Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of March 1, 2004
College Students start Catholic club
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
Catholic students at Grant MacEwan College now have a place on campus to share their faith.
The Catholic Club with at least 30 students on its mailing list has been in operation at the downtown campus for more than two years now. It was started with the help of Latin professor Maria Kozakiewicz in 2002 following World Youth Day in Toronto.
The club is needed to help students maintain and deepen their faith, Kozakiewicz said.
"The faith you receive during childhood usually vanishes during university years and this club is trying to prevent that," she said.
Members meet weekly on campus to pray, do readings and plan activities. During 2002-03, the club's first year of operation, the club also organized retreats and lectures, including a bonfire prayer retreat near Tofield last May and a February 2003 lecture on St. Augustine by Archbishop Thomas Collins.
This year the club has been equally active and has hosted an array of activities, including retreats, prayer meetings and lectures by Father Paul Moret, the archdiocese's director of vocations, on topics such as Genesis and Our Lady of Guadalupe.
During reading week, current club leaders Courtney Reeves and Sterling Sparsho, who are engaged, visited the Catholic Pastoral Centre for an afternoon of prayer and planning.
They, along with Kozakiewicz, met with Andrew Papenbrock, coordinator of youth ministry for the Edmonton Archdiocese, and Moret, to plan a retreat for club members and a public meeting with the archbishop March 10 at the downtown campus.
Brent Meyer, the president of the MacEwan Students' Association was the club's first president. Meyer, now an RCMP officer, had attended World Youth Day in Toronto and had an ardent desire to propagate the faith.
Sterling and Courtney, 19, agreed to re-start the club last year because the organization tends to disappear yearly after students move on to university or to the working world. Armed with a constitution and a set of policies, they got the go-ahead from the Students' Association to re-start the club in September. They launched a recruiting campaign that has led to about 30 students on their email list.
Courtney said the club is there to help people deepen their faith in a world where religion doesn't seem that important. It definitely has helped her. She became interested in the Catholic Church after meeting Sterling two years ago. Currently she is enrolled in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults and will become a Catholic at Easter. Courtney and Sterling are both members of St. Michael's Parish in Leduc.
"The club helps us to meet people who are serious about their faith like we are," Sterling said. "But we are not about saving souls or converting the masses. We are about helping people deepen and develop their faith. If people come, we are prepared to teach them."
Meetings are all structured around a theme that's attractive and practical. One of their latest meetings was a pizza meeting. Coming up is a poster meeting, a gathering designed to promote the archbishop's visit to the college in March and a lecture on purgatory by Moret. Six to 10 people attend each weekly meeting, most of the time different people and sometimes non-Catholics.
"They are just interested in learning," noted Sterling. "We are there to support them; we are there to teach and learn."
Courtney said meetings are fun and relaxed, providing students with a deserved break between assignments. "School sucks and it's good to have fun and relax," she laughed.
As Courtney and Sterling leave Grant MacEwan following graduation in April, other students will have to re-start the club at the beginning of the next school year in September.
For more information on the Catholic Club at Grant MacEwan College, e-mail Courtney and/or Sterling at firstname.lastname@example.org