An Unexpected Retreat

When someone thinks, ‘what should I do for Veteran’s Day Weekend?’

The first thought for a college student is generally ladened with relief because of the extra day off of school.

At our SPO chapter at UCF, a group of 11 men were anticipating adventure.

Thanks to our partnership with Barbasol we left Orlando on Thursday evening, and arrived Friday morning in the Great Smoky Mountains.

Before even going to our campsite we went to the highest point in the mountains and walked up to the observation post. After a brief meeting we split off in the woods for prayer time.

The fact that I was surrounded by men who love God was incredible. It’s something that I’ve been searching for and never been able to experience.
— Riley R., Freshman @UCF

In a sense this weekend was a retreat in the truest sense of the word.

It wasn’t a retreat filled with all sorts of programming, but a retreat from the busyness and distractions of life; a retreat to the beauty and friendships that make life rich.  

From the grueling 5.5 mile summit hike, to the laughter around the campfire and to the times of prayer, we experienced God drawing us together.

In John 15 Christ says

‘...I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide…’

and this is what we’ve seen from this trip. The friendships and brotherhood that were given the opportunity to blossom through this trip have continued deepen immensely, and bear much fruit!

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Men's Household Begins at Florida State University

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For the first time ever, the Catholic Student Union at Florida State University has its first Men’s Household up and running. As the Household Leader, I have had the privilege of setting the groundwork with the men I’m living with for years to come. The opportunity to have a place and space to run after Jesus Christ day in and day out at FSU is a great addition to the overall mission of the Catholic Student Union. Household life adds a versatile dimension to the communal, prayerful, and social aspects of the greater community.

Some aspects of Household that have made it a great place for fellowship, discipleship, and fun have been the common times we spend together throughout the week. Every Monday and Wednesday we take time for family meals. We have a family style dinner on Monday evenings and a family style breakfast on Wednesday mornings. During these meals we take time to reflect on the week, “bro-out” (mess around and talk about nonsense), and also dive into a deeper topic of discussion that varies each week. This past week we dove into the question, “How are we to be led by the Holy Spirit in order that he may form us as sons of God?” With questions like these, we dive into the heart and explore the great love and commission God has for us to live boldly and radically for Jesus! But this depth of love for the Lord isn’t limited to meal discussions; it’s actually fostered in the time we take to pray together.

Twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays we get up at 6:30 a.m. to pray Morning Prayer. This consists of praying with the Psalms and worshipping the Lord in song for a total of 45 minutes. These rich, early morning times of prayer before classes begin the day on the right note as we give our first-fruits of praise and worship to the Lord. They fuel and sustain us throughout the week and help us to remember to keep God first throughout our days.

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Along with growing in holiness, we men in Household have grown in deeper fraternity with one another. As we live in close physical proximity together, opportunities for authentic and meaningful relationships are common and have a rich soil to take deep root. Whether we are playing chess, cooking lunch, playing guitar, or doing homework, being in communion with one another throughout the day has helped us to deepen our relationships by building trust and having fun with each other. Living together has also taught us how to patiently bear one another’s faults and flaws.

Overall, Household life has been a fruitful experience where we have encountered deeper growth together than we could have experienced living alone or in a different setup. As Thomas Hammen, a junior living in the house, puts it, “Household life has shown me the depths of brotherhood available to us if we only include in our friendships Jesus Christ!” It is clear to me how we are growing in holiness, community, and going out on mission to spread the love of Jesus Christ together as we press on through the school year. I am so excited to keep running with these men and look forward to the adventures that our Father, God, has in store for us.

Please keep us in your prayers and may God bless you!

-Sawyer Phillips, 1st year Missionary at Florida State University

Spring Retreat 2016: Beyond the Limits

Spring Retreat 2016: Beyond the Limits

Our students went Beyond the Limits as they journeyed through our Spring Retreat. This retreat, directed by student leaders Julianna and Chris was an impactful weekend dedicated to the Lord. Walking side by side with St. Josemaria Escrivá, the patron saint for this retreat, the students learned what it means to strive for holiness in everyday life and how to do it!

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Fall Retreat 2015: Fired Up!

Fall Retreat 2015: Fired Up!

Are you fired up?! This beautiful weekend featured talks, small group discussions, skits, praise and worship, prayer, and participation in the Sacraments. The Catholic Campus Ministry put on an incredible retreat where students got to learn about and experience the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives! For many students this retreat was the beginning of a deeper encounter with Christ and his Church: an opportunity for healing, growth, and an outpouring of grace!

 

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