Music can have an impact on the heart and the soul, and it is especially important to young people today, notes John Morris, station manager of Spirit FM, the music ministry of the Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg, FL.
Morris, of WBVM-FM, 90.5, recently visited Saint Leo University's campus and interviewed Father Randall Meissen, university chaplain, and Lucas Nocera, music minister, about University Ministry and the upcoming Kirkchella coffeehouse and music event.
Tune in to Spirit FM at 11:30 a.m., Thursday, September 2, 6 a.m., Saturday, September 4, and 8:30 a.m., Sunday, September 5, to hear the "How We See It" program.
The interview also can be found online at https://m.soundcloud.com/myspiritfm/saint-leo-kirkchella-and-campus-ministry
Father Randall Meissen started as university chaplain at Saint Leo in Fall 2020, coming to the university from the University of Southern California. "From day one, certainly since I arrived here, I felt very much a part of the university family," Meissen said, in discussing the difference in working at a Catholic university vs. a secular university.
COVID-19 affected all aspects of life including campus ministry, Morris noted. "I joke that the three components of campus ministry are food, fellowship, and faith, and very often in that order," Meissen said, "and when you take the food, fellowship, and the big gatherings out of it, it makes outreach and recruitment and building up the strong bonds of friendship that are necessary for community more difficult."
He said hopefully the campus is "coming back to life," while still facing the challenges of COVID-19, but trying to meet and engage in activities safely. Meissen said he hopes to help Saint Leo students make a smooth transition to college—especially the freshmen and students who are new to the university.
Morris said he thinks many students who are away from home for the first time, do become homesick and have some trepidation. "But if they grew up in the Catholic Church, and they find a campus ministry, a Catholic-student center, students may feel 'man, that's one thing that I can come back to,'" Morris said. "I think that something, they can connect to."
One thing that will bring students together will be "Kirkchella," which is a play on the popular Coachella arts and music festival in California. The free event will take place 7-9 p.m., Thursday, September 9, outside of the clock tower at Saint Jude Chapel/Student Activities Building and on the lawn by Kirk Hall. Snacks and coffee will be served.
"The faith is not just something that is dull and formal, and inside the church; it's something that permeates every part of our day-to-day life and joy is a big part of that, and sharing music is a big part of that," Meissen said. "Joy is very much a part of us and who we are as Catholics."
Kirkchella will provide live music featuring Lucas Nocera, music minister and part of the University Ministry team, and Father John Kline, a Christian pop musician coming to Saint Leo from Atlanta. Students also were invited to participate so there will be a variety of genres.
The goal of Kirkchella is to bring students together for some fellowship—university students as well as youths from neighboring parishes and communities. "Music and song can bring us into a time that is spiritual and it can bring us into a time of prayer," the university chaplain said.
While Saint Leo students, faculty, and staff do not have to register, alumni and guests are asked to register here.
The registration also can be found at University Ministry's webpage.
Klein, who like Meissen, was ordained as a priest in the Legionaries of Christ order, serves the Catholic Center at Georgia Tech University. Klein also shares the Good News through contemporary Catholic Christian music, which can be found on Spotify, Apple Music or YouTube. One sample is "Eyes of Mercy."
"Pop Christian music like Spirit FM plays is what introduced me to the 'cool side' of the faith," Nocera said. He was invited as a high school student to play guitar and sing during live Stations of the Cross. "That began the fire that is my gift of music," he said.
"Music and lyrics can immediately touch someone's heart," Nocera continued. "God uses radio stations, God uses Spotify, he uses Apple, whatever, to put music into people's lives at the right time."
For more information about Kirkchella and University Ministry, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (352) 588-8331.