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Thursday, September 2, 2021

Hope on Campus


By Katherine O’Brien, MA CCPS

Founder, Celtic College Consultants


There’s no denying that many of our young people are abandoning Christianity in their teen years, the vast majority opting out of it without ever getting to know Christ or His bride, the Church. In fact, it’s the number one prayer request of parents – they cry out for their children to return to the faith.


While things may look bleak, there is hope. This is guaranteed because, in God, there is ALWAYS hope! Nonetheless, it is encouraging to be able to glimpse actual glimmers of hope. They exist! And they are not as rare as you might think.


Into the wasteland of higher education, a veritable army of young people boldly stride, working in teams, doing various tasks, moving forward, always forward into the masses of students on campus, inviting them to encounter Christ and His Church, and to give themselves fully to God. These bold young people have made beachheads on hundreds of campuses all over the US and the world.


Catholic run colleges, for the most part, have a Catholic history of faith and sacrifice upon which heresy and political correctness have been built, rather than truth, right reason, and critical thinking. Nonetheless, there are some Catholic run colleges which have clung to the Cross of Christ and continue to share the Catholic faith through their courses, student life policies, and campus ministry activities. Often called “Newman Guide schools” these colleges and universities offer an array of immersive Catholic environments for students. These schools are a beachhead amongst Catholic run colleges. They are listed and some information about  them can be found online at


Additionally, there are beachheads at over 300 private and public colleges and universities in the US and abroad as well. Ranging from the strong small groups at Ohio State to schools with Catholic dorms and top Newman Centers (Catholic parishes on non-Catholic campuses) like Texas A&M and Bowling Green State Universities to Arizona State and Northwestern Universities, whose Newman Centers offer courses students can take in addition to or to fulfill humanities requirements.


There are programs like Christendom Colleges’ Christendom@ program, too. Newman centers gather groups of students and accompany them through online courses offered by Christendom College, a small Newman recommended, faithfully Catholic college in Virginia. In addition to learning the faith, by studying together at their Newman Center, these students develop deep relationships with one another as fellow well-educated Catholics. Christendom College works with their home universities to create agreements so the courses will fulfill some of their degree requirements. Courses through the Christendom@ program can be taken by any college student.


There are hidden gems all over the country like the Platteville campus of the University of Wisconsin, located in southwestern Wisconsin’s farm country. St. Augustine’s offers the Latin Mass numerous times each week and has had almost ten men enter the seminary upon graduation from UW in the past few years. There are numerous Bible studies, retreats, and activities at. St. Augustine’s, too.


The University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University students are blessed to be served by an Oratory of St. Philip Neri which offers fantastic opportunities for growth in the faith, from numerous daily Masses, ample confession times, perpetual adoration, rich and robust retreats, numerous courses and Bible studies, outreach to Eastern as well as Roman Catholics, and an abundance of spiritual direction opportunities whereby students are challenged to grow as mature, faith-filled Catholics serious about growing in holiness.


FOCUS missionaries on campuses (even online!) all over the country take the net out to the deep, inviting students into relationships and small groups, opportunities to encounter Christ and be discipled, trained as His followers. Working with the Newman Center staff on campus, these missionaries bring students into the various ministries and establish Catholic communities on campus which enrich their members as well as serve as opportunities for them to invite their friends to join and see what Christ is all about, learning more before trying to participate in the oftentimes foreign language of liturgy.


The Thomistic Institute, an academic institute of the Dominican House of Studies in Washington DC, promotes Catholic truth in our world by strengthening the intellectual formation of Christians at universities and elsewhere. They have chapters on more than fifty college campuses. These student run groups bring top-notch, faith-filled intellectuals to speak on their campus, addressing the hot topics of today. They also create events and programs  including lectures, reading groups, and multi-speaker conferences built on the Catholic intellectual tradition. More information can be found online at


In order to make it easier for Catholic families to find colleges with strong Catholic communities on campus, Katherine O’Brien, MA, a certified college planning specialist and the  founder of Celtic College Consultants (, which helps students prepare for, select, successfully apply to, and afford college,  has created a complete college guide. Not only listing all the colleges with strong Catholic communities on campus, the guide includes detailed admissions, costs, aid, campus ministry, and academic information for each college and university. It also includes an extensive index  so students can search for schools that offer the major(s) they are considering and one so they can search the colleges by state. There is also a list of non-US colleges and universities with strong Catholic communities on campus that teach in English. The 2022 edition of this invaluable resource is available in print and kindle editions through here:

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