St. Mary's Catholic Campus Ministry

June 2017 Newsletter

A letter from Father Denzil

My dear friends in Christ,

The summer break seems to be flying by and before we know it, we will be beginning another fall semester at SFA and SMCCM. I hope and pray that this summer there will be lots of family get-togethers, reunions, relaxation and even time to catch up on certain things.

Such is the case here at SMCCM. Many of the students have gone home- some are working, some doing studies or engaging in different apostolates and experiences. Some may just be spending time with their families and friends. But as we take a rest from studies and all the activities of the school year, even our summer break can become routine if we let it. Anything can feel mundane after a while.

I remember at the airport I once met a professional baseball player and I commented to him:

“I'm sure you are excited about your achievement and the work you are doing. Your life seems exciting.” He replied: “ Oh, no, Father, you have no idea! I have to travel all the time, stay in hotels, eating out and away from my family. People just think it is exciting.”

The point is, even things that are exciting in the beginning can become routine- it can happen to all of us. Even in my life as a priest for the last 24 years, as I have taken on many apostolates and responsibilities and as I finish my second year at St. Mary's and begin my third year, I do not want it to become “routine”.

During the summer, we have to be careful and not allow sloth to enter. We should not take things for granted, but remember what God has done in our lives. We need to stir up joy in our hearts and thank God for His faithfulness- to have an attitude of gratitude in order to pave the way for a life of blessing.

I, myself, am very grateful for all of our wonderful students, staff and benefactors. In particular, I want to thank Kim Briggs, who contributed to our ministry for nine years and is taking a break to pursue her goals. Since Kim's leaving has left an opening, I am making a few changes in our Ministry Team. Austin Thurman, the outgoing Program Director, will be replacing Kim as the Executive Assistant. We welcome a new Campus Minister, Samantha Allen, a 2013 graduate, to bring new life to our ministry. I also welcome a new FOCUS Team Director, Megan Callaghan, who will be assisted by four missionaries; Herman and Amanda are returning as FOCUS missionaries and we have two new missionaries, Peter and Shannon. Peter and Shannon will enter into the sacrament of Holy Matrimony in September. I also welcome a new Media Intern, Michaela Mencacci. I thank our outgoing intern, Abbie Vinci, for all of her enthusiasm, creativity and work.

I am grateful for our Director of Development and Operations, Michael Molina, who was excited to learn that our dream of building a new student center is becoming a reality. Michael and I are both beginning our third year at SMCCM. Expect new details from his office soon about the building program.

Liturgy is a very vibrant component of our ministry. I thank Mrs. Linda Parr, music director, for her able assistance in creating new leaders and truly making the liturgy here at St. Mary's an experience which is a foretaste of the heavenly liturgy.

I also wish to thank Deacon David Darby, his wife, Teresa, and our faithful spiritual directors, Aloma Marquis, Ann Menz , Jan Kupec and Dr. Dennis Gravatt for being such a great help and strength in allowing many students to deepen their spiritual life and grow in holiness.

I ask you to please keep all of us in your prayers as our team will be doing a day of recollection with Father Gus at Wellspring before the beginning of the Fall Semester.

So as we continue with our summer break, let us not be slothful, but continue our mission of deepening our relationship with Jesus and bringing Him to others- being a reflection of Him to everyone we meet.

“Let us not grow tired of doing good, for in due time we shall reap our harvest, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)

May God bless you all abundantly, now and always!

Fr. D

A letter from the Program Director

Summer is underway and yes we’ve lost the bulk of our students to summer break but there is still some fun work to be done. Over the past couple of weeks, we Catholic Jacks have been out there reaching out to the incoming students; freshman and transfers, to bring them closer to Christ and into the St. Mary’s family. We already have over 30 students to contact, and that number is going to awesomely grow by the end of July. We look forward to seeing all the new faces around St. Mary’s when school starts August 28th, as well as all the returning students so we can hit the ground rolling and get back into the full beauty of glorifying Christ together as one body.

If you are in town over the break we would love to have some help with some liturgical aid. We need people to help usher, lector, altar serve, and the occasional backup singer for the choir. We would greatly appreciate your help in making the celebration of the Mass as beautiful as possible.

A little message to our leaders both new and returning, be sure you’ve registered and have your calendars marked for the leadership retreat August 23rd – 24th. We’ll be having it at St. Mary’s so RSVP if you haven’t done so already. You can find the link to register on St. Mary’s Facebook page or this URL:

Thanks everyone and God Bless,

Austin B. Thurman

Meet the New Campus Minister

Hello Catholic Jacks!

My name is Samantha Allen, and I am your new

Campus Minister. I am so honored to have the opportunity to serve you all here at St. Mary’s. I look forward to walking with you on this journey with our Lord, and to help spread the work of the Holy Spirit on the SFA campus.

I graduated from SFA in 2013 with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting, and I have been serving as a volunteer youth minister for the past 8 years at my local parish in Lufkin, Texas. My husband, Zach and I both love growing in faith with those around us through our everyday work, and helping others encounter the love of Christ in the simplicity of our daily lives. In my days off I like spending time outside, cooking and running with my husband, and enjoying life with family.

