From the passing of one pope to the selection of a successor, you've come to see and hear Father Mike Sis of St. Mary's Catholic Center. But if you're one of the thousands who has passed through the doors of St. Mary's, his impact is far more reaching than his TV analysis.
"Our mission is to reach out to the university campus, try to bring the message of our faith to the young people there, and to get them enthused and alive in their commitment to Christ," said Sis. "So our mission has primarily been directed toward students."
And even when a mass isn't being led by Father Mike, his presence is felt. And now, that presence will reach across a greater area, starting next year.
"My job will be to go around to all the different Catholics in central Texas in the diocese of Austin and recruit people to enter into the priesthood and religious life," he explained.
While he won't leave for that position until Christmas time, he will be on a sabbatical to Rome starting in early August, meaning his days at St. Mary's after nearly a decade-and-a-half are coming to an end.
"Father Mike's done a lot with bringing the church on campus," said Richard Kronenberger, who attends St. Mary's. "A&M reports that about 25 percent of the student population is Catholic. So he's tried to get St. Mary's visible on campus."
"He always invites the students to come and talk to him about anything," said Mary Ann Addis. "Most of all, he challenges us, not only in our faith, but also in our academics, in our social lives. He's an incredible role model."
Father Mike grew up here, graduated from Bryan High School. And despite leaving for schooling at Notre Dame and in Rome, his call to service brought him here.
"I've felt a great amount of gratitude from the people that I've served here," Sis said, "but ultimately, this whole ministry is not about Father Mike, it's about Jesus Christ, and He remains."
As will the legacy of another man who has touched so many lives.
Father David Konderla will take over for Father Mike starting August 1st. Next Sunday, there will be an appreciation party for Father Mike at St. Mary's Activity Center. That gets underway right after the 11 AM mass.
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