February 14, 2018: Lent and Memorial for Nels Carlson
As our Jesuit, Catholic tradition well knows, we begin today the holy season of Lent, whereby we are invited to cherish relationships in our lives. With one another, others, and God, we are invited to deeper and stronger senses of communion. As the Creighton University community, as neighbors in the city of Omaha, regionally, and globally, we are urged to discern how we can be women and men of faith, service, and solidarity.
At the same time, we are asked to say goodbye to one of our own, senior Nels Carlson. The task is all too painful, and it also recognizes how we were blessed by Nels’ fierce intelligence, sharp wit, good humor, creativity, and so much more. A member of the College of Arts and Sciences, Nels studied international relations, and he worked in the RaD Lab.
In commemoration of Nels’ impressive life, I want to take a moment to thank so many Jesuits, faculty, staff, and students who gathered in St. John’s Church last evening to pray, tell stories, and share silence with one another. Joining Nels’ dean, Dr. Bridget Keegan, and me, our Creighton community surrounded his family with love and support, and in true Creighton fashion, we stood with one another, collectively holding sadness, confusion, and comfort for each and all.
With many Ash Wednesday liturgies today, and through services provided by Student Counseling, Campus Ministry, and Residence Life, I encourage you to continue connecting in meaningful ways. Masses will certainly offer prayers in memory of Nels, and for his family and friends, and our many Jesuits, faculty, and staff are ready to assist our grief and gladness for the loss we experience and love we feel.
Spiritual and Pastoral Care
The Jesuits, the Division of Mission and Ministry staff ministers, especially including Campus Ministry, and the Office of Pastoral Care for Faculty and Staff, as well as the chaplains of the schools and colleges and residence halls are visibly available to people who need or desire spiritual counsel, guidance or the opportunity for sacramental support.
The Campus Ministry Office is staffed throughout the week in lower Swanson Hall for students needing support. The Office for Faculty and Staff Pastoral Care on the northwest end of Creighton Hall’s first floor (near Jesuit Gardens) offers all employees assistance.
Ministry staff members will be available for special gatherings as needed.
We are reminded that there are numerous opportunities to pray together as a community each day. Weekday Masses on campus are daily at 7 a.m. and noon in St. John’s Church and at 5 p.m. in lower St. John’s Chapel. Extra Masses are celebrated today, on Ash Wednesday, and additional hours for the Sacrament of Reconciliation are offered on Thursday evenings.
The Center for Health and Counseling will work to accommodate walk-ins today and this week for anyone who cannot schedule an appointment in advance. If a student is experiencing a crisis, he or she should contact Public Safety (402.280.2104) for assistance 24 hours a day.