St. Mary's Catholic Campus Ministry

What's Happening at St. Mary's?

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A Letter from Father Denzil

Dear Friends,

As we celebrate Christ's triumph over sin and death, all of us here at St. Mary's Catholic Campus Ministry pray that you and all of your loved ones have a blessed, hope-filled and joyful Easter season.

Easter brings so many of God's promises to us- that life is stronger than death, love can overcome hate, goodness ultimately triumphs over evil and that eternity and glory with God in heaven is our destiny.

We thank God for the gift of His Son, whose light dispels the darkness in our lives.

I have been deeply touched this past Lenten season by our students' dedication to Christ and their Catholic faith shown by their prayerful attendance at devotions such as Night Prayer, Adoration, rosaries and Stations of the Cross, as well as daily Mass attendance and frequent Confession. Some highlights of Lent this year were our Seder Meal on April 8, the mission trip to the Holy Land during Spring Break and the Living Stations of the Cross presented by our students on Good Friday.

We are also blessed in that we have seven students who are coming into the Church through our RCIA program and six students who are receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation.

On April 23 at 7pm, we are having our first block party to celebrate Easter with our neighbors, the Yellow House Campus Ministry and Wesley Foundation and on April 26 we have our Senior send-off Mass and dinner. Our Choir will be having a concert at Sacred Heart Church in Nacogdoches on April 29 after the 5pm Mass and on April 30 at 3pm the Dancers of the Son present their Spring dance performance at SFA.

During this joyful season, and always, I pray that the love and peace of Jesus will fill our hearts, our homes and our families and that we may always embrace Him with love and gratitude.

God bless each and every one of you and your loved ones!

Peace, love and joy,

Fr. D

Letter From The Programs Director

Spring Semester is almost at an end but there is still a lot to do and a lot going on. We recently held our 3rd Annual Block Party and coordinated with the Yellow House Student Ministry and the Wesley Foundation to show our Christian fellowship to the Nacogdoches community. There was fun had by all and our ecumenical outreach touched so many lives and brought many into a community of authentic friendships and great fellowship before the students get into the swing of Dead Week and Finals Week.

St. Mary's also celebrated with our Graduating Seniors their accomplishments with a fine dinner prepared by our College Knights of Columbus. We have 10 students from St. Mary's graduating in May and August, all ready to use the spiritual tools and resources gained at St. Mary's in their post graduate lives. Our graduating seniors are David Jarzynka Jr., Alvaro Quintanilla, Haley Shelton, Jill Pickett, Kenechukwu Ekwemalor, Caty Delgado, Jesse Michalowski, Hannah Jackson, Genesis Bobadilla, and Brianna Clark.

Like I said, Spring 2017 is almost at its end and that means it's time again for Special Olympics. Annually our ministry sends 15+ students to help prepare over 15,000 meals for the athletes, coaches, and teams. The students will be returning to work closely with the Lufkin Knights of Columbus Council to provide a very generous act of service to those who inspire us each and every day.

It goes without saying but I feel the need to note that as a staff, we are proud of the vibrant activity of our students. The spirits of service, faith, love, and overall devotion to our ministry by our students is alive and well. Be sure to keep up with us on all things St. Mary’s – activities, programs, opportunities etc. by following us on Facebook and by visiting

God bless,

Austin B. Thurman

Programs Director

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From the desk of FOCUS

This past month of April has been a great blessing to many of our missionaries as well as disciples! Many men and women have been presented with the reality of Christ in the Eucharist which changes our world view completely!They have been re-invited into a growing relationship to keep Christ at the center of their upcoming summer as well as their main goal and desire the rest of their lives. It is the Eucharist, the living body of Christ that changes us and is the climax and summit of our faith that help us understand why what we do matters. These men and women giving of their lives is in itself a blessing, but the greater miracle can be seen when we see their desire to be Saints and their efforts to bring souls to Jesus.

-Herman Cornejo

News and Events

Couple Celebrates 30 Year Anniversary of Meeting in St. Mary's Ganter Hall

(Written with love by their 15-year-old daughter)

Eddie and Jennifer Ironsmith, alumni and local residents, celebrated their thirtieth anniversary of meeting each other on January 31, 2017 in Ganter Hall of St. Mary’s Catholic Student Center. The couple had met in the hall during a freshman mixer dance at the beginning of Jennifer’s second semester. While Jennifer was Catholic and had gone to the dance with Catholic friends, Eddie was Protestant at the time. Still to this day Jennifer does not know why he was there. “I like to say that he was trolling for Catholic chicks!” she says jokingly. He eventually asked her to dance, and before long they became fast friends. By the end of the semester Eddie was off to graduate school in Florida. He broke the news to Jennifer with an interesting tagline: “I love you! By the way, I’m moving to Florida!” Leaving a friend in shock, he traveled to Orlando and began his life in grad school. The next three years were filled with long distance phone bills, moves to Alabama for jobs/school, and wedding plans. Although neither lived in Nacogdoches, the upcoming nuptials were staged with St. Mary’s in mind. They returned to the place where they had met and had their wedding and reception there on June 23, 1990 under the ministry of Fr. Ron Groschen, where they danced again. “We were poor college kids who could barely afford the wedding,” Jennifer said, “so we promised Fr. Ron that we would always support St. Mary’s.” Every year on their anniversary, they still send a donation to the Catholic student center.