Thank you again for the opportunity to give my service to St. Mary’s Catholic Campus Ministry. May we continue to pray for each other and the lives we will meet and serve today.

Together in Christ, may we shine for the kingdom!

With love,


Meet the media intern

Hello St. Mary’s Catholic Campus Ministry!

My name is Michaela Mencacci, and I am your new Media Intern! I am a senior here at SFA and most of my time goes into earning my degree in Mass Communications, playing on the university soccer team and working on my new job here as the Media Intern. In my off time I enjoy taking walks along nature trails, watching shows and movies on Netflix and hanging out with friends.

I am so excited and honored to serve the church and to keep everyone updated on all things media. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and YouTube to get the latest news, events, photos and videos.

St. Mary’s Catholic Campus Ministry has become very dear to my heart and I hope to represent it as well as I can! Please contact me at if you have any requests for social media postings, or for the monthly newsletter.

Thank you and have a blessed day!

Dancers of the Son

My name is Marissa LeJeune and I'm the new Director of DOTS! I have been a member of DOTS for 5 semesters and this fall I'll be beginning my 6th semester. Katherine Janusa was the previous director of DOTS and was one of the founding members. This year will be the first year of DOTS without a founding member so I feel like I am walking into new territory. I was honored when Katherine asked me to be the next director of DOTS and that she assured me that I can always call her when I need advice. I am not alone in leading the future team. I have an awesome officer team that gets along very well so I excited to announce everything we will have planned.

Some ideas I have for the upcoming semester revolve around a "Friends in Christ" theme. This will tie into the dances that I'm choreographing, the team socials and spirituals that we will do, and even in ways that I want to expand the team. I'd like to expand team membership to non-dancers to help with stage management and also get more members for our sub-group Dancers of the Fun. More details all of these to come! We'll be tabling at the involvement fair and having an interest meeting before auditions (TBD).

Our officers are:
Director - Marissa LeJeune
Assistant Director - Alyssa Brazell
Social/Spiritual Director - Mackenzie Gram
Marketing Director - Syd Pimentel

Kappa Upsilon Sigma

Kappa Upsilon Sigma is a Christian sorority at SFA, and is in fact the only Catholic sorority on campus. We are a service sorority, based out of St. Mary's Catholic Campus Ministry, which is just across the street from SFA's Wisely building.

Every semester, each member of our sorority has to attain 12 hours of service work. We do several activities with the Catholic Ministry, such as participating in mass or helping out with pro-life donations. Aside from that, we make it a priority to strengthen our friendships and faith, all while furthering our education!

Our semester dues are only $55 for active members, and $85 for pledges. The pledge period is a chance for young women who are interested in furthering their faith, studies, and helping the SFA community. To ask questions or learn more about this sorority, please contact Esme Garcia at 915-588-0234, by email at, or check out our website at .

Please welcome our new team:

Esme Garcia as President,

Caroline Ward as Vice President,

Jackie Tucson as Secretary,

Lauren Broussard as Parliamentarian,

Dorothy Alcala as Historian &

Patricia Sustaita as Treasurer

Knights of Columbus

July brings many changes for the Knights of Columbus. July marks the beginning of the new fraternal year, and with it, the transition of officers from old to new. In April, council 10790 bestowed upon me a great honor, they voted me the Grand Knight for the 2017-2018 fraternal year. I am looking forward to serving these men and this ministry in the coming year. Congratulations to the new officers and thank you for your service to those outgoing officers.

This month, several of the men in this council will be participating in the ministry’s Theology on Tap program. Theology on tap is a way for us to evangelize our faith to those around us. We do so by going to a bar and starting a discussion about our faith with the goal of bringing those around us into the conversation. The theme this summer is the seven deadly sins.

Vivat Jesus,

Nathan McGuire

GK Council 10790

Catholic Daughters of the Americas

I hope everyone has been having a wonderful break or summer! I, Cecilia Martinez, have the Honor to be the Catholic Daughters of the Americas president for Fall of 2017. The Officers and I are really excited for what God has in store for us and the students. We can't wait to reunite in Nacogdoches and lead the lovely ladies in our organization, as well as welcoming new members.

We wish everyone a great day, thank you.

From the Desk of FOCUS

Though campus may be quieter during the summer months, our lives as missionaries are as exciting and busy as ever. We are currently in Ave Maria, FL along with 600+ other missionaries being formed to live out Jesus' mission to "make disciples of all nations!"

During this time, we have spent lots of time in mass and prayer, being renewed on a retreat, tackling classes with Curtis Martin, Dr. Edward Sri, and Dr. Scott Hahn, and enjoying fellowship with missionaries. The Lord is working and molding our hearts to better love and serve St. Mary's and the greater SFA community. Next we will spend the rest of July and August fundraising our support in order to head to campus.

The missionaries and I are eager to be back at Stephen F. Austin to serve our students this year so we ask for your continued prayers that the Lord may work great wonders in our hearts and those of all in Nac!

We welcome back Amanda Graves and Herman Cornejo to them team and welcome our newcomers Peter Reimer and Shannon Biwer!

