SEARCH Journal

What chaplains do - and what students need

MARK SITS alone at a square wooden table. He sips a hot cup of tea and dips a biscuit in while his lunch heats up in a nearby microwave. The young man who just last year sat his leaving cert examinations is now passing the time between his lectures at Dublin City University. Three weeks into his course, this is now the longest stretch he’s spent away from home. He likes his college accommodation, but of course it lacks the warmth of home. The first two weeks were marked by a keen sense of not belonging, of being out of his depth. This week is getting a bit different, though.

I took up my post as Church of Ireland chaplain at DCU one year ago. To be honest, my first few weeks were marked by insecurity and a feeling that I had no idea what I was doing here. I spent time settling into my new office, getting used to the campus rhythm, and figuring out where the best coffee was. All the while wondering what God wanted me to do here. In those early days at DCU, I was often asked by friends and family what chaplains do?

* Full article available in printed copies.

Eric Hughes

is Church of Ireland chaplain at Dublin City University.