Election Year: Students Pray and Promote at Benedictine College

President Stephen D. Minnis at Topeka's Religious Freedom Rally. President Stephen D. Minnis at Topeka’s Religious Freedom Rally.



From Oct. 6 until Nov. 6, Election Day, 150 Benedictine College students are fasting from meat to pray for the right to life and religious freedom in this election year.

“There is no doubt that the problems in our country are great,” said one of the organizers, Benedictine College senior and nursing major Meghan Mueller, “And for tough cases, Jesus recommended prayer and fasting.”

Together with the Fast For Freedom, they are inviting people to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet on Fridays at 3 pm, the traditional day and hour of Christ’s death on the cross.

It’s just one of several activities on campus focusing on the election year. Other initiatives include:

  • 3 Million Memorares. Benedictine College president Stephen D. Minnis this year launched the national Memorare Army for Religious Liberty. The prayer campaign has recruited members in all 50 states and in 6 countries internationally. Legendary coach Lou Holtz and Rwanda genocide survivor Immaculée Ilibagiza each joined the Memorare Army for Religious Liberty this fall.
  • “Life, Liberty and Freedom of Conscience Conference.”  In September, this conference announced a panel of leaders from national and regional public life. “Religious liberties and freedom of conscience are coming under government attack as never before in our country’s history,” said organizers. “Catholics and other believers must stand against this unprecedented intrusion upon religious beliefs and practices.”
  • Secretary James Nicholson — the Catholic who served as ambassador to the Holy See and Secretary of Veterans Affairs under George W. Bush,  spoke about leadership, faith, and Catholic identity in politics and government.
  • Nikolas Nikas, president and general counsel of the Bioethics Defense Fund, spent two days on campus helping studetns learn how  win the issues of human cloning, embryonic stem cell research, abortion and end-of-life issues in the public square.
  • Promote the Vote — Benedictine College’s Student Government Association initiated a campaign promoting voter registration and publicizing the issues affecting Catholic voters.
  • Religious freedom symposium — The Institute for Missionary Activity’s Symposium for Advancing the New Evangelization will convene on campus in the Spring semester for the second year in a row. This year’s symposium will address issues related to religious freedom.
  •  Ravens Respect Life tent. A member of Ravens Respect Life has been sleeping outside or weeks and will do so until the Benedictine College pro-life group has signed 300 men and women to travel to the March for Life in Washington, D.C., in January 2013.

At a time when college students often have the reputation for being self-centered hedonists who are too busy living in the present to care about the future, the Fast For Freedom is noteworthy. Even more noteworthy is its emphasis not only external activism, but on internal discipline and prayer.

Benedictine College Dean of Students Dr. Joseph Wurtz commented, “This shows how our students understand how God works. He chooses the lowly to confound the lofty. I am very proud of Meghan and the others who have run with this idea and who themselves have had the self-discipline to persevere and ignite a spark.”

As Dr. Edward Mulholland pointed out in his original Gregorian post on the subject, the spark is already spreading from Kansas like a prairie wildfire.

The Fast has already spread to a number of college campuses, even internationally, including Italy, Germany and Sweden. The group does not advocate any candidate in any election, but rather is asking God for an outpouring of grace so that we, when choosing our leaders on every level, may elect the right people to put our country on a path according to God’s will.

A blog is set up on Facebook and any questions or comments can be sent to fast4freedom2012@gmail.com


Benedictine College

Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas. The school is honored to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report, the best private college in Kansas by The Wall Street Journal, and one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine and the Newman Guide. It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging. Benedictine College is dedicated to transforming culture in America through its mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.