Alabama was home until the kids came along, then Nacogdoches took that title and another adventure began. Looking for a parish in which to educate their kids, they settled in at Sacred Heart, but they would frequent St. Mary’s on occasion. As the kids inherited their Catholic faith from Jennifer, so did their father. “Eddie had attended Mass with me for years and years, but he really took an interest when I started teaching the kids about the faith,” Jennifer says. After 20 years together, Eddie finally decided to become Catholic. Eddie jokes that they had a reserved pew for First Holy Communion three years in a row as Eddie and then each of the children came into full communion with the Catholic Church. Today finds them involved in various ministries including Teams of Our Lady, the Man Club, Totus Tuus, various liturgical ministries, and Eddie helping to begin the new Catholic radio station, KJXP-LP 100.9 FM, also known as Holy Name Radio.

Jennifer shares, “Whereas some people may see the buildings of St. Mary’s CCM as old and in need of replacement, we see history, our history. This is where we met, where we married, and where we still love to come to Mass and hang out. We know changes are coming, but we want the students to not look at St. Mary’s as some shiny new building. It’s so much more than that. It’s where hundreds of Catholic and non-Catholic students alike have mingled for well beyond our 30 years. There are many more stories just like ours that need to be told. We hope some of the alumni will share theirs as well. Even if you just send a picture and tell how St. Mary’s touched your life. The Holy Spirit has and will continue to use this blessed place to change lives and to give God glory.

What’s your story?”

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Please Welcome Our Catechumens to the Church

On Sunday April 23rd five catechumens babptized and confirmed and one young lady who got confirmed. Here they are listed below:

Ryan Cottingame

Victoria Pentecost

Ben Mitchell

Randy Huynh

Madison Hall

Lexi Davis

Please congratulate these amazing men and women as they walk through this journey of faith, here, at St. Mary's.

Creator God,
even before I was born,
you called me and named me.
Even before I understood,
you sought and summoned me.
All this time, you have been choosing me, Lord,
in secret and intimate ways.
Now, you call me to stand before you,
before your people,
to be elected by your Church,
to be chosen by you for the world to see.
Grant me the courage
to answer your call, loudly and clearly,
to give you my name
and so give you my life,
that I may receive the name of your Son,
Jesus Christ, and make each day of my new life in him
a public testimony to his holy name.

—Diana Macalintal, © 2008

Block Party Success!

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St. Mary's annual Block party leveled up this year, as the Wesley Foundation and the Yellow House Ministry partnered with St. Mary's to host the ultimate party on Wettermark st. With help from all ministries the party had a HUGE turnout of people eating, talking and just having fun. We hope to continue our collaboration with both ministries to make future events even more amazing.

Thank you to all the students who helped set up and put on this event and all of the organizations who sponsored games and food, and to the Yellow House for providing the location and amazing environment for this end of year party.

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Good Luck to Our Seniors

Please congratulate the wonderful students who are graduating this May and August. They have worked hard to make St. Mary's great with everything they have done these years here at SFA. Not only have they given their time, talents and money but also their passion that they are now passing on to future Catholic Jacks.

We wish them all a blessed future filled with amazing opportunities and achievements. They will be dearly missed as they leave our ministry but they are moving on to do bigger things and grow closer to Christ.

Father, I have knowledge, so will You show me now, how to use it wisely and find a way somehow to make the world I live in a little better place, and make life with its problems a little easier to face? Grant me Faith and Courage and put purpose in my days, and show me how to serve Thee in effective ways, so my education, my knowledge, and my skills may find their true fulfillment as I learn to do Thy will. May I ever be aware in everything I do; that knowledge comes from learning and wisdom comes from You.

Congratulations graduating seniors!

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Building Fund and How YOU Can Help

The phonathon was a huge success and raised $30,000 dollars towards the student center. We are so thankful for our wonderful alumni, community and parents for supporting us through monetary means and prayers. With your help we could have this done by next year!

Also if you are able, donate! We need your help to make the Catholic Church a second home for our students.

If you can think about giving each month, especially if you are graduating this semester!

Visit our website to donate!

Do you want your name on a piece of St. Mary's? Heres your chance! We have many oppurtunities to get a room of your choice named after you as you sponsor our mission leading others to Christ.

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Mass Times

Sunday: 11:00 AM, 1:00 PM, 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