Ohio Banquet 2016: A Light in the Darkness

By Anna Dillon, Senior at The Ohio State University

It looked like a typical Thursday night on the campus of The Ohio State University. Students were busy: some studying, some working, and some partying. As I was walking back to my SPO Household on 12th Avenue, the loud, house party across the street was strikingly different than the celebration I had just attended. 

That Thursday night over 600 students, staff, and supporters of Saint Paul’s Outreach gathered to celebrate the amazing work God is doing in the lives of college students.  We came together to recognize the incredible love and goodness of Jesus Christ, whose light shines much greater than the darkness that prevails in our world.  It was a time to share in the joyous experience of faith that Saint Paul’s Outreach proclaims on campus everyday to so many college students.  

In his keynote address that night, Bishop Fredrick F. Campbell, the bishop of the Diocese of Columbus, spoke of John Henry Newman’s life and works.  Amidst trials, Newman said, “I have not sinned against the light.”  It is this light that St. Paul spoke of in 2 Corinthians 4:6: “For God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to bring to light the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”  We strive to give witness to this light in Saint Paul’s Outreach.

We were privileged to hear Meg Heller and Dan McKeon, seniors involved with Saint Paul’s Outreach at Ohio State, share how this witness impacted them.  It was clear through their stories that there is a real need for truth on our college campuses.  Meg and Dan spoke of an undeniable light and hope that shone through the darkness of the world, drawing them into a deeper relationship with the Lord, and enabling to become leaders within the Catholic community at Ohio State.

Adding to this sense of hope, there were a number of exciting announcements at the banquet.  First, SPO officially announced the recent purchase of a large Women’s Household on Ohio State’s campus.  Owning this property will allow SPO to operate more sustainably on campus at OSU and provide a home base for mission and hospitality for our entire community for years to come.  Secondly, it was announced that SPO Ohio would be hosting the first expansion of the School of the New Evangelization outside of Minnesota.  This week-long conference will equip more students to share the Gospel and to be strong Catholic men and women.  This has been made possible only through the care of our loving Father and the incredible generosity of our supporters.

Looking to God as our light, we can be confident in the work of Saint Paul’s Outreach.  Every invitation our missionaries make to a Bible study or small group on campus is actually an invitation to a personal relationship with the Lord Himself.  Every Household dinner is an example of the Father’s unconditional love and faithfulness.  Every conversation our students have on campus about faith is a participation in the victory that Christ has won for us on the Cross.  It is He who calls us on to love and to serve in profound ways.  He is our light and He will continue to shine through the darkness.

May the Lord continue to bless the mission, the students, the staff, and the supporters of Saint Paul’s Outreach!

Watch Meg explain how the Lord chose to shine His light through the darkness in her first year of college: