SNE Fuels New Jersey's First Season of Mission

The school year is now in full swing and the 2017-2018 Missionary Corps (made up of Missionaries and student leaders) have been working hard to reach as many new students as possible. The first week of school is jam-packed with activities because this is the time when the new students are looking for some place to belong, and many will make the decision of where to invest their time within the first week or two of the school year. Parties, BBQs, dorm storms, freezie-pops at the involvement fair, free coffee, pick up games of frisbee and soccer - all these efforts are made in hopes of meeting new faces on campus. In New Jersey, at both Seton Hall University and Rutgers University, the first few opening weeks of school are dedicated to an intense season of “reach” - a time in the mission when the goal is to meet as many students as possible in hopes that they come to know Christ through the SPO community.

To prepare for this mission-intense season and to fuel the rest of the year, student leaders are invited to a week long conference called the School of the New Evangelization (SNE). This year, 36 students from Seton Hall and Rutgers traveled to Ohio to be trained in campus evangelization at SNE.

The theme from SNE this year was “Into the World.” The Lord does not call us to hide from the world in the comfort of our own Churches and communities. He calls us to be on mission in the world, and for missionaries and college students, the mission is the college campus. SNE provides students from across the country a time to be together to be convicted of the urgency of the mission set before them and pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in their hearts and on the campus. SNE also equips students practically through workshops of evangelization and prayer. It is something special to have the opportunity to pray with 200 other students for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit, to meet students from across the country who share a similar experience of household life, charismatic worship, desire to go out on mission, and relationship with Jesus Christ.

The effect of SNE on students who attended was apparent at all of these welcome week activities at both Seton Hall and Rutgers. At Rutgers, the Catholic Student Association hosts a week of events called CRUSH Week (“Catholic Rush Week”). These events range from a Hog Roast to a epic scavenger hunt across the campuses. What really made the environments at the CRUSH week events, was the student outreach. Typically, there are a few people with the “missionary eye” who are able to work the room and seek out those new students. This year, however, all the student leaders really caught the vision and bought into the idea of evangelization. There was not one new student at any of the events that was forgotten. This was a huge testament to SNE which not only set our students on fire for the mission, but equipped them to be able to go out and actually do the things we learned about upon returning to Rutgers.

Fueled by an intense week of prayer, fellowship, and equipping, students at both Seton Hall and Rutgers, left SNE with an experience of true missionary joy and a desire to set their campus on fire.

Read these students testimonies of SNE and how the Lord convicted and encouraged them to go out on mission this year:

One of the most difficult things about living as a young Catholic in the 21st century is the feeling that you are alone in trying to live a faithful Christian life. So much about the world around us seems to scream the exact opposite of what Christ taught, and so you feel like you need to choose: run away from the world around you, or not live up to Christ’s call. Of course, Christ’s call to us is that we go out into the world...[Often in the Christian life], we feel like we can get by with half-measures, but actually we are called to love as Christ loved, which means to give everything of ourselves, and that is a frightening thought indeed. As a means of combatting that fear, however, I doubt I could have asked for something much better than a week at SNE, which served as a witness to the powerful faith of so many other young Catholics, an opportunity to create incredible relationships and memories with them, and an absolute blessing to grow closer to God by worshipping alongside them. Our faith always tells us, “be not afraid,” and that seems far more possible when we truly recognize our place in the Body of Christ, the Church, He left behind for us. And I cannot thank SNE enough for the chance to realize that more fully.
— Jess Madeira (student at Rutgers University)
The Lord really blessed me during SNE with a new fire for the mission to which we are all called. He helped me to see just how badly the world needs to know Him and how important it is for all of us to witness to others about God’s love...God helped me to rediscover the joy of living in His love and how necessary it is to bring others to His love too.
— Josh Besas (student at Rutgers Unviersity)
Many of the talks given at SNE helped me realize exactly why our mission and the relationships we build are so important. I am really convinced that people’s eternal lives are stake. As I set out on mission at Seton Hall I am constantly remembering this urgency and reminding myself that a few moments of potential awkwardness are worth another person’s soul.
— Liz Newman (student at Seton Hall)