11:40 AM

New Campus Minister, Ready to Serve, Issues Campus Challenge

Patrick GunningPatrick Steven Gunning joins Campus Ministry this fall replacing Max Linnville as Campus Minister. Gunning received his undergraduate degree at the Franciscan University of Steubenville in communications with a concentration in radio/TV and a Master in Theology with a concentration in Catechetics. Recently, Gunning served as a youth minister in a San Diego parish. Before moving to California, he was the youth minister for St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Houston for three years.

Gunning joins team member, Nicole Labadie, director of Campus Ministry, and Chaplain Fr. Paul English, CSB. Labadie said, “I am delighted that Pat has joined our Campus Ministry team. His education, gifts, and strengths, along with six years of experience as a youth minister, will be instrumental in continuing the work of evangelization on campus. He has a deep zeal for making God known, loved and served, a charism that he brings to the work of overseeing retreats and the University’s Peer Ministry program and supporting faith-based households.”

Dream of Becoming a Sportscaster

Gunning came to Campus Ministry in a roundabout way. His dream was to be a sports broadcaster.

“Ever since I was 10 years old and met the father of an ESPN sportscaster during a bus trip to a Pawtucket Red Sox game with my Church, I wanted to be a sports broadcaster,” Gunning said. “However, it was when I got more active in my faith in high school that I saw my youth minister as having the coolest job ever.”

Honored a Calling, Youth Ministry

“It wasn’t until my senior year of college, after being involved with multiple ministries on campus, that I felt a deep calling (and excitement) to work in youth ministry,” he said. “It was hard confronting it because I had gone over 10 years of my life working toward and having a heart for, a career in sports broadcasting. Once I decided I was going to pursue a job in youth ministry, I had a great sense of peace and joy.”

After graduation, Gunning taught high school Theology in West Palm Beach, Florida. “It was great, but while serving on the core team for a youth group there, I had this burning desire to give more there. I really wanted that to be my job!” he said.

So, after five years in youth ministry in San Diego and Houston, he was ready for a new adventure. “I always thought college campus ministry would be a great job,” Gunning said. “After asking a friend at the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston if she knew of any campus ministry openings, she told me about St. Thomas. I knew when I interviewed that this is exactly the kind of environment I love to be a part of, and I can’t wait to see what more the Lord has for us here at UST!"

Build Lifelong Disciples

Gunning has big plans and a challenge! He looks forward to “empowering and witnessing students spreading the Good News on campus to their friends and peers.

“I’m looking forward to all the ways we continue the mission of the University and continue to build lifelong disciples who will go out and transform the places they work, live and worship. Finally, I’m looking forward to all the fun we’re going to have, the memories we will make and the feeling at the end of every semester, every year, and eventually at the end of my chapter here that we have made a difference in students’ lives, and now, they are doing the same for others.”

Challenges You to Corn Hole

His challenge: “I’m looking forward to seeing if anyone can beat me in corn hole.” Gunning loves being outside, playing yard games and making people laugh"

He is a sportsman, and his hobbies are all things sports, especially football, basketball, baseball and golf. He also loves music and plays the drums. He mountain-bikes and enjoys Memorial Park. He is happy, that water is nearby because he loves the beach.

Gunning is especially happy to be back in the South. “For some reason, God keeps bringing me to Houston!”

Learn more about Campus Ministry at stthom.edu/CampusMinistry.