Monday, December 20, 2021

Cookie Decorating

 Our last night of Newman activities happened on Tuesday, December 14.  We wrapped up with an evening of cookie decorating.  Special thanks to Nate, who baked the cookies, and Connor, who made the frosting!  We will let the pictures speak for themselves!

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

SEEK22 Dates Announced

 SEEK22 is coming in February!  February 4-6, to be exact, will be the dates.  SEEK is a FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) annual gathering.  Pre-pandemic, we traveled to the conferences in San Antonio, Chicago, Indianapolis, Nashville and more.  Now, the conference has moved to a virtual platform.

Due to a generous sponsor, we are able to bring this conference to our students at no cost to them.  Sr. Bethany Madonna (of the Sisters for Life) and Father Mike Schmitz (of Bulldog Catholic at UMC) will be featured speakers, along with many more. All sessions will be held at the Campus Religious Center or Holy Redeemer Church, with a full schedule of activities published closer to the event.  Meals and snacks will be provided.  All we need is YOU!

You can sign up for the event HERE

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Road Trip to Mankato State!

 On Thursday, December 2, 2021, the Catholic 'Stangs again took a road trip to Mankato State.  The Catholic Mavs hosted Jason Evert, of the Chastity Project.

Jason is a world-known Catholic speaker, focusing on chastity and healthy relationships for teens and college students.  He, along with his wife, are the founders of The Chastity Project.  This organization has supplied most of the books and materials the Newman Club uses for their annual Valentine book giveaways.

Elaina, Levi and Nate made the trip to Mankato State to hear him in person.  Our thanks to the Catholic Mavs for always allowing us to be included in their events!

Catholicism 101: Our Lady of Guadalupe

 On Sunday, December 5, 2021, Father Tony joined us for the final Catholicism 101 of the semester.  The topic was one that is near and dear to Father's heart:  Our Lady of Guadalupe.

For those, unfamiliar with the story, in early December of 1531, ten years after the conquest of Mexico, when there was no longer any reason to raise the sword or shield, Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to an indigenous man named Juan Diego.  Many people, hearing "no longer any reason to raise the sword or shield" may believe this meant there was a time of peace.  However, the indigenous people believed life was about struggle and conflict.  If there were "no longer any reason to raise the sword or shield", there was no longer a reason to live.

They had lived ten years as a conquered people.  They lost their land.  They lost their families.  They lost their way of live.  And, while those bringing the faith to the people were, by and large, good and faithful people, kind and generous, they were accompanied by the army that took everything else from those who had lived there first. 

The Christian way of life was appealing to the Aztec people.  In their religious practices, they were called to sacrifice.  The Christian faith was attractive because you did not have to kill your children.  God had offered His child so no more children needed to be sacrificed.  Catholicism preached love, kindness and care.  The conversion to the faith was very slow-going, though, because of the struggle the people had with the messengers of the faith.

Early in the morning, before the sun came up, while Juan Diego was on his way to Mexico City, he encountered a young, pregnant woman.  She appeared to be an indigenous person.  Her skin tone was darker and her facial features were like those of the Aztecs.  Around her waist, she wore a black band, the traditional way of signifying pregnancy.  Juan Diego was a practicing Catholic who had already been Confirmed when she appeared to him.

Her message was simple but challenging.  She asked Juan Diego to go to the Bishop and ask for a Church to be built in the location where she met him.  It was to be a Church for the poor, the hungry, those in need, and she would be there to help them.

Juan Diego did as she asked, but the Bishop disregarded the request on the first day.

The lady sent him back for a second request.  Again, it was disregarded.

Juan Diego, upon seeing the lady for the third time, told her she needed to find a better messenger because he would be unable to get her what she had asked.  The native language he used described himself as having less value than an animal, unworthy and unable to accomplish anything.

The lady told him she would provide the proof he needed to give the Bishop because he was the one who needed to do as she asked.

The next morning, when it was too cold for roses to grow in Mexico, he was led to a field of roses, which he gathered in his tilma to present to the Bishop.  The lady arranged them how she wanted them in his tilma and sent him back to Mexico City.  

When Juan Diego met with the Bishop, he opened his tilma and the flowers fell at the Bishop's feet.  Revealed in the flax material of his tilma was the image of the lady he had seen, whom we now know as Our Lady of Guadalupe.  This miracle convinced the Bishop to build the Church she had requested where she wanted it, on the hill of Tepeyac.  

