The Good Word 2017 April

GTCC Alumni e-Newsletter
April 2017       Vol. MMXVII        Issue 7

Helluva Chaplain's Corner

Dear GT Alumni, Parents, and Friends,
We have begun the celebration of the Sacred Triduum at the Catholic Center.  The Triduum is the Church's memorial of those fateful three days at the end of Christ's earthly life, including his Passion, Death, and Resurrection. We have been preparing for these days since November, when our Holy Week choir began its musical selections and rehearsals. Words cannot express how excited we are for these coming days!
Last night, Holy Thursday, we began our commemoration of those holy and mysterious events.  About 375 gathered in a Chapel that normally seats 220.  I was thrilled to have so many priests and several of our seminarians join us. The Chapel looked beautiful and the music was simply amazing!  I was nearly brought to tears listening to the Palestrina's Kyrie from the Missa Papae Marcelli.
I hope you enjoy this update of our activities at the Catholic Center.  So many wonderful things are happening, and I am so proud of our students who are at the center of all our initiatives.  We are already planning for Fall Welcome Week, and anticipate a great group of young people who will encounter Christ in a unique and profound way here at the Catholic Center next year.
A word of gratitude to all of you who support our efforts with your donations and your prayers: truly God is doing something marvelous here, and we could not do it without you.  If you are in Atlanta and would like to join us for any of our Holy Week events, we would love to have you, and I look forward to seeing many of you at our upcoming Donor Brunch.

God Bless,

Students Serve the Poor in Peru
Connor Nies, BA '18

Suffering—one of my first takeaways from the annual Peru GTCC Mission Trip was how strongly the people of Lima identify with suffering. The city is home to some 11 million people. This time of year there is high heat and even higher humidity, yet it never rains. The entire city was without running water for at least 3 days the week we stayed. There are mudslides, rockslides, and earthquakes throughout the country. The majority of the city’s people are poor and have to work long, hard hours. The air they breathe is polluted and filled with dust. It is quite easy to understand, then, how everywhere you go in the city, Catholic icons are represented graphically and sorrowfully, and with a greater focus on suffering. Even the city’s great patron, St. Rose of Lima, is known for the tremendous sufferings she took on in her life. The people of Peru have sought and relate very well to a God who came down and suffered for and with them. This special and beautiful relationship is seen all throughout their culture.
We came face to face with this suffering in our work with the residents (the “neighbors”) of Pamplona Alta. Father Josh has brought down groups to work on various projects in different areas of the shantytown over the last five or so years, but this year we returned to the area where he began. We spent the week working with a team of neighbors and missionaries to build a retaining wall over a section of the city. The wall serves a crucial purpose in elevating the standard of living of the families who live beneath it. It first provides a barrier to rockslides which could wipe out everything in their path. It also provides a foundation for a road. Once a road is in place, government water trucks can deliver to areas around the road. This is a tremendous help for folks living around the wall because if water is delivered to them, they don’t have to climb up hundreds of steps to bring water to their homes. Finally, the wall is a critical step in being able to apply for electricity and even land ownership...   Full Story

Sisters of Life Speak at the CC

Stephanie Shipley, FOCUS Missionary

On March 6, the Catholic Center hosted Sister Gemma Grace and Sister Bethany Madonna, both consecrated Sisters of Life, in an event titled “Experiencing the Father’s Love.” More than 200 students filled the Chapel to hear the Sisters. Sister Gemma Grace is a graduate of Georgia Tech. She gave a moving testimony of her vocational discernment, which mostly took place while at GT. Sister Bethany Madonna is a renowned speaker who has inspired audiences all over including those at World Youth Day and SEEK conferences. With a lively disposition and captivating stories, Sister Bethany described the depth of God’s love for us and His desire for a personal relationship with each of us. She reminded us to come to Christ in our weakness so that He can relieve the burdens that we cannot carry. By listening and trusting in Him, we can discover our God-given gifts and attributes and God's will and purpose for us on this earth.

