Why I Love Music Ministry And Why That Matters

Why I Love Music Ministry And Why That Matters

There is something special about friendships founded on more than each other.

There is a strange tendency in today’s world to treat religion as either taboo or a total joke; for much of my life, I have been the lone ‘church enthusiast’ of my friend group. I’m not here to argue over the problems of the Catholic Church or justify my reasons for my faith—that’s a conversation for another day.

I am here to talk about my own experience with music ministry in college and how it has changed my life for the better.

I am a proud member of the Villanova Pastoral Musicians: the music ministry group responsible for weekly masses as well as various other ministry-related events on campus. I’ve been a part of this group since the very beginning of my college years — it was the first group I joined — and I am so lucky to have found it so soon.

I’ve previously written articles that discuss my passion for getting involved: I believe that joining extracurriculars on campus is a vital piece of the college experience. While that was my main reason for joining pastorals in the first place, this group has proven to be so much more than an opportunity to make friends and gain leadership experience for me.

I went to public school for most of my life — aside from four formative years in high school, of course — and while I have a family of churchgoers, my personal faith journey wasn't something I really thought about. I was what I like to call a lazy Catholic: I attended church, I checked off all the right boxes in my theology classes, I understood the ‘gist’ of my faith (if you can even HAVE a ‘gist’ of an entire faith dogma; but I digress), but I didn’t challenge myself to actively build, explore, and understand my own belief system.

Cue my entrance into Pastorals.

I signed up for Pastorals’ week-long pre-Orientation program—called Caritas—with the intention of getting to know the campus early and maybe make a few friends to ease my transition into college (the purpose of Caritas is to integrate new freshmen into the group while learning music to perform at the school year’s opening mass). I wasn’t sure what to expect; I figured if I didn’t like it I could easily quit.

I was in no way, shape, or form prepared to be moved by the experience.

Never before had I been around so many deeply faithful, truly spiritual young adults in my life. It was inspiring. For the first time in my life, I witnessed young people participating in mass because they wanted to, not because they felt they had to. When they prayed, you could almost feel it. The music we produced wasn’t just beautiful; it was powerful. Mass took on an entirely new meaning for me.

I had never felt as close to God as I did in that first week.

The beauty of Pastorals didn’t just end at the mass, either; the people involved in this group live their faith every day. They believe in service, in loving one another, in forgiveness. I have made some of the best friends of my life through this group, and I truly believe that that is a direct result of God’s presence and effect on them. I’ve never had to question their place in my life or my place in theirs.

There is a unique beauty found in friendships founded on something greater than each other.

Between the beautiful music and the promise of faith-founded companionship, Pastorals quickly became my home-away-from-home. There is one story from my own experience that encapsulates the beauty of campus ministry—specifically Pastorals—more than any of my words possibly could, and that is why I have chosen to close out this article with it:

Villanova has a tradition within the orientation mass to invite the parents to lay their hands on their child and say a blessing over them as a way to signify the start of their college journey. My parents, unfortunately, could not attend the mass as they were moving my sister into her apartment half a state away. When the time came for the freshmen members of pastorals to step down from the choir and join their families for the blessing, I simply stayed put and didn’t say anything.

To this day I’m not sure who noticed first or started first, but within seconds approximately 30 pairs of hands descended on me, acting as my stand-in family members and giving me my very own Pastorals-esque welcome into the Villanova community.

I felt truly blessed, indeed.

Cover Image Credit: Villanova Pastoral Musicians

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The Husband I'm Praying For

My future husband should be a mirror of the Lord.

Growing up, we have all probably wondered about the man we will marry — what he looks like, what his voice sounds like, what color his eyes are, etc. We have all watched Disney's fairy tale movies like "Cinderella," "The Little Mermaid" and "Sleeping Beauty." The love stories that Disney creates can be merely fiction. Knowing this leads many people to believe that kind of love does not exist. As a kid, I always wanted to be Ariel and find my Prince Eric. The older I got, I realized that that kind of man does not exist without God. The Disney love story only exists through God. God writes a love story that we can not imagine. That is why we should be confident in His will for our lives. We should be confident in the love story God is writing for us.

I woke up this morning thinking about relationships and how hard it is to be in one at the age of 20. I'm not looking for a husband or a significant other right now, but I am praying for that special someone that God has planned for my life. Whether God places this special man in my life next week or in 20 years, I am going to be praying for him. I pray for the man that seeks God and His guidance. I just can't imagine being with someone who doesn't love God as much as I do. Honestly, I've decided that from this point on, I am going to let God guide my footsteps. I refuse to worry about all that is wrong with me when I should just be praying for the man God has in store for me.

