CCN FILE PHOTO
Angèle and André Regnier
SASKATOON – The evangelization of university students has been an enriching experience, say leaders of Catholic and evangelical groups bringing the Gospel to campuses across Canada.
"There are thousands upon thousands of (Catholics) who have wandered away, who do not know. There is much work to be done," said André Regnier, co-founder of Catholic Christian Outreach.
Reaching out to Catholics on campus as part of the mission described by John Paul II was the motivation for starting CCO, Regnier told a shared Catholic-evangelical worship service Nov. 14.
"The Church exists in order to evangelize. It is our deepest identity. It is our very nature as Catholics to be evangelical," said Regnier. "We have to make Jesus known here and to the ends of the earth."
CCO's other co-founder, Regnier's wife Angèle, and Rod Alm of Campus Crusade for Christ also spoke about the fruit of their common love of Jesus Christ and efforts at evangelization on university campuses.
Angèle and Alm are long-time friends who worked together with Campus Crusade before Angèle became Catholic.
"I think we went to about 100 high schools throughout the province, it was just amazing," Alm said. "We had this diverse group from all sorts of different denominations."
What do Catholics and evangelicals hold in common? "It's our love for Jesus," said Angèle.
She described how two aspects – the centrality of Jesus and the call to mission - bonded her to André, whom she eventually married. As part of this life journey, Angèle also became a Catholic.
"I can tell you the leap wasn't as great as I thought, once I began to understand what the Church taught."
Angèle also described how she shared with André the training and tools that she had received through Campus Crusade for Christ. Using those tools, the two of them launched Catholic Christian Outreach (CCO) at the University of Saskatchewan 25 years ago.
CCO's goal is to bring university students into a relationship with Jesus Christ, equip them to live in the fullness of the Catholic faith, and build them up as leaders in evangelization. CCO is now present on 11 campuses across Canada.