Every year, parishes across North America honor their college students at the outset of the fall semester. This year, the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America has designated October 2 as College Student Sunday.
“Orthodox Christian Fellowship continues to provide students with opportunities to encounter Christ and grow in their Orthodox faith through their growing network of campus OCF chapters led by talented students, clergy and lay advisors, as well as through programs such as regional retreats, college conference, ‘Real Break,’ and the summer leadership institute,” writes His Grace, Bishop Gregory of Nyssa, Liaison to OCF for the Assembly, in an encyclical marking the occasion. “OCF continues to make every effort to connect new freshmen to campus chapters and local parishes through the First Forty Days Initiative, which involves extensive effort from our student leaders and spiritual advisors to contact every incoming freshman within their first 40 days on campus. We wholeheartedly pray for and strongly encourage your support of these noble efforts by ensuring that the contact information for your parish’s graduating high school seniors be sent each and every year to the OCF National Office for dissemination to our dedicated local chapters.”
OCF offers a number of suggestions by which parishes can reach out to students on College Student Sunday and throughout the school year.
- Give a presentation. Invite your local OCF chapter or a student from your parish to give a short presentation on the impact OCF has had on their lives.
- Do something to recognize your college students. Host a lunch, make care packages, or even just mention OCF from the pulpit.
- Designate a Parish Liaison. Select one person—a Church School teacher, a secretary, a parish council member, any willing volunteer—to be the OCF parish liaison. Through the Parish Liaison Program, OCF will keep your community informed about all that it does and assist with collaborating on initiatives.
- Make a donation. OCF asks that a tray be passed on its behalf this year. More information on donating to OCF may be found on the OCF web site.