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Divine intervention at freshman orientation

Maria Crookston

Maria Crookston - Class of 2010

I remember the first Mass of Walsh's new Our Lady of Perpetual Help Chapel in 2006. There were so many priests there from local churches. It was pretty big deal for the school because Masses had previously been held in the David Center Atrium. I was an altar server for the Mass that day. I remember Monsignor Lew Gaetano repeatedly warning all of the servers not to spill the oil because it would stain the brand new altar. Luckily, I did not spill any! It was really cool to see the first official Mass in the building in which I was to spend much of my time and that would so profoundly affect my future.

I was lucky enough to have this opportunity because Miguel Chavez, director of campus ministry, asked me to be an altar serving during my freshman orientation. While I was walking around, a little disoriented, I saw Miguel waving me over to his booth. I'm so glad I went to talk to him because little did I know, this would inaugurate a career-changing passion for Campus Ministry. We got to talking and he suggested that I become an altar server, which landed me the oil-watching job at the first Mass. As my time at Walsh progressed, I became involved as a Eucharistic minister, head sacristan, and Agape retreat leader to name a few ways I was involved with Campus Ministry and the Chaplaincy.

Although it was easy for me to get involved in extra-curricular activities at Walsh, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with my life. At first, I thought I wanted to become a high school science teacher; therefore, I double-majored in Education and Biology. However, I was becoming more influenced by and involved in Campus Ministry. Miguel was and still is my mentor, as both a professor and Campus Minister. In his class, Jesus the Liberator, I realized that I wanted to focus on theology, which led me to add another major. I graduated last year with a triple major in education, biology, and theology, with a minor in philosophy!

My religious involvement with Walsh has completely changed my life. I currently study at the University of Dayton for my M.A. in Pastoral Ministry and work as a graduate assistant for the Religious Studies department. I want to become a campus minister with an emphasis on retreats and service. Hopefully, I can teach some theology classes as well! Walsh has given me so much and I would love to give it back to the Walsh community.