By ANDREW NELSON, Staff Writer | Published January 29, 2009
A Georgia State University religious studies student is a newly appointed leader with the National Catholic Student Coalition.
Theresa Wuertz, 20, and the 10-member NCSC executive board received the coalition’s blessing in a Mass celebrated by Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory at its January meeting.
The NCSC is the voice of Catholic students to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and others. A goal is to empower students to take ownership of their faith and to grow as current and future leaders of the church. Its Web site is www.catholicstudent.org.
Wuertz, the 2009 public relations chairperson of the NCSC, is a member of St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Woodstock.
She answered a few questions from The Georgia Bulletin.
What appealed to you to serve your fellow Catholic college students in this capacity?
I saw the fantastic work being done by NCSC in uniting Catholic college students and alumni from not only all over the nation, but, through their partnerships with organizations like IMCS (International Movement of Catholic Students), the entire world. When you see good being done in the world, it’s only right to facilitate that good in whatever way possible.
What gifts do you believe you and your peers offer the church?
I believe that as an organization we are able to offer the church something unique in our enthusiasm, energy, and insight into both the leaders and the body of the church tomorrow. I believe we are a tool for both the church as an institution and as a body: to the institutions and leaders of the church we give an understanding of the youth of today’s church and to the membership body we provide not only a connection to other Catholic college students, but a voice to the leadership of the church.
What insights would you share with church leaders about concerns and issues that Catholic college students wrestle with?
Personally, I believe that one of the things that most Catholic college students today struggle with is the lack of knowledge about so many of the deeper, older, beautiful traditions and history of the church. In a post-Vatican II generation, many young adults remain completely unaware of so many of the finer intricacies of Catholic theology, apologetics and traditions. And you can tell that there’s a yearning for that knowledge.
While the changes made in Vatican II were essential, there has been something lost in the communication to this generation. We understand the importance of the ecumenical movement, but somehow we have lost the completeness of understanding of the deeper aspects of our own faith.
There are times when we are uncertain of the exact church teaching on a subject and are inclined to make our own decision based on what we think the teaching ought to be. As students we need to make the effort to learn all of the various teachings of the church so that we will be equipped to pass that knowledge on to the next generation.
My request for the leaders would be to institute more programs to educate young adults and to empower the youth to become the leaders of tomorrow’s church while maintaining the integrity of its 2,000-year-old traditions.