SPO is excited to announce the arrival of our first ever National Conference. Hosted at the Wyndham Orlando Hotel & Resort, this four day conference is something you don’t want to miss. Check out ascendspo.org to learn more about the conference and to sign up!
SPO is pleased to announce our Mission Teams for the 2019-2020 school year!
Please join us in praying for these men and women, who will be bringing their love of the Lord and passion for evangelization onto college campuses and young adult communities across the country!
Saint Paul’s Outreach serves a few colleges in the Kansas City area, primarily the University of Missouri-Kansas City and Johnson County Community College (#RooUpCavs). We have hosted a handful of Barbasol Men’s Nights this school year and have a few more tentatively planned through the rest of the spring.
In my experience as a student at the University of Minnesota, I didn’t think of myself as part of a larger body—a family or brotherhood if you will—until I started to connect regularly with a group of SPO men pursuing the same end. Our aim with Barbasol Men’s Nights is to pursue and experience authentic masculinity and brotherhood as modeled by Jesus Christ and his disciples. The structure we generally use centers on time to eat together, an encouraging message, and a Man-Up Challenge. The Man-Up Challenge carries high intensity, a specific, measurable goal to evaluate progress, and is always team-based.
One example is the “Olympic” challenge we did back in September. We started by blind-folding one brave volunteer on each team before jogging as a group to a local park about a mile away. Men traded off being blind-folded to be guided by the other guys on his squad before we got to a quickened version of capture-the-flag, the watermelon toss, and the rock-carry relay. After we were worn out, we went down by the creek to be exhorted by one of the men to live out desires given to us by the Father so we can be fully alive as we were created to be.
More recent ideas include dodgeball in a racquetball court, rugby-soccer, fileting fish to eat, and pulling a truck uphill. Big shout out to Barbasol for helping us host these nights! Let us know if you have any ideas for the Man-Up Challenge. We can always use more!
Saint Paul’s Outreach Mission Centers across the country are gearing up for benefit banquet and prayer breakfasts, all with a Faith Alive theme! If you’re in the area and would like to join us for any of these special events, we encourage you to save the date or register today.
REGISTER TO ATTEND:
Ohio Benefit Banquet | Oct. 24, 2020 | 6-9pm
Location: The Ohio State University Union
Register now: spo.org/ohiobanquet
SAVE THE DATE!
Feb. 25, 2020 | 5:45-9:00pm
InterContinental St. Paul Riverfront, Minnesota
Friday, March 27, 2020
6:30am Mass | 7:00-9:30am Breakfast & Program
Overland Park Convention Center, Kansas
April 21, 2020 | 6:00 - 9:00pm
The Palace, Somerset, New Jersey
“How good and how pleasant it is when brothers dwell together as one!” (Psalms 33:1)
Through the generosity of Barbasol, a group of men watched an ordinary parking lot transform into a place to host a band of brotherhood. This transformation began with a time of fellowship, sharing conversation while throwing a frisbee and eating grilled burgers. As the evening progressed, the main event went underway. This event was a truck push, where teams of three to four men positioned themselves together behind a truck and raced to see who could push it fastest through a specified distance. This challenge required the men to work together, helping them realize that they can utilize one another’s strength to bring their respective teams to victory.
As the completion came into full swing, bonds of brotherhood formed and strengthened. Brothers lifted one another up and honored each other’s teams when they did well. It was a blessing to see that many men who attended this event were meeting one another for the first time. Many of these men engaged in brotherhood with each other for the first time during this men’s night that may not have otherwise. During this men’s night there was an atmosphere of joy and celebration over the gift of masculinity. These men engaged in a childlike joy of having the pleasure to do something as outlandish as pushing a truck, and the joy that comes from sharing in community.
One of the main purposes of having this Barbasol Men’s Night was to show Ohio Dominican University students that a life of genuine masculinity does in fact exist on their campus. This was exemplified by Saint Paul’s Outreach (SPO) missionary, Guy Davis’, exhortation on the question of “who do you want to be?”. Guy spoke about how college is a pivotal time in a man’s life; the habits a man forms during college can affect him for the entirety of his life. With that, he spoke about the strength of being with a community that will grow closer to Christ as it grows closer together. Following this exhortation, Guy invited all who attended the Barbasol Men’s Night to consider joining a SPO Men’s group. He explained that these groups are a group of men striving for a virtuous life with one another. The Men’s Groups will share in the fun and joy of life together. They will also hold each other accountable for their goals, and ultimately strive to become genuine and loving men who reflect Christ.
