Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of March 3, 2003
Students thank God it's Friday
University group draws young adults to a deeper faith
By RENATO GANDIA
"It may have died if not for the spirit of WYD."
- Sarah Frey
In September 2001, these students began discussing how to address the situation. They got together for fellowship after the Friday night Eucharistic Adoration at St. Joseph's College chapel.
As the preparation for WYD got underway, the group became more animated and organized.
"It may have died if not for the spirit of WYD," said Frey, who is in her last year as an education student.
They continued meeting every Friday except for the first Friday, which is when another young adults group (Ligouri Club) in the city meets.
Students from St. Joseph's College and other U of A students, together with non-student young adults attend their fellowship.
After some of the group's regular attendees came back from WYD, they decided to call their Friday night gathering, Salt, as a reminder of the call of the pope.
For the first year that they met, they had two kinds of regular activities - namely, fellowship with resource speakers and an outreach night.
But they decided to stop their independent outreach night and plugged in with another group on campus called Because of Love, which does a weekly outreach to either the poor or the elderly.
Lydia Cristini, one of the core group said, "We thought that we were duplicating and it's difficult to find a venue on a Friday night to go and help the poor at the time we are meeting. So we changed that to fellowship night as well."
The group gets 60 to 70 people a meeting.
"There is such a thirst for it on campus. Catholic students that I met, came up to me and said, 'We have been searching for a group like this for years - some place where we can share our faith and we can discuss God and just meet other Catholics and Christians.'"
Although their structure is Catholic, attendance is not restricted to Catholics.
"It's just a great place to discuss things that young people might not normally discuss," said Cristini, an education student in her final year.
The speakers they invited spoke on bioethics, Mary and her role in the Church, the life of Cardinal Newman, Reconciliation, thanksgiving. An upcoming talk on chastity by a mother of eight children is expected to draw attendees.
Frey added, "Most of those who attend, especially non-Catholics, appreciate the praise and worship because they are familiar with the songs."
"I think they came to the talks and appreciated the new insights. It's not pushing Catholicism down their throats."
Cristini credited her positive experience at St. Joseph's College to being involved with the Newman Club.
"I've had such an amazing time at St. Joseph's College. I wanted to try to make sure that there was something left to perpetuate this kind of community and fellowship."
"I've had such an amazing time at St. Joseph's College."
- Lydia Cristini
Frey felt it was a call from God to help and start something like the group.
"It's definitely worthwhile, although we have to balance out time between school and this (ministry)."
It is rewarding to hear from those who attend that they connect and are glad to have met others who made a difference in their lives, Frey insisted.
The group is now hoping to start a newsletter, get representation at morning prayer meeting on campus and inform their group about other Christian groups.
Before Frey finishes college she hopes the Newman Club will adopt a Bible study. "I think it's more personal and it takes you to the word of God, something that young Catholics need to learn about."
Cristini, echoed Frey and said, "I do hope it becomes a very visible Catholic presence on campus. I also hope that it never becomes stagnant. Never happy or satisfied about where it is but always seeking to reach out to people and bring people to Jesus."
Before they started the Newman Club, there was a club with the same name that folded in the early 1990s. Because of the recognized name and that many educational institutions have Newman clubs they decided to resurrect the name.
Interested young adults are welcome to attend at Kiva Room, Education Bldg. North, Room 2-103, Friday at 7 p.m. except first Friday.
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