By Allyson Escobar     3/21/2017

Cal State Fullerton’s Titan Catholic club hosts monthly large group gatherings, offering time for adoration, confession, and worship for busy college students during Lenten season.

For many college students, making time for God—to pray and encounter, amidst classes, exams, homework assignments, extra-curriculars and second jobs—can be tough, especially during Lent.

But the Titan Catholic club at Cal State Fullerton hopes to provide such faith-filled opportunities, and build genuine friendships, among both students and alumni.

The club, which recently changed its name from Newman Catholic Club (modeled after Blessed John Henry Newman), provides community, faith formation, and the sacraments to its young adult participants.

With Masses, opportunities for Holy Confession / Adoration, Bible studies, discernment groups, and formation series happening weekly on campus, there’s something that fits every busy schedule.

Over the years, members of the free club include other local schools, parishes, ministries, and young adults across the diocese.

“What is deeply profound in the growth of Titan Catholic, as a community of faith, is that one would find in company of these Catholic students the genuine desire to build a deep, heart-to-heart relationship with Christ,” shared Fr. Mark Cruz, the club’s chaplain.

“It is continuously moving towards that vision to help the group exist not just as an org on campus, but a community of the faithful—striving to follow the path of Christ in the context of university life.”

A group of Titan Catholic students, ministers, and young adults around the diocese even attended the SEEK conference together, this past January in San Antonio, Texas.

At the start of Lent, Titan Catholic offered three Ash Wednesday masses on campus for students and faculty to receive their ashes.

Over 40 people were in attendance for the midday Mass, held outside on the lawn outside of the university gym and Titan Student Union.

“Embrace that great fact and truth given to us in the season of Lent—Jesus willingly lay down His life for us on the Cross,” shared Fr. Mark in his homily. “We should never forget that this is a season of love.”

The recipe for gathering college students’ attendance at Titan Catholic events includes opportunities for prayer, fellowship, worship, and of course, food.

Launched in February, the club’s Large Group Gatherings provides a space for students to discover all of those things, and encounter Christ in a college setting.

“It’s the fact that [Titan Catholic] is a place where I get to freely express my love and joy for God with other people, that always draws me back. I receive so much joy, and a reminder of how good God is,” shared Mylene Ibus, a 1st year Child and Adolescent Development major.

Organizing such large events comes from the help of passionate, devoted students and missionaries. The club currently has five student officers and several missionaries from the Fellowship of Catholic University Students, or FOCUS.

“The leadership team believed that having events like the large group gatherings each month would attract more students, and we were inspired [by Intervarsity, the Christian club on campus],” said CSUF senior Charles Sandoval, a health science major and the club’s Vice President. “It’s been awesome seeing many new faces.”

At the large monthly gathering on March 7, over 40 young adults gathered in the student union for socializing and free In-N-Out burgers, followed by a Lenten message and Holy Hour / Adoration.

Four priests from around the diocese were also invited to hear confessions from students.

The evening speaker was Brock Martin, West Regional leader of FOCUS (and the son of FOCUS founder, Curtin Martin), who came to visit Fullerton from Denver.

“As humans, we are created for relationship. Friendship is the vehicle where we could become what we are meant to be,” shared Martin. “Authentic friendship of Catholic young adults can and is changing the world.”

OC musician Andrew Laubacher led praise and worship. Attendees were invited to spend quality intimate time in Adoration with their best friend in the Blessed Sacrament, Jesus.

“I really enjoy the authenticity of the brothers and sisters in the room, worshipping with me. When two or three are gathered in God’s name there He is,” said Sam Cimeni, a third year electrical engineering major. “Brock’s talk softened my heart and reminded me that I’m not just a soldier out on a lonely battlefield. Jesus calls me a friend.”

Fr. Mark Cruz calls the ever-growing group “a fellowship of students,” aspiring to achieve sanctity together and witness to the Gospel, while at the same time “enjoying college life and Christ-centered friendships.”

Added Cimeni, “The Holy Spirit is at work in Titan Catholic. Everything from the infrastructure the leaders provide, to the dad jokes [we] crack on the daily…community is being built. I’m not missing out on that.”