By the time the sun had set, our time together as competitors in the truck push had run out, although our time as brothers was just beginning. This Men’s Night created a starting point for SPO’s evangelical mission; uniting Ohio Dominican’s campus deeper with the Body of Christ. The truck push put the men of Ohio Dominican behind a common goal. This movement toward a common goal represents the community being created at Ohio Dominican. This community is a group of men standing side by side, pushing together though the battlefields of life.
-Adam Von Der Embse, sophomore, Ohio Dominican University
Let me just start by saying that Dua Lipa’s New Rules has an incredible drop. It sounds like a caravan of camels doing the Macarena across the Northern Sahara: Exhilarating. And I’m not the only one who thinks so: To date, the song has almost 785 million streams on Spotify alone. I account for probably 100 of them. However, after my initial infatuation with the freshness of the beat, my pesky conscience started to question what the song was saying.
As I examined the lyrics, willing them to be “not that bad”, I found myself discovering a profound angle on them: These “new rules”, masked in heartbreak and hookup rhetoric, proclaimed truth about sin and discernment. Here is how I read the Chorus:
“1.) Don’t Pick up the phone – you know he’s only calling cause he’s drunk and alone.”
Let’s make the antecedent of “he” the Enemy, who consists of three parts: the world, the flesh, and the devil. The world calls to entice us with riches, pomp, status and pride. The flesh calls out to our carnal desires and invites us to indulge. The devil calls with words of anxiety, fear and gloom.
Saint Ignatius of Loyola, a trusted expert on spiritual discernment, taught that a person who experiences internal movements towards darkness, gloom and earthly things ought not do or change anything suggested by those movements. In other words, if it’s not God, don’t pick up the phone.
“2.) Don’t Let him in: You’ll have to kick him out again.”
It’s one thing to listen to a salesperson at the door of your house. It is another thing to invite her in for coffee. In the same way, though it is discouraging to listen to the whining of the enemy, we never want to give up and allow his lies to take up residence in our hearts and minds. Though the lie may whisper at us all day, we want to keep disagreeing with it!
In addition, most of us have had the experience of battling against a sin, bad habit or relationship – Its hard work! It can take years to rid yourself of these lies or vices. Here, there is wisdom in remembering the lengths we have gone to overcome sin in the past. This memory can motivate us to keep listening to the encouraging spirit of God, not the nagging spirit of the enemy – If only for the fear of having to “kick” the lie out again!
“3.) Don’t be his friend. You know you’re gonna wake up in his bed in the morning”
For some, this might be an encouragement for actual “friends” in your life: sometimes we just need to cut toxic relationships off. However, I would guess that is not the case for most people who have gotten this far into this article. Instead, we may struggle with making “friends” with our sin: “I’m not going to gossip really, I’m just going to give a little juicy information” or “This isn’t a lust-fest, I’m just scrolling a bit on this supermodel’s IG page…” We have a warm feeling around these things. We like them. They like us. We are friends. But there is a problem: these are dangerous friends that can ruin our lives. Lets un-friend these slippery slopes. A prayer I have found freeing is “(insert sin), you are no friend of mine!” Amen.
Thanks for the encouragement, Dua Lipa! I think I’ll keep listening to that song.
-Abraham Gross, SPO Staff
In anticipation of tomorrow’s great feast of our patron, the Conversion of Saint Paul, I would like to invite us all to increase our intercession in a practical way for the mission entrusted to us. As I reflect upon the significance of our calling in today’s culture, I sense it timely to recall the fundamental place in SPO’s mission held by our reliance upon God’s action. In the life of Saint Paul we see this so clearly. Literally, in a moment, God worked decisively to transform the life of the lead persecutor of the early Christians to the lead pioneer of the expansion of the early Church. (Acts 22:3-16)
This was a time of great fear and anxiety for the early Christians as Saul was on the way to arrest more of their brethren. I imagine on that day that the early Christians in Damascus were not just “going about their days” but instead were on their knees fasting and interceding with great vigor for God to work decisively to save them. And our God did not just save them but went far beyond that. He literally transformed the church in that moment by gifting the early Christians with a leader they never could have imagined - a leader whose example and teaching has touched each of our lives deeply 2000 years later!
