On a bright Saturday morning in March a group of about 50 students from the University of Minnesota and University of St. Thomas gathered in the lobby of the O'Shaughnessy Educational Center to check-in for a day retreat. The weekend before, the SPO staff hosted a Two Kingdoms retreat and had been running the Alpha Course at both campuses since the beginning of the semester. This day retreat entitled "Day of the Holy Spirit" was a kind of conclusion to both. It resembled a one-day version of the three-day Fan Into Flame retreat facilitated at SPO Chapters around the country.
We started the day with an introduction to expressive praise and worship, then moved into modified talks from the Fan Into Flame retreats. Speakers Brian Fischer (National Mission Director), Eric Dumas (UST Chapter Director), and SPO alumnus Fr. Michael Becker (Rector of St. John Vianney Minor Seminary) spoke about how Jesus should be - and is - Lord of our lives, how repentance and running back to God opens us up to receive the many gifts of the Holy Spirit, and what the gifts of the Holy Spirit are and how they manifest in each person differently. Throughout the day we had opportunities to share in small groups, which was a great time to get to know students from each campus. We closed the day with a prayer meeting and opportunity for small groups to pray over each member who was invited to ask Jesus to be the Lord of their lives, for strength to continue to turn away from sin and the devil, and the Holy Spirit to bestow any gifts on them.
By the end of the night, it was clear that God had been working through the talks, small group discussion, and prayer meeting! Several students publicly shared about their experience at the end of the retreat. One student even said he hadn't been to confession for four years and enthusiastically admitted, "It's good to be back!"
May God continue to bear fruit in each student's life and allow the work of the Holy Spirit to lead them ever deeper into relationship with Him.