PHOTO COURTESY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND CATHOLIC STUDENT CENTER
Students, chaplains and campus ministers from the Catholic Student Center, The Hope Lutheran Church and Student Center and the Baptist Collegiate Ministries at the University of Maryland stand outside of the Catholic Student Center after the Protestant groups hung “95 Reese’s” on the building to mark the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation on Oct. 31.
PHOTO COURTESY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND CATHOLIC STUDENT CENTER Students, chaplains and campus ministers from the Catholic Student Center, The Hope Lutheran Church and Student Center and the Baptist Collegiate Ministries at the University of Maryland stand outside of the Catholic Student Center after the Protestant groups hung “95 Reese’s” on the building to mark the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation on Oct. 31.
Five hundred years to the date after Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, the Catholic Student Center at the University of Maryland in College Park found their own set of “95 Reese’s” hanging from their door.

The Hope Lutheran Church and Student Center, the Baptist Collegiate Ministries and the United Methodist Campus Ministry worked together to attach “95 reasons we love and are thankful for Roman Catholics” to the front door of the Catholic Student Center, along with 95 bars of Reese’s candy – which was appropriate for the Oct. 31 date that marked the 500th anniversary of the start of the Reformation.

Ray Ranker, one of the pastors of Hope Lutheran Church and the Lutheran Campus Minister at Maryland, said as he was thinking about how to commemorate the anniversary, he wanted it to be not just a celebration of being Lutheran, but also an acknowledgment of their hope for Christian unity.

“I really wanted to think about it as not just this ‘Rah Rah, we’re Lutheran, this is so great,’ but also recognizing that the Reformation was hoping for reform in the Church, and it ended up creating a more formalized split,” he said. “So in the spirit of ecumenical Christian unity, [we wanted] to use it as an opportunity to show our love and respect for our Roman Catholic colleagues.”

Throughout the year, these different ministries work together to create ecumenical events for students, such as the Good Friday Stations of the Cross, an annual night of Christian worship, and a “Together for Justice” day in the spring.

“We know there are differences in our theology and practice, and yet we as Lutherans really appreciate and enjoy the times we can work together,” said Ranker.

Ann Gradowski, the director of development and administration at the Catholic Student Center, and sophomore Nick Schmitz, the chair of the Interfaith Committee at the Catholic Student Center, agreed that they enjoy being able to work with other Christian groups on campus to put together these events.

“We have a wonderful interfaith community here,” said Gradowski.

The 95 reasons that students from the Lutheran Student Center wrote spanned from funny to serious. Some were specific to the Catholic Student Center at Maryland, such as “Your punny Hail Mary Land T-shirts” and “Your awesome ability to spread God’s Good News to many on campus,” while others had to do with the universal Church, such as “the athleticism behind all that kneeling and standing up” and “For providing the only education, healthcare, and social services accessible to many people across the world.”

“It was very moving, something that was positive and reassuring to see that kind of desire for unity on campus,” said Schmitz. “It was a really kind thing that they did for us.”

Alongside all of those Reese’s, David Williams, a student with the Baptist Collegiate Ministries who was dressed as Martin Luther, “nailed” a sign to the door that said, “We’re not sure if five hundred years is too soon to joke about a breakup, but here are ninety-five Reese’s.”

The Reese’s candy remained on the Catholic Student Center’s front entranceway until the students attending their weekly Wednesday night dinner there removed them to enjoy as a snack.

Since the Protestant chaplaincies had given the Catholic Student Center warning about what they were planning, Lisa Lytwyn, the coordinator of campus ministry; Mykala MacEachern, the president of the Catholic Terps student association; and Ann Gradowski were present for the “nailing.” In response, they gave the Lutheran Student Center a framed set of “9.5 Reasons We Love the Lutherans.”

“It is a divisive time, and faith is something that brings a lot of people together…to see our Protestant brothers and sisters desiring to have that kind of unity with us marking a time that was quite divisive too, when Luther nailed the 95 theses…I think it is a great example of how we are to love our neighbor and live out the great commission,” said Schmitz.