I think that tomorrow’s special feast of our patron should be one of those kind of “on your knees” days for us – a day to increase our intercession and fasting as we ask God to work decisively in our midst and go far beyond what we can ask or imagine. There is so much to pray for right now around this theme – for each of us to grow more deeply in union with the Lord, for the young people that are praying about how to be generous with their lives next year after graduation, for guidance across the organization as we continue to grow, for the resources we need… Let’s pray for these, but I want to invite us to primarily intercede for “Saul-to-Paul conversions” to happen in our chapters especially in the context of the many Fan Into Flame and other retreats that are being run across the country in the next month.
I’d like to be bold by inviting us to all consider an extra 30 minutes of intercession tomorrow – beyond your normal routine. For me, I feel compelled to take this time at 2am as a vigil to welcome in this special feast, so feel free to join me if you are so inspired. Let’s storm the gates of heaven and beg for God to work in power and in might! Saint Paul, the Apostle, Pray for us!
Yours in Christ,
Andrew Kebe (Ohio Mission Center Director & National Program Director)
Socio-political commentary hijacked the Golden Globes this year. On Sunday night, we beheld a room full of A-list celebrities dressed head-to-toe in black, a statement of solidarity with the #TimesUp movement. We saw that room shake with ironic laughter as Seth Meyers opened his monologue with, “Good evening, ladies and remaining gentlemen.” We heard an overkill of these cheeky remarks, such as Natalie Portman snarkily introducing “the all-male nominees” for Best Director.
Later in the evening, we watched an elegant and sparkly Oprah Winfrey stand up in front of the entire nation and hold forth for ten minutes about “the power” (a.k.a., men) and the women who can finally take no more of it. “We live in culture broken by brutally powerful men,” Oprah thundered.
“For too long women have not been heard or believed if they dared to speak their truth to the power of those men. But their time is up.”
She trumpeted the praises of “every woman who chooses to say ‘me too’”, and condescendingly added with lowered voice, “and every man who chooses … to listen”, as if speaking to a naughty child. It was like a veiled threat addressed to all men, letting them know: women are in charge now.
Don’t misunderstand me; I agree that sexual misconduct is absolutely unacceptable and speaking out against it is an important step towards change. There’s also no doubt that oppression of women by men is a historical reality and that women have had to suffer and sacrifice for the status they now enjoy in our culture. Empowering women is a noble cause.
What I find alarming about the #TimesUp movement, however, especially as we saw it manifest at the Golden Globes, is that at times it sounds less like a cultural corrective and more like a battle cry. It effectively pits women against men, if not in intention then at least in tone. It lifts women up, but often at the expense of men, making them out to be sex-crazed scumbags who don’t know how to take a hint. The loudest voices of the #MeToo movement seem to want to make their point by intimidating and shaming men (except, of course, those few who have been tamed and re-educated by women); Meyers’ quip that “it’s been years since a white man was this nervous in Hollywood” is telling.
The solution to male-dominated sexism is not simply to turn the tables on men. Man-hating is not the answer to sexism; it’s just its nasty twin sister.
At this confusing and emotional moment in our culture’s history, the voice of the Church is more needed than ever. Our faith helps us understand our sexual differences and the problems arising from them. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that the relationship between man and woman has always been threatened by discord, a spirit of domination, infidelity, jealousy, and conflicts that can escalate into hatred and separation. This disorder can manifest itself more or less acutely, and can be more or less overcome according to the circumstances of cultures, eras, and individuals, but it does seem to have a universal character (1606).
In other words, we shouldn’t be so shocked that men and women sometimes still act naughty towards each other, even in a culture that claims to be as progressive and enlightened as ours. Gasp! Ah yes, my friends, this is part of the human condition. Which brings me to the next point from the Catechism:
"According to faith the disorder we notice so painfully does not stem from the nature of man and woman, nor from the nature of their relations, but from sin … the first sin had for its first consequence the rupture of the original communion between man and woman. Their relations were distorted by mutual recriminations; their mutual attraction, the Creator's own gift, changed into a relationship of domination and lust (1607)."
