Chaplain and Student Reflections Responding to tragedy and entering Lent

The pictures we show here of Canterbury Downtown students are often of fun times shared together. And, there are all kinds of feelings and stories at work in the minds and hearts of these students, even though smiles are what they are showing us in these moments.

Our community provides a space for students to be cared for, to be fed, to grow in their faith and to have fun together. It is also a place where students who are struggling can find support in their times of need. At the news of the death of an NYU student, let me remind you that I am praying for you all and you are invited to pray for one another. I am a resource to you or to a friend you may have who is in need and doesn't know who to talk to. God loves all of us, no matter what. God is love. Period. God's forgiveness for our brokenness is eternal. We are not perfect, and we will never be. But we can strive to love God and love God's family the best we can. And when our hearts are broken and grieving, we can turn to God again for strength and knowledge in God's love for us.

As we turn toward to season of Lent, let us not forget that we are not only recipients of, but reflections of God's love in the world. Let our Lenten practices be a lived way of turning toward God, toward love and letting God's love be seen and heard and felt in all the places our reflections of that love touches in the world around us. Amen. -Chaplain Mary Cat

If you or anyone you know is in need of a lifeline, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

As an NYU student, the news that over the weekend a student took their own life, was deeply upsetting for many reasons. Any loss of life at such a young age is heartbreaking, let alone it being a student who was someone’s roommate, someone’s friend, someone’s classmate. This time of the year can be a difficult time for us—the days are still short and cold, and students are already wading through all of the work that comes with midterms time. It is also the beginning of the Lenten season, with Ash Wednesday marking the start tomorrow. Typically for Lent, I’ve always been in the practice of “giving something up”, whether it’s soda or chocolate, not indulging in something I love was my way of committing to Lent. While I do still plan on giving something up this year (my social media accounts), I am making this commitment for my own mental health as well.

What we decide to practice for Lent doesn’t even have to be an act of “giving something up”, it can be that we commit to getting 8 hours of sleep each night, or taking a walk each day, or even fostering community with those that we care for. By intentionally adding something in, we are able to draw ourselves closer to God and remind ourselves that we were created perfectly— and any act of self love is a testament to our belief that we are worthy of God’s love. In the space of time that I would normally spend on social media, I am going to add in a devotional—another way that during this season we can draw closer to God. While Lent is considered a time of darkness, that does not mean we have to neglect ourselves in an act of “sacrifice”. We are loved, and by loving ourselves, we strengthen our faith. - Maria, NYU ‘20

The number for NYU Health and Wellness is 212-443-9999. NYU also has a web page called “MindfulNYU” where they have many resources and apps that are available for student use!


Sunday, December 2nd marks the start of the Advent season! Advent is a time when we prepare ourselves for the coming of Christ. It is meant to be a time of reflection and a time set aside to renew our connection to Christ. This year, I plan on following along with the #AdventWord Global Advent Calendar as created by the Virginia Theological Seminary! Each day, there is a meditation emailed out around a specific word, and people have the opportunity to sign up and write daily reflections which can then be shared via social media platforms. When I was younger, we collected coins in a little Advent box but since graduating high school, I’ve been a little unsure of exactly how to “celebrate” the Advent season. By focusing on a specific word to meditate around and reflect upon each day, I can better center myself during this prayer season which I’m looking forward to. Please feel free to accept the invitation to join this global Advent calendar!

Human Family

This Sunday, at the 125th anniversary of the laying of the cornerstone at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry gave a sermon of love in which he said “Love is not a way, love is not one way, love is the ONLY way”. With recent national events, I’ve personally been having to work extra hard towards loving our enemies as much as we love our friends and families. But Bishop Curry’s call to creating a human family, not just a human race, really made me reevaluate how I personally can do better at loving everyone, especially those I do not get along with. Thanksgiving can be a frustrating time for people traveling home if their families have different political or social views than they do, which is why Bishop Curry’s sermon tonight was both relatable and applicable to the holiday season that is upon us. Choose love!

Give thanks, friends!

Last week in the November Events e-newsletter, a link to a November Gratitude Every Day calendar which has on each day a space to write what you’re thankful for like “A memory I am thankful for” or “A color I am thankful for”. Gratitude is a positive emotion and we can all benefit from some positive emotions in our lives especially as second midterms and finals are approaching. In Science of Happiness (seriously you guys, this class is so good), we learned that happiness actually leads to success. In schools, kids primed with positive emotions had higher GPAs, improved memories, and were more likely to talk issues out. Gratitude is also something you can practice and learn! The more frequently we practice gratitude, the easier it becomes to identify feelings of gratefulness! I know that for me personally, the gratitude calendar has helped me re-evaluate what is good and wonderful in my own life. Give thanks friends!