Earlier that day, the Sisters joined the FOCUS missionaries on campus to talk to students from all walks of life about the Catholic Faith. We are so grateful that the Sisters joined us on campus and shared their beautiful witness with so many of our students. In our conversations with students at the end of the day, it was evident that the words and presence of the Sisters left a lasting impact in each and everyone.

Knights Host Valentine's Day Dinner

Alberto Sainz de la Peña, ID '18

The men of the Catholic Center pulled out all stops for the ladies at the annual Valentine’s Dinner, hosted by the Knights of Columbus.  More than 50 men volunteered to provide the ladies of the Catholic Center with a truly special evening. The basement floor of the Catholic Center was transformed into a 5-star restaurant - complete with coat check, fully-trained wait staff, and beautifully-arranged candlelit tables. The roughly-80 ladies who attended were treated to a 3-course meal, two musical serenades, and handwritten letters from the men of the CC. The ladies were then able to enjoy the Valentines photo booth as the restaurant was converted to the dance floor. The rest of the night was spent dancing the night away!

Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cancer Home

Kristine Lacek, Bio '20

Louise and Franklin have been married for 57 years. They met at church when he was 18 and she was 16, and knew right away that they wanted to be together. When they were married, Franklin vowed to love Louise in sickness and in health. He has—every day as they were raising their two children, every day as she served as the executive director of the National Council of Negro Women, and now, every day he pulls a chair up to her bedside, takes hold of her hand, and he loves her. Every single day, he sits with her at OLPH, sometimes naps with her, and talks to her. Louise cannot respond much anymore, but Franklin knows she hears him.

It was through Outreach at OLPH that I had the joy of meeting this faithful couple. I have never been so humbled and astounded by the devotion I witnessed in that room. Another volunteer and I visited with Louise and Franklin for what turned out to be three hours, just listening to Franklin tell their touching love story. We witnessed so much hope in a room where, anyplace else, could be filled with so much despair.

Louise and the other patients at OLPH stay under the care of nurses for no charge to them or their families. Students from the Catholic Center visit patients with the intentions of leaving them with painted crosses and a song, but instead, we leave with so much more. We leave with their priceless stories.

Men's Discernment Retreat
Thomas Gaines, BA '17

On Friday, February 24th, several carloads of Georgia Tech students loaded up and travelled to LifeTeen Covecrest, 2 hours north of Atlanta. We were excited to kickoff the annual Men’s Discernment Retreat and to enter into a time of prayer and reflection. Father Josh gave several talks on topics ranging from discernment to seminary to life as a priest. After each talk throughout the day, we were given time to reflect and spend time in prayer. We also got to relax and enjoy nature. We were blessed to have Mass in a beautiful chapel a short walk away. Later in the evening we had a Q&A session with Fr. Josh along with Fr. Matthew Dalrymple, who also gave us his vocations story.
The entire weekend was filled with so many graces. Father Josh made clear how to properly discern your vocation and embrace God’s will, wherever it may call you. The entire experience was exactly what a retreat should be. You could see people scattered about between talks praying, reading Scripture, relaxing, or going to Father Josh for spiritual direction. The retreat “demystified” discernment to a lot of us who came. It was a real gift for all to be able to attend and enjoy some time off campus reflecting on God’s plan for each of us.

Alumni Spotlight

The Ediger Family
David Ediger PhD '13

Michelle and I met at the Catholic Center in 2009.  In those days, Fr. Tim Hepburn and I were trying to figure out how many Catholic graduate students were on campus and what they needed spiritually.  Michelle set us on the right track by organizing a weekly Graduate Bible Study every Tuesday night that continues to this day.
A university campus is an exciting place for Christian ministry because it brings together thoughtful young people from all over the world and all walks of life.  Our graduate student group became a large extended family that looked after and supported each other.  More than a few people met their spouses there and we have celebrated many baptisms together over the years.  Michelle and I were married in June 2012.  Our daughter, Molly Elizabeth, was born in December 2014 and we are expecting another baby girl this June.
The Catholic Center is a fantastic space for young people to explore their faith and how the Church works in modern society.  It is a living lab in which students learn leadership, teamwork, and