A spirit of antagonism and rivalry between men and women, then, is not part of God’s design but rather a consequence of sin. Our differences, designed to draw us together in love, are now all too often occasions of domination, lust, jealousy, and conflict. We watched the results unfold at the Golden Globes: oppression and sexual misconduct by men, met with resentment and patronization by women.
Also—did you catch it?—the Catechism just said that, after our relationship with God, the relationship between the sexes is the first thing affected by the Fall. What does this tell us? It tells us that the way we relate to one another as men and women is a big. stinking. deal. It’s the aspect of human life that looks most like our relationship with God; no wonder it has come under such violent attack. Still, Christ comes to restore what was broken by the Fall, and He desires to bring healing and unity where there is hurt and conflict between men and women. Christ reminds us through the teachings of His Church that man and woman were made "for each other" - not that God left them half-made and incomplete: he created them to be a communion of persons, in which each can be "helpmate" to the other, for they are equal as persons and complementary as masculine and feminine (CCC 372).
We observe that men and women are different, and our American brains can hardly resist the urge to ask, but who is, like, better different, you know? But the Church is saying something else: that the differences between men and women are designed for our mutual enrichment. It is good that men are not like women; it is good that women are not like men. But what is very good is when we come together and leverage our differences for God’s greater glory and the common good.
This isn’t easy. It demands sacrifice, humility, and lot of grace. We have to let go of our desire to be better, to be first, to be in control. As Saint Paul exhorted husbands and wives in Ephesus, “be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21). His words apply not to married couples only, but to all men and women in the family of God.
That is the part of the story that we didn’t hear at the Golden Globes, the part that was drowned out by sarcasm and vitriol. But it is the truth that we, as Catholics, are called to defend. Authentic empowerment of women must be arm-in-arm with authentic empowerment of men. Then perhaps the Golden Globes can give up activism and go back to its day job.
Author: Sarah S., SPO Alum
"This year has gotten off to a great start. Here in Texas, we have not one but two weeks of Welcome Week and were fortunate enough to host Barbasol and Pure Silk Men's and Women's Nights to build relationships with new students in fun ways.
The men played Extreme Dodgeball, including exciting versions of dodgeball such as three-legged, one-legged, and shaving cream dodgeball. Afterwards, they headed back to the men's house for an oven full of wings and enjoyed the warm evening on the deck watching the football game. There was such good camaraderie that there was a group of guys hanging out until 2 in the morning having intentional conversations about the Lord.
The women enjoyed a fabulous evening at the women's house hosting a Coffeehouse. The large group of women reached some great discussions on "Who Are We?", the night's theme and content of discussion. The women talked about their identity as daughters of God which spurned good relationships and conversations. Tea, coffee, hot chocolate, and other cozy beverages and snacks contributed to the snug and homey atmosphere.
The community as a whole is very excited to keep growing these Men's and Women's Nights to see what the Lord has in store."
nothing stands between
a girl and her coffee (and Jesus, right?)
"if you can dodge a wrench...
you can dodge a ball."
Over the past two weeks, SPO has been preparing students for battle. Our college campuses need people who are filled with the fire of faith and conviction: missionaries to proclaim the Good News to the broken and lost. SNE trains these missionaries. This summer, more than 400 students stepped up to the plate, traveling to Minnesota and Ohio to attend a week-long training conference called the School of the New Evangelization. They are SPO's 2017-2018 Missionary Corps.
With growing attendance, SNE was strategically split into two locations over two different weeks.
SNE Minnesota began first, ramping up on Saturday, August 5, and winding down on the 12th at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.
SNE Ohio followed immediately thereafter, beginning Saturday, August 12 and preparing to wrap up on the 19th at Damascus Catholic Mission Campus in Centerburg, Ohio.
Why two locations in two different weeks?
- The student-to-staff ratio is smaller. This allows for personal/direct care and attention to be given to each student.
- Lodging can remain spacious and comfortable. With limited accommodations and growing numbers, it's important to provide comfort with a week-long conference.
- Travel costs were minimized. Participants were able to attend a SNE location closer to their college campus.
- More time before school. Students attending schools that start earlier in the year were able to attend the earlier SNE.