Girls my age have been blinded to what a good boyfriend is and what a potential husband really looks like. I pray for the man who prays before each meal and thanks God for his simple blessings. I don't want to end up settling for less-I know what I deserve and I know that God has a plan. The husband I pray for is the man I want my daughters looking up to and being proud to have as a father. I want my children to know that their father loves Jesus and is not ashamed of it. A man who is ashamed of Jesus or only loves Jesus on Sundays is not husband material. I want my husband to be the man people associate Jesus with.

I pray that my husband is humble. I pray that my husband makes strangers feel his loving presence and know that Jesus is present in his life. I pray that my husband wants the same things I do, like 15 children — just kidding. But, I do pray that he has a sense of humor and that he understands my need for laughter and sunshine in my life. I pray that my husband seeks Jesus during hard times and understands when the answer to his prayers are no. I hope my husband understands that no matter what, God has a plan and an answer, even if it isn't what he wants. I want my husband to be understanding of my needs and what I want out of life. I want my husband to encourage me and my decisions. I want my husband to be the man that my children know is praying for them. I want my husband to be the man who cries the first time he sees me in my wedding dress walking down the aisle. I want my husband to be the man our kids can run to at 3:00 a.m because they had a bad dream and need him to hold them. I want my husband to have a loving and sincere heart. I pray that the man I am going to marry is praying for me, just like I'm praying for him.

Cover Image Credit: Alec Vanderboom

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11 Bible Verses To Help When The Anxiety Is About To Get The Best Of You

For times when things get tough


College can be a mixture of excitement, fun, definitely stressful, and full of anxiety. I know there are times when I am stressed and I feel like there is nothing I can do. Stress can be this giant weight that just wears you down no matter how hard you tried to get rid of it. These are a few bible verses that help me whenever I feel stressed or I am filled with anxiety.

1. Isaiah 41:10


"Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

Whenever we have fear, just know that God is with you. Through him He will give you strength. He will be there to lift us in in our times of fear and your anxiety.

2. Psalms 56:3


"When I am afraid, I put my trust in you."

I feel like this one is pretty self-explanatory. Whenever you feel afraid or are dealing with something that you are not quite sure will work out, then just give it over to God. It will definitely help. It can help take off that weight that you are dealing with.

3. Philippians 4:6


"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God."

Whenever you feel anxious about something then give it over to God. A way to give it over to God is through prayer. There is power in the persistence of prayer.

4. John 14:27


"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you."

You cannot find peace in worldly things, but you find peace in God.

5. Psalms 94:19


"When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul."

The world is very good at making people stressed and worried. In this verse, the "cares of my heart are many" is talking about the different worries that people have, but in God, we can still find joy in the midst of all those worries.

6. Proverbs 12:25


"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad."

This verse goes to show that words can drastically effect a person's attitude and mood. Even when a person is going through something, kind words can make them feel better. If you read the Bible, I can guarantee that it will help you through anything. It is amazing what the Word can do.

7. Psalms 23:4


"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me."

This verse is an excellent reminder that through horrid things, God will be there to watch over you and protect you. There is nothing we cannot do if we have God there with us. We just have to remember that He will never leave us or forsake us.

8. Joshua 1:9


"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

The fact that God is with you seems to be a running theme in these verses. You would think that we would not forget it so easily since God has made it so clear. In God, we can be strong and courageous. We have nothing to worry about.

9. Matthew 6:34


"Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."

There are definitely things throughout the day that we can all worry about. It could be a test, a project due at work, or even friendship or relationship problems. However, worrying about it is not going to help. There is also no point in worrying about the next day because we will have no control over it. We do not know what the next day will bring so why worry about it? That is what this verse is trying to say.

10. Mark 5:36


"But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, 'Do not fear, only believe.'"

As long as we believe in Jesus then we have no reason to fear. All it takes is for us to believe that He can help us through anything.

11. Deuteronomy 31:6


"Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you."

I referenced this verse earlier. It was sort of unintentional, but there is so much truth and power behind it. This verse relates to what it is saying in Joshua 1:9 (verse previously mentioned). That verse asks "Have I not commanded you?" This verse is telling us that we need to be strong.

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