Few students answer church bells

Every Sunday morning at 8:30 a.m. the church bells ring on Main Street in Castleton as St. John the Baptist Church welcomes its faithful community members for a weekly mass. On the other side of town, however, most Castleton State College students are still warm and cozy in their beds.

The days of required religion classes are far in the past and mom and dad aren’t around to drag students out of bed to attend church. But is that making a difference?

There are a handful of churches within walking distance of campus offering a variety of religious services, but how many of our fellow students are actually taking advantage of them?

Out of 10 people questioned recently, only attends church, freshman Alexandra Herman.

“I go to church the third Sunday of every month to the cute little church down the street” said Herman, proudly.

Other students questioned said they didn’t even know anything about the religious services offered here.

“The religious presence isn’t very strong on campus … I didn’t even know about the church, and I’m Catholic,” said senior Missy Tellier.

For those interested, the college’s Web site has a link for local services, and just about everyone knows how to use the search function on the net. So what is really keeping students from going to church?

“The mass on Sunday is way too early … the bells are really loud and they always wake me up,” said senior Amy Cook.

There were a variety of other excuses students gave for not attending church, but Father Charles Danielson, of St. John the Baptist Church, may have offered the best reason.

“At this age, students are out of the eyes of their parents, and one of the first things to fall is their religious practice,” he said, adding that that reason is often combined with “the pressure to not be visibly religious.”

Danielson did, however, say that he sees an average about five students at the weekend services, which is more the he has seen in past years.

“It’s so nice to see those who come because it’s on their own free will,” Danielson said.

So whether it is the early morning service, the lack of information or just plain laziness — there are about 1,895 students who aren’t going to church.

“Hopefully that will change over time,” Danielson said.

For more information on Castleton area services check out the link at www.castleton.edu or search the net for Castleton Vermont Churches.

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