The Result: Two weeks filled with impactful training, powerful worship, and intentional living.
Saturday: Arrival day. Students settle in, receive orientation, and try to remember the names of the other 200 participants they just met.
Sunday: Retreat day. The days to come are going to be filled with teaching on how to be on mission, but we cannot begin to serve others if we ourselves aren’t filled with the Holy Spirit.
Monday – Wednesday: Session days. The mornings are filled with prayer, adoration, confession, and a plenary session attended by all participants. The afternoons are split into breakout sessions, one for returning SNE attendees and one for first-timers.
Thursday: The big day. This is probably the most anxious day of the week. Here, SNE returners have the option to take everything they just learned about mission and evangelization and put into practice. At 2:30 in the afternoon, students head off-site, two by two, to practice bringing the gospel to strangers they met on the street and pray with many of them on the spot. Students may head off with trepidation, but they return with brilliant and joyful spirits.
Friday: Closing day. Students and staff are all pleasantly tired from the week of intense training, but are also reticent to say goodbye to the many new friendships created. The night is closed with a banquet, talent show, and warm embraces.
Saturday: Departure day. Participants pack, clean, and wave goodbye. Upon settling into their homes for this school year, they discover 100 friend requests await on Facebook and Instagram.
Pictures from SNE Minnesota
Pictures from SNE Ohio (photo credit: Rebecca Loomis Media)
Here We Go!
Over the past two weeks, more than 400 students from 33 college campuses have received comprehensive training on the art of peer evangelization. These Student Missionaries are now prepared and invigorated to fight the spiritual battles that are ranging on our universities. Please pray for our students and SPO Mission Leaders as they bring the gospel to the lives of thousands of students across the nation!
"Going out to the middle of the woods with no technology with a bunch of guys I haven’t met yet couldn’t possibly be better than traveling to the beach for spring break.” That is what I thought before leaving for the woods of North Carolina with a bunch of guys from Rutgers University and Florida State.Read More
It takes more than just a good idea to start up a successful ministry that has lasted over 30 years. Saint Paul's Outreach president and founder shares his personal story of conversion and how that sparked his mission to bring evangelization to college campuses across the country.
"Do I have what it takes?"
John Eldridge, author of the book Wild at Heart, says this is the question that haunts every man. It strikes at the core of his identity as a son of God.
At the Catholic Student Union at Florida State, we want men to know that they do have what it takes. This is possible by knowing that we are beloved sons of God, and then living a life that reflects it. The motto for our men's group this year is, "Becoming the Complete Christian Man." It is a lifelong process, but we believe that we know the way (John 14:6).
Barbasol Men's Nights have helped us bring guys in and build them up into mature men who are then ready to be leaders in their community. Our events ranged from powerful talks and prayer to climbing rock walls - all of which build bonds of authentic brotherhood. The Barbasol Men's Retreat, which used Wild at Heart as an inspiration, was the culmination and highlight of what has been a great semester.
We went away for a day, camping at a beautiful pecan farm, complete with plenty of space, trees, and a few lakes. The focus of the weekend was to recapturing our identity as men and gaining a vision of what the life of a Christian man should look like.
Mike Hyatt, a 2nd year Mission Leader said, "It's living with a reckless abandon for the Lord. Everything we have - our mind, strength, and will - can be given back to God." There were a number of great discussions as well as quality time to build brotherhood (i.e., building bonfires, trap shooting, and playing sports.) The cherry on top was handing out free Barbasol shaving cream at the end of the weekend!
Read how students felt the the Lord impact their lives over just a weekend:
"This weekend gave me more encouragement. Seeing so many of my brothers pushing themselves to grow in their faith encourages me to grow in mine." - JR
"What I got out of this weekend is to be more confident and to not be afraid to look dumb [because I pray with other people and talk about God] discussing the bigger issues of life."
"I learned how to be closer to God - how to battle evil in our day-to-day lives [and gain more of an understanding on] being adventurous and getting out of my comfort zone."
Armed with free steak, free Barbasol samples, and free t-shirts, we had the makings of a sure-fire success. Approximately 60 students came through and got their fill of steak, cooked to perfection, and stayed to enjoy a night filled with conversation, brotherhood, and a bonfire. This seemingly casual night, however, was an intentional and great step for something more...Read More