


December 2005

Each Sunday, more than 25 students meet at the University Catholic Center under the guidance of longtime UCC resident community member, Kathy Hackett, to drive to the Austin State School. The Austin State School is a residential facility serving individuals with mental retardation and other developmental disabilities. The UT student ministers escort the residents to the chapel for a Sunday communion service. The residents of the Austin State School are typically severely mentally challenged adults who would have no other access to Catholic worship. The UT students sit with the residents on an individual basis and sing, pray and follow the service. Not only are these UT students providing an opportunity for Catholic worship, but they are also allowing the residents of the Austin State School

This is a meaningful experience of interaction the Austin State School residents would not otherwise receive.

a unique chance to communicate with typical college students. This is a meaningful experience of interaction they would not otherwise receive. The residents of the school in turn offer a unique experience to UT students. The college students have a chance to see God’s love shining through the lives of these residents. Our archives reveal that the spiritual relationship between the University Catholic community and Austin State School goes back to 1943 and possibly earlier. During the month of December, Kathy and our student volunteers will be distributing over 150 Christmas presents from the UCC community to the Austin State School residents.

Each Sunday, UCC students attend mass with Austin State School residents—this relationship between the two dates back to 1943.

University Catholic Center


December 2005

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