College Friends


I’m sorry if this is the wrong board, but it’s the closest I could find.

Anyway, one the saddest things I ever experience in college is hearing someone talk about how they used to be Catholic, and then left the church for one reason or another.

It doesn’t help that most students here came from areas of highly concentrated Catholicism. Most people I’ve met either left the Church before coming, or have left it while here.

The problem then becomes “what do I do about it”? Many of my friends feel free to talk to me about things like that, but I couldn’t preach to them without losing their friendship.

Are there any ways in which one can preach subtly, aside from good example?

It’s been bugging me because I’m not angry at them or anything, but it’s a deep sense of disappointment and such a saddness. The only thing I think when someone tells me that is “you will never know what you’ve lost”.

Case in point, tonight someone I know told me that they were a proud catholic but a year ago. Something happened and now she’s agnostic. I wanted to tell her about how much she had and how much she’s potentially lost, but I couldn’t without getting preachy.

Any advice?


Well you first could try inviting them to your Newman Center for one of those events. Usually they probably will be too scared to go to even that since it is a Catholic event but if there is free food or something, perhaps that would work. Then they can see other students that are still Catholic and perhaps realize there are still people our age that are practicing Catholics.

Oh, and I know a couple people that are either in the situation you describe or just never were Catholic to begin with. I never pressure them to change or convince them they are wrong but I can say why I am still a practicing Catholic and why I think it makes my life so much better. I personally think people doing this rubs off on people in general. I liked what I saw in people and their families so I have become more of a practicing Catholic in general. If nothing else, exposing people to Catholicism even if it jsut yoursef will get them to at least think about it and perhaps realize something is missing in their lives. It might even take a few years of knowing someone for it to make a difference but who knows.


Pray for them and listen to them.

Get them to talk. Most people will have some sort of petty excuse to attempt to justify it their actions. Laziness, wanting to sleep in on Sundays, or not wanting to feel guilty about what they did Saturday night, etc. Its not always a good idea to try to refute bad logic at that instant rather pray for them, just so they voice it outloud and they themselves hear how petty it is. (Now I am sure there are some more understandable reasons why someone has left, but I havn’t encountered them personally.)


I made remarks in the other post about college, I didn’t realize you yourself was a college student.

College culture depends on students being completely dependent on the lifestyle, isolated from reality marketed to be self absorbed into oneself. Dorms are like prison of thought. I went to school for an education, not camp. The design of many campuses cuts you off from the rest of society. Bordem sets in and you end up drinking and hooking up or doing whatever. Professors don’t want you to be mature and responsible or stable for that matter, they want someone that can be easily molded into their lofty ideas.


One of my friends tells people that God usually has many graces waiting for them in the church they were raised in. It gets them to think about it a bit.

Listen to what reasons they have for having left the Church. Maybe it’s something you can sympathize with and then in turn share your wonderful experience with the Catholic Church, gently. A few weeks later, maybe invite them to go to Confession with you and then to Mass.

A card with the picture or medal of the Divine Mercy (“Jesus I trust in You”) may be appreciated by them. Even some of my Protestant friends have asked me for one after seeing mine. Get it blessed before giving it to them :wink:

We’ve also had Protestant friends interested in the St. Benedict’s Crucifix/medal. We gave our house’s St. Benedict’s Crucifix to one of them, and he later told my husband that while he was praying, holding the Crucifix, it felt like a “live wire” in his hands.

All these ways are non-combative, quiet-example type ways of sort of tugging on their Catholic roots. Good luck and please keep us posted!


One of my friends left Catholocism when he was young. He told me how he had studied religion and knew so much about it. I could tell he was not ready to listen to someone explaining Catholic beliefs to him. So I simply prayed for him. Some time later he took a trip to Hawaii where he met a priest who apologized to him for anything the Church may have done to wrong him and invited him and his family to come home.

He was very active in his Protestant Church but resigned his position and came home - this time taking the time to learn his faith. He brought his family with him. I had him in one of my college classes a while later and had to laugh as he explained the Catholic faith to me after class. Things I already knew and he admitted that at as child he had been poorly catechised. I is now so happy to be back in the Catholic Church.

So - Pray for your friends and perhaps apologize for anyway they may have felt hurt in the Catholic Church.


I know exactly what you mean. There’s a deep sense of disappointment and sorrow that comes with peope you know leaving the Church for any reason. I think the best thing you can do is pray for them and witness to them. Many people leave over a misunderstanding of a particular teaching, or because another denomination appealed to them for whatever reason. By your life you can show them what they’re missing. And also, remember that sometimes the reason someone says they left isn’t the real reason at all. Have you read “Surprised by Truth” by Patrick Madrid? It’s full of stories from people who were led into the Church, some who were re-verts. It may give you some hope. I also liked his book “Search and Rescue” which is all about tangible ways to evangelize the Catholic faith.


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