This year has been a big transition year for campus ministry at The University of Minnesota. For the first time the Newman Center and SPO are working hand in hand to bring Christ to campus. Recently we put on a fall retreat with the theme “Rock Solid.” Our goal was to encourage students to build a firm foundation on Christ and to allow Him to be their rock. Over 80 students from the U of M and surrounding schools attended.
The retreat consisted of small groups, large groups, talks, recreation, confession, mass, and adoration. For many students the highlight of the retreat was Saturday night. We began with a student testimony about the healing power of confession and then went into a time of praise and worship, adoration, praying with one another in small groups, and ended with a time where students were able to go to confession. This was a powerful night for the students to encounter Christ in a way that many had never done so before.
Sunday there was also a time of adoration where Father Phillip did a healing Eucharistic procession. He came around to each person and allowed them time to be before the Lord and encouraged us to ask the Lord for any healing we may need. As Mission Director Peter DeMarais described it,“It was an act of faith in touching the garment and saying Lord, I want to be healed, I believe that you can heal me.”
It was also really wonderful to see the community that is being built up through Newman and SPO. As we have combined forces this year we have been striving for unity and to build strong community of disciples. On the retreat it was very evident that the Lord is truly building up a group of men and women who are going to strive after Him together and support one another in this journey.
After the retreat we had a chance for the students to share their experiences about what the Lord had done. Many students talked about confession and how they had a powerful experience of the Lord’s mercy through the sacrament. Other students expressed the gift that it was to experience community and people who genuinely care about them, while others talked about their experience of adoration and coming into a deeper realization of the Lord’s love for them. It was incredible to hear all that the Lord did through this weekend and there is more to come!