A Joy Filled Life at Ohio Dominican University

By Sam Subler, Senior at Ohio Dominican University 

Men's household at odu (Sam, 2nd from the left)

Men's household at odu (Sam, 2nd from the left)

The Lord has been about a mighty work at Ohio Dominican University by guiding the mission of Saint Paul’s Outreach! Over the past year, there is a clear movement initiated by Christ to show his love for his sons and daughters at ODU.  At the beginning of the year, SPO had only affected the lives of several students across campus.  I have been blessed to run alongside my peers and the SPO missionaries in order to grow closer in my personal relationship with Christ and see the Lord working on campus.  Through amusing activities, corporate worship, and evangelistic outreach, SPO has brought the light of a life with Jesus Christ to the campus of ODU.

ODU students at Fan into Flame Retreat

ODU students at Fan into Flame Retreat

This life with Christ instilled by SPO is filled with joy and one that stands apart from the average college experience at ODU.  The activities we have done have caught the eye of many students, and these students cannot help but ask about the joy and adventure we live in.  After one trip of carrying a large inflatable raft across campus in order to raft down the creek that runs behind ODU, at least 10 students asked when they could join us for the next rafting trip.  After an afternoon hanging out on the oval in front of the classroom buildings playing spikeball and frisbee, at least 15 other students joined in the joyful festivities.  Through these actions and other encounters with students, we were blessed to have over 20 students join us for our Barbasol Men’s Day and Pure Silk Women’s Day where we introduced them to why we are filled with joy: Jesus Christ.  All of these activities allowed students to encounter true joy in living a life of adventure with Christ.

ODU students at Pure Silk Women's Retreat

ODU students at Pure Silk Women's Retreat

The activities put on by SPO has allowed us to invite these students into the important aspect of communal worship.  Through the leadership of the SPO missionaries and students, campus has been a vibrant environment for communal and individual prayer.  Monday through Thursday at 7 a.m., a group of the SPO community meets in the chapel to praise and worship the Lord in song and psalm with the Liturgy of the Hours.  While 7am may not seem too early, it has been a struggle for many students considering the first class offered at ODU is at 8.  Alongside morning prayer, every Sunday an hour after mass, the SPO community leads night prayer as well as fellowship afterwards.  Through the support of Campus Ministry and the campus Priest, Father Paul, we were able to hold Stations of the Cross on Fridays during Lent as well as hold Eucharistic Adoration and the Holy Mass on Monday nights in a small chapel located inside of one of the main dorms.  With a culture of prayer being built on campus this year through SPO, students are experiencing and coming to know the love Jesus.  

All of these opportunities have allowed a strong growing community of Christians to make a mark on campus at ODU.  This community has impacted many lives on campus through the missionaries and students leading Bible Studies and small groups for campus.  Through the evangelistic outreach by SPO, student leaders are being brought up to participate in Men’s and Women’s Household in the dorms.  This past year, the Men’s house has been a light in my own life to guide me towards Christ, and next year six students (Alex, Cassady, Daniel, Emily, Hannah, and Zachary, please pray for them!) will be participating in the Men’s and Women’s Household program which is twice as many as this past year!  These students will be led by missionaries just like the students this past year to organize and lead events to invite people into lives with Christ.  One of the biggest victories the Lord has claimed this year is through ODU’s RCIA program where one of my best friends, Alex Serna, received the sacraments of Holy Communion and Confirmation.  Alex has been a witness to the SPO Community, his classmates, and his cross country teammates throughout the process of RCIA and coming into the fullness of the Church.  The Lord is truly leading his sons and daughters to his love through the evangelistic efforts of SPO at ODU.

There is no doubt in my mind that even as I graduate, the Lord will continue the mighty work he is about at ODU.  Although I will not be seeing the work of SPO and Christ at ODU this next year, I know the Lord will impact the lives of many just as he has this year.  The Lord claimed lives this year and has inspired students to live differently.  This year, students at ODU have stepped out from the darkness into the light and see the joyous difference of a life with Christ!

Barbasol Men's Nights: Learning the Art of True Masculinity

By Michael Auletta, Junior at The Ohio State University

What is a man? Where do we find them? Where can we learn to be one?

In our society, there are vague lines about how we as boys identify as men. Some believe it is the level of success you achieve in life. Others believe this is determined by a man’s physical size, such as his muscles or height. Still others focus on a man’s facial hair. There are different avenues in today’s culture that lead to where a man learns how to be a man. Some of those roads lead to pride and short gains of euphoria.

In SPO we strive to be more than just men. Our goal is to learn how to become men of Christ. One way we build authentic masculinity is Barbasol Men's Night. It is a night where guys can just "bro" out and be men together. First these nights start off with men getting together and participating in a physical activity that challenges each other. Whether that is frisbee, armless wrestling, dodgeball, football, or the causal poker night. These are great ways to hang out, exert ourselves physically, and challenge each other in a safe, healthy, and intentional way.

After the fun, the bros sojourn to Antioch, one of the SPO men's houses here in Ohio, to dig in on a hearty meal. Meals have included steak nights, baked potatoes, burgers, gumbo, or even Thomas Castelluccio’s brisket. After eating and relaxing, we then are introduced into a topic of discussion for the evening about masculinity. These talks have included many different aspects that encompass what it means to truly be a man of Christ, a son of God, and a serving brother.

A wise person once told me that if you want to be good at something, not only does practice make perfect, but you must surround yourself with people who have the same desires as you so that you can keep each other accountable. Men's Nights provide a place where you can meet new guys for the first time and form deep rooted relationships.

So why do all this I just described? Why dive deep into learning how to be a man of the faith? Because being a man has pressure all around it from today’s culture. Men are looked to as leaders in their families, the priesthood, and in the workplace. Men's Nights provide an environment for men to learn true masculinity and help build each other up to become better men of Christ.