Tell us about yourself, your background, and why you are interested in serving.
I’m Chris Daffin, a first-year law student at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law. I was born in New Orleans, LA and raised in South Alabama. I attended undergrad at a Jesuit college, Spring Hill College in Mobile, AL, where I was a Biology Pre-Med student with a minor in Theology, and I was very involved in extra-curricular activities. As time went on, I got more and more involved in politics, so much so that I decided to establish a CollegeDems chapter at Spring Hill. With over 75 active members, we became the biggest College Democrats chapter in the State of Alabama. After my term as CollegeDems chapter president ended, I took a chance on faith and ran for a national position in the College Democrats of America (CDA), the official student arm of the Democratic National Committee. I ran, won, and became the first elected National Faith Caucus Chair of the College Democrats of America. In my capacity as the caucus chair, I represented all College Democrats of faith (all faiths) across the nation. My caucus’s main initiative was advocating for the passage of H.R. 262, the Federal Death Penalty Prohibition Act, by the 117th Congress. If this bill passes through Congress and is signed by the President, it will abolish the federal death penalty. Our caucus hosted letter drives and national programs to generate more passion around this issue. In March, we passed a resolution in the National Council (CDA’s legislative body) to task the CDA Executive Board to advocate for the bill. We also got the other 15 CDA caucuses to sign on to a letter calling for uptake of the bill, and it was sent to Speaker Pelosi, all House majority leadership, and all members of the House Judiciary Committee.
During my freshman year at Spring Hill, I converted to Catholicism after being raised a Baptist. The RCIA program was almost non-existent outside of a few “roundtable” discussions. When I was confirmed at Spring Hill during my freshman year, I quickly saw a need for a more in-depth catechesis. During my sophomore year, a senior friend and I took over the catechism classes to help. We put together a plan for each week and taught for the entirety of the school year until the Confirmation Mass in April. When my senior friend graduated, I knew that I had to continue. Because of increased furloughs of Student Affairs staff, our Campus Ministry was left with one full-time staff person, the Director. She saw a need and created student internship positions to help operate Campus Ministry efficiently and effectively. I was asked immediately to accept the position of Faith Formation Intern. During my junior and senior years, I oversaw all aspects of faith formation, including creating and executing a new catechesis curriculum, supervising student catechists, and helping to create and implement new ideas concerning the spirituality of our campus community. Campus Ministry saw the number of participants in our sacramental preparation classes double. The work that I’ve done for our campus community as an advocate of ecumenism has been labeled life-altering by some, but I believe it was most life-altering for me. I have never felt so at home in any institution as I have in the Catholic Church.
Being a devout member, however, comes with the responsibility to make sure it’s great for others. That’s what I aspire to help do as a Parish Council member. I want to bring my perspective and experience as a convert, a Black man, a gay man, a young man, and a faith leader to St. Ignatius and to the Council. I want to be a voice for each of these communities separately and where they intersect with one another. Once I heard about the Council, something nudged me. I dismissed the nudge because, as a new parishioner, I felt like I couldn’t have too much of a say in parish affairs. However, after talking to some parishioners, I think I could use my talents to help the parish do God’s work for His Greater Glory, whether that be as a member of the council for the next three years, or in one of St. Ignatius’s many ministries.