Yours In Christ,

Megan Callaghan

Team Director at SFA

Let's welcome our new FOCUS Team : Amanda, Megan, Peter, Shannon and Herman!

it's orientation season!

We were so honored and excited to be able to meet and greet the new faces of SFA this month at the freshman orientations. We got to speak to many future SFA students and parents about our very special home here at St. Mary's.

There are more orientations in July and we can't wait to meet the new Jacks! With the help of the ministry, Father Denzil and the work of the Lord, the 2017-2018 school year will be one to remember!

Update - New Student Center

We are very excited that Bishop Joseph Strickland has signed the contract for Cordova Construction to build the new Catholic Student Center at SFA! We want to thank the generous donors and foundations that have have contributed to this project. Please pray that others will join us, as we continue to raise funds for the beginning of construction, expected to begin January of 2018. All glory and praise to God through whom all blessings flow!

For questions on how to make a pledge or donation towards the new student center please contact Michael Molina at or (936) 585-8502.

Thank you!

The Harvester

The Harvester is NEW to St.Mary's monthly newsletter and is dedicated to sharing informational and testimonial articles, written by our very own students and staff members.
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The Healthy Trinity

An article about how health intertwines with the Holy Trinity and the journey of faith.

Written By: Michaela Mencacci

As a student athlete at SFA and a child of God who is working to become a saint in the kingdom of Heaven, I have to stay fit: physically, mentally and spiritually. Just like the holy trinity, I believe that the mind, body and spirit are connected in the same way. God created our minds in which he uses as vessels of communication, Jesus gave his body to grant us eternal life, and the Holy Spirit always dwells in our souls. To effectively be fully open to the way, the truth and the life, we need to keep our minds, bodies and souls fit and clean so that we can become the people God created us to be.

Most of us know how to exercise the body and the mind - with extensive training. We have spent years in school to improve our scholarly thinking, and with the use of the internet we could all find answers on how we could stay physically fit. So how do we train the soul? The answer lies within each of us. Me? I'm just now finding my personal workout routine, and it works out all three: mind, body and soul.

I could define my whole workout in one word... Cleansing

Recently I have been given the challenge to stay away from a select group of foods for six months. Due to certain health issues that could become more of a problem for my future self, my doctor recommended that I take a food sensitivity test.

My results came back a little daunting…

Some of the ingredients and foods I have to cut from my diet are:

High Fructose Corn Syrup, Cane Sugar, Random food colorings, Soy, Wheat, Rye, Barley, and Yellow Squash.

I've lost the privilege of being able to eat anything I want, whenever I want. I now have to plan, prepare and clean every time I need to eat. This gave me and my college-wired brain a huge shock. For the first time in my life I have consistently been checking nutrition facts in everything that I eat, which has been an enlightening experience to say the least.

What I have noticed from my first two weeks of staying away from all processed foods is that I have had more energy, have not gotten any stomach aches, headaches, or migraines, felt more productive, lost a few stubborn pounds and have felt all-around better. This new found natural way of living has boosted my happiness, which shows from the inside out. I have had less anxiety, less anger and a lot more peace. Peace of mind, body and soul.

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Sugar is something that has always been a part of my life. It was like a drug, of sorts; addicting and pleasing to taste. I am now learning to walk on my own without using the crutch that sugar gave me. Almost everything I ate had sugar in it, and although it will be hard to eliminate in my diet, I believe that God will fill the empty spaces where sugar resided with the graces that were always meant to be there. If we take out the bad things in our lives, it will leave room for the Lord to work through us.

Most of us live a very fast-paced lifestyle, working hard today so we can have a better tomorrow. This same way of living could also be used to grow stronger in your mind, body, and your relationship with God.

To achieve this I have been journaling a lot more, reading the Bible and going to confession regularly. In doing this, I have been cleansing both my mind and soul of worldly thoughts and feelings. These exercises have helped free myself of a lot of extra weight that have been building up for years. With the help of my new routine, I have been shedding the intoxicating pounds of self-abasement and it has been truly liberating. My self-love has grown and has encouraged my acceptance of Christ’s pure love for me, and for the whole world.

Our body is a temple that has it’s fair share of upkeep. I have found a workout routine that works for me in a way that I never expected. It may seem simple, but it is effective. Here are some steps to help find your own personalized routine:

  1. Pray and meditate on things you could eliminate so God’s graces can better flow through you.
  2. Create your workout routine that inspires growth within mind, body and soul.
  3. Put plan into action!
  4. Stay true to your routine. If you fail, it’s okay! Pray to God about your tendencies and temptations and He will help them fade away.

It only takes a week or two of inactivity for you to become out of shape. Just as it is difficult to keep the body fit, so is keeping up with the mind and soul. But with the help of the Holy Trinity, anyone can do it!

Wishing you all many blessings and good luck to everyone on their road to fitness!

Thanks for reading,


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Summer Mass & Adoration Times


Sunday: 11:00 AM, 6:00 PM

Monday: 5:05 PM

Tuesday: 5:05 PM

Wednesday: 5:05 PM

Thursday: 5:05 PM

Friday: 5:05 PM

Saturday: 9:00 AM


Wednesday: 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM

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