[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]OSHKOSH — A feeling of fellowship is what draws Collin Killoren to devote time to serving his home parish, St. Mary in Greenville, and his campus parish, the Newman Center at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.
Killoren, 22, is a senior at UW-Oshkosh, majoring in philosophy. His family includes his parents, Eugene and Ann Marie, and sisters Noelle and Holly. Noelle lives in Texas with her husband.
An older brother, Emmett, passed away at age 20 after a car accident in 2001.
“I was only 6 at the time and I didn’t quite fully understand the idea of death at that point, so it didn’t affect me (as much then),” he said. “It was only when I started to get older that I started to think about what kind of experiences I was missing, because he wasn’t there and what kind of influence he might have been for me as I was growing up.”
He said his family holds a belief that the Mass is a point where heaven meets earth. “As we’re saying Mass in the presence of all the angels and the saints, and believing that my brother is in heaven, it follows that in a very real sense we are celebrating Mass with him. So he is also a member of our parish.”
Killoren and Holly have volunteered for their parish’s Octoberfest celebration, selling tickets, preparing food and cleaning up. Serving with his sister makes the experience more enjoyable, he said, “from being together and spending time together and doing a good service in addition to that.”
He also serves as an intern at St. Mary, working with Luke Gietman, the director of religious education, and teaches a continuing Catholic development class to seventh graders.
When he started his college education, Killoren got involved with Cru at the University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley. With Cru, formerly called Campus Crusade for Christ, Killoren experienced Christian fellowship that he found very powerful.
When he moved on to UW-Oshkosh, he said he wanted to find that same feeling and sought out the Newman Center.
“My main interest was fellowship,” he said. “Newman Center is more than Cru offered in the sense that I’m with fellow Catholics. It was a way for me to start making friends immediately without a lot of pressure.”
At the Newman Center, Killoren does anything he can to help, from moving furniture, playing guitar at Mass and preparing for upcoming events.
“I just started to find joy in doing things for other people,” he said. “The Newman Center starts to become a family and you find yourself wanting to help out. Fr. Jason (Blahnik) and Titan Catholics are very good at planning social events like Bible studies and weekly dinners to build up that feeling.”
Killoren is still thinking about his future plans after graduation. “I am considering education, since I am a philosophy major, and teaching religion to seventh-graders is helping me discern,” he said.
He also is considering using his area of study to offer an adult faith formation class at St. Mary Parish
Killoren feels giving back to the church is important.
“I suppose, in her wisdom, the church made it a precept to support the church; that way there is no confusion,” he said. “It is simply awesome to help with the mission that Jesus gave the church. It’s important to feel like you belong somewhere and that you contribute to something greater than yourself.”
[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_message]Your Catholic Neighbor
Name: Collin Killoren
Parish: St. Mary, Greenville; Newman Center, UW-Oshkosh
Favorite saint: Thomas Aquinas
Words to live by: “If love is a labor, I’ll slave till the end.”[/vc_message][/vc_column][/vc_row]