Mexico City has grown up around it, so it appears the Church is part of the city.  At the time the Church was built, this was an out-of-the way location.  This is significant because it shows us how Jesus chose to come to the people of the Americas, to be born into their lives, to join the poor and powerless.

Today, the tilma still hangs in the Basilica, preserved over 500 years in a material that should have disintegrated centuries ago.  The colors are still as vibrant as they were on the day they appeard to the Bishop.  Millions of people pilgrimage there every year, seeking Our Lady's intercession in their lives and giving thanks for all she does for them.

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Nuestra Senora de Guadelupe

Emperatriz de america latina

Patrona de las americas

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Catholic 'Stangs return to Hill Street Place

 For the past seven years, a consistent part of our community life has been to help the folks at Hill Street Place decorate for the holidays.  We were not able to help last year because of the COVID related restrictions.  This year, however, we were told we could come back.  Timing was a challenge for many with their class schedules, but Elaina and Nate were able to make it work.  They did a fabulous job!  We have already been told it is hoped they will be back again next year.  

Thank you to Jane and Susie for the opportunity to share our decorating talents.  A special "Thank YOU" to Elaina and Nate for serving our community.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Christmas Decorating at the CRC

 Tuesday, November 30, the Newman Club decorated the Campus Religious Center.  At this time of year, we are especially grateful for the donors of our trees:  Cindy, Ann and Katie.  We are especially grateful for the time and decorating talents shared by our students last night:  Elaina, Nate and Moses.

Monday, November 29, 2021

Thanksgiving Day 2021

 On Thanksgiving Day, 57 to go meals were sent out to those on Campus.  The meals included turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberries, homemade dinner rolls, pumpkin pie fudge and strawberry shortcake.  

It took a village to put together the meal.  Our grateful appreciation to the donors who provided dessert, dinner rolls, turkeys and funding for the rest.  We especially appreciate the students the rolled silverware, prepped food, wrapped fudge and decorated the space to serve our guests.

This was our largest number of meals served in our sixth year of providing dinner.  We are already looking forward to next year!

Monday, November 22, 2021

Catholicism 101: As We Wait in Joyful Hope

 On Sunday, November 21, 2021, Father Tony shared the next in his continuing Catholicism 101 series:  As We Wait in Joyful Hope, a discussion about Advent.  

Advent is a season that matches what the northern hemisphere is experiencing.  We are preparing for the darkness to lengthen to the longest, darkest night of the year, just before Christmas.  With Christmas, we see the beginning of the longer days and shorter nights as we gain more and more time in daylight.  It is a time of waiting, a time of silence, a time of listening.

While Advent and Lent have some similarities, in Lent, we turn to God.  However, in Advent, God comes to us.  God has made promises to us and we see in the first reading of Advent how He promises to fulfill what has been said.   

Father Tony shared about those with whom we will journey through this Advent.  First, is John the Baptist. He challenges us to pay attention to the call of the Lord so we don't miss it.  We conclude with Mary, and her wonderful Fiat, let it be done to me as you say.  Like us, she doesn't know what lies before her.  She only knows that through God, it will all be as it should.  She invites us, during this season of Advent, to make our own fiat, to be ready for the Lord, to trust it will all be good, and we can draw comfort in a God of promises.

Music plays an important role in Father Tony's life and he shared two songs that speak to his heart about this season. The first is "Joseph and Mary (The Cherry Tree Carol)".  You can listen to it here:  Joseph and Mary (The Cherry Tree Carol)  The second is "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" in Spanish.  There are some subtleties that differ in translation between English and Spanish in many areas.  Veni, means "to go", but it is a word that means the action has already started.  Not only is Emmanuel going to come some day, He is on His way.  You can find a version with the lyrics here:  "Veni, Veni Emmanuel" 

As he concluded, Father Tony shared with each of the students a sheep he brought back for them from Mexico.  It is a visual reminder of our role as the sheep in the flock and there is a shepherd who loves and cares for us.  

Father Tony left us all with a challenge:  to seek the quiet moments in this season, to remember this is all part of the waiting, and to listen to what God has to say to each of us as He is coming to us this Advent.