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A witness to faith

11:56 AM  Jul 6th, 2018
by Tom Columbus

Father Kip Stander, S.M. ’73, has served at St. Mary’s University as well as in Kenya and India and, for the last three years, at UD as the University chaplain. We asked him what that entails.

I ask the question, “How did the two of you meet?”

And they answer, “We were involved in a service project our sophomore year. We developed a friendship, dated and grew in our relationship. And here we are today — preparing to get married!”

As I meet with couples, I am invited into special moments in their lives — a blessed aspect of my ministry at UD.

It is a privilege to serve in a position that puts me in touch with UD people at important times in their lives. My specific role is to offer sacramental ministry (Mass, reconciliation) and spiritual guidance to students, a ministry that extends to faculty, staff, alumni and parents.

I interact with them as they graduate, marry, grieve, suffer illness, manage transitions in life, discern the future. This engages, challenges and humbles me.

On campus, our Eucharistic celebration — whether on an evening in a residence hall or a Sunday in the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception — is centered on the presence of Christ in word, sacrament and community. We gather to pray and go forth to live God’s message.

At the baccalaureate Masses, as students prepare to go forth from UD, we rejoice with them and their families at the opportunities, the support and the growth that led to this special day.

I meet with many alumni as they return to UD to celebrate their weddings. Often the couple has wonderful stories of career and challenge and commitment.

In time of illness or loss, I am also called upon. Offering support and prayer is both demanding and a grace-filled moment. The individual and family and friends often experience the fragility of life and the prospect of drastic changes in plans and hopes and dreams. In such a troubled and uncertain time, I try to bring witness to faith and community.

I am blessed to minister in this gifted community.

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