Sunday, February 27, 2022

Tie Blankets at Heritage Pointe

 The Catholic 'Stangs had the opportunity to partner with Heritage Pointe to make tie blankets that will be donated to WRAP (WoMen's Rural Advocacy Programs) and the SMSU Veteran's Club.  Heritage Pointe had been gifted the supplies, but they needed hands to help the residents with prepping the materials and tying the blankets.

Over two days, five students spent a combined 22 hours helping with the project.  It was an opportunity to have fun, share life stories, and help a cause, all while working in a multi-generational setting.  We appreciate the opportunities Laurie Ourada provided for us, and all of the relationships that were started through this event.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Movie Night at the Marshall 6

 The Marshall 6 has $5.00 Tuesdays.  Tickets to all movie are $5.00 and there are good deals on popcorn and pop.  Tuesday is our normal meeting night, so we don't, as a group, usually go to $5.00 Tuesdays.  A couple of times a year, however, we find a night to make the effort to go as a group.  This week was the week from Spring Semester!

The group chose "Uncharted".  Eight students were able to make the time to go together.  Fun fact about the movie:  Mark Wahlberg is one of the stars of the show.  He is a Catholic, who makes Mass attendance and prayer a priority in his life.  "Being a Catholic is the most important aspect of my life," is one of his most well-known statements about his faith.  How exciting it is that our Catholic club was able to attend one of his movies on our movie night.

Thanks to all who attended, and especially Elaina for making sure we got the group picture!

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Valentine's Dinner 2022

 We have a many year tradition of an open invitation to Valentine's Dinner on the Tuesday closest to Valentine's Day.  As the invitation said, bring yourself, bring a friend, bring a date, but just come for good food, fellowship and fun.  Our leadership team this year outdid themselves on all aspects.  

Nate planned the menu, including lasagna, mixed vegetables, garlic bread and red velvet cheesecake.

Elaina and Nate coordinated the shopping, planned for games, and worked out the set-up.

Abbey and Elaina completed the decorating while Nate handled the cooking.

We had a variety of guests including a number of people who have attended our Saturday night activities but haven't attended any Newman Club events.  Members of the adult leadership for Lutheran Campus Ministries were also welcomed guests.

Nick won our "guess the number of M&M" challenge and won 121 M&Ms!

Dealyn won our "guess the number of Jelly Beans" challenge and won 120 jelly beans!

The clean-up crew was extremely efficient and had everything back to pre-party state before they went home.  It was a wonderful event, coordinated by a truly exceptional group of young people who made it all happen, from effective invitations, to food preparation, fellowship and fun throughout the night.  

Thank you to all who participated!

Catholicism 101: Remember That You Are Dust

 Sunday, February 13, 2022, Father Tony led our latest Catholicism 101:  Remember That You Are Dust discussion.  The conversation began with the first reading, from the prophet Joel 2:12-18 (found HERE), with an emphasis on the verse that begins "Blow the trumpet in ZION! proclaim a fast, call an assembly;" Rarely do we think of a fast as a good thing.  We usually thing of it as a punishment or penance.  However, the fast is an opportunity to remove the things from our lives that are in the way of allowing the Lord to fill our emptiness with His love and grace.

We are only required to fast on two days in Lent:  Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.  The fast is described as one meal and two snacks, combined not to equal one meal.  The fast is obligatory from the age of 18 through 59.  We also practice abstinence from the age of 14 onward, which means on the Fridays of Lent (along with Ash Wednesday and Good Friday), we refrain from eating meat (beef, pork, fowl, etc.).  We are able to eat fish, eggs, and other protein sources not found in land-dwelling animals. 

The sacrifices of both the fast and abstinence are there to help us feel the emptiness in our stomachs to lead us to the emptiness where God is missing from our lives.  Once we know where the emptiness is, we are called to fill it with the love and grace the Lord has for each of us.

There are three disciplines in Lent we are called to practice.  In addition to fasting, we are called to prayer and almsgiving.  At its base, prayer is a conversation with God.  For many of us, that conversation tends to be a little one-sided, where we do a lot of talking and not a lot of listening.  Father Tony challenged us to consider lectio divina as a starting point for prayer if we are struggling with our conversation with the Lord.  If we can take the time to reflect on a Scripture passage, the readings of the day, for example, and to see what strikes us in the reading.  This can lead us to a conversation where we ask the Lord "what message do you have for me in this reading" and gives us an opportunity to wait for an answer from the Lord.

Almsgiving is when we recognize all that we have is from the Lord and give a portion of what we have back.  Catholic Relief Services gives us the opportunity for the Rice Bowl.  Donations made through CRS' Rice Bowl provides support to more than 140 million people in over 100 countries.  For those who are not able to give of their financial resources, sharing of their time is just as significant.

Father Tony left us with two thoughts to sustain us through the 40 days we will spend on our way toward Christ's resurrection:

1.  His forgiveness is bigger than our sins

2.  His mercy is greater than our evil

Thursday, February 10, 2022


 The Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) offers an annual conference the students at SMSU have attended many times over the years.  This year, because they are still following COVID protocols, the conference was virtual, which allowed us to offer this as a retreat based from the Campus Religious Center.

Over three days, we had the opportunity to participate in Mass together, attend Eucharistic Adoration together, pray together, laugh together, eat together, and share great conversations about some of the tough topics facing college aged people today.  The Catholic 'Stangs were blessed by a Holy Redeemer parishioner who paid for the conference fees for them to attend.  This allowed the conference to be offered without restriction or financial hardship.  We are so grateful for the thoughtfulness!

Next year, the conference will be back in person.  January 2-6th, we plan to gather with thousands of other college students, embracing our Catholic faith and all the mess and beauty that comes with it, in St. Louis.  Please pray for all those who will be attending, for their benefactors and the benefactors of the conference.