Maria Teresa Kamel, class of 2017 Trinity alumna, is involved as a Trinity’s campus minister and intermediary for Our Lady of Grace Parish on campus.
“I actually started out studying philosophy and journalism at the University of Navarra in Spain. After two years, I decided I was not a philosopher but that I liked reading stories. I eventually chose to continue my education at Trinity and graduated in the spring of 2017 with a degree in English,” Kamel wrote in an email.
Kamel became involved with ministry after graduating by assisting Our Lady of Grace Parish in bringing Catholic ministry onto Trinity’s campus.
“Now on campus, I provide support and guidance for the ministry team and help them bring their ideas to life by helping with the logistical stuff. I go to mass at Our Lady of Grace, but I wasn’t really involved until I started working in Campus Ministry with Catholic Student Group to reserve space in Trinity’s chapel for religious activities like mass and small groups,” Kamel said.
Post-graduation plans for Kamel did not initially involve Campus Ministry, but Kamel explained that her path led her back to San Antonio.
“I had originally moved to Los Angeles after graduation where my plan was to search for God by moving to a Catholic Worker House. It wasn’t until one point in September when I received a call from Susana Nieto asking if I would be willing to take over campus ministry at Trinity,” Kamel said.
Kamel emphasized that Our Lady of Grace Parish hired her, and she started working on campus as an associate chaplain to Trinity’s catholic population in September.
“The most important part of my job by far is to be a listener to anyone at Trinity. College can be such a terribly lonely place with pressure to succeed in everything academically, socially and professionally,” Kamel said. “Sometimes students just need to sit down [and] tell someone they don’t have to see in class the next day that not everything is going as planned.”
Senior Luke Ayers, president for Catholic Student Group (CSG), has been involved with the group for four years.
“I’ve been extremely active in CSG since my freshman year. My favorite part is being part of a community of faith that encourages me in my faith and gives me the opportunity to build up my brothers and sisters as well,” Ayers said. “I love being involved with this community and Our Lady of Grace parish through CSG because it reminds me that I’m not alone.”
According to Ayers, he and Kamel had worked together on the ministry team when she went to Trinity, so it was an easy transition when she became the campus minister. Kamel also emphasized the importance of the development she’s undergone since graduation as a result of her involvement in faith groups. For both Ayers and Kamel, campus ministry is an emotional outlet they love.
“I think the different faith groups on campus allow students to have a space to explore their questions and doubts, to search for God and to foster an interior life that can sustain them as they pursue more material endeavors. I think we’re all called to walk with each other through our different struggles, and that’s certainly the nucleus of what I do,” Kamel said.
Dianna Fournier, first-year student, is newly involved in CSG after signing up during new student orientation.
“Involvement in Catholic Student Group has framed my entire experience as a Trinity student. I’m able to engage in my faith and worship with a community and that alone has meant the world to me,” Fournier said. “The Catholic Student Group community was absolutely delightful, they really welcomed me with open arms.”
Fournier also spoke of all the opportunities Catholic Student Group has available weekly.
“Catholic Student Group has a zillion opportunities to get together,” Fournier said. “After every Sunday mass we meet in the chapel reception room for pizza. In addition to men’s small group and women’s small group … There’s Adoration every Wednesday and Alpha every Friday. Ms. Kamel and the rest of the group are really a gift, It’s impossible for me to communicate the sheer volume of joy it brings to know all of them.”
CSG meets every Sunday at 5 p.m. in Parker Chapel and every Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in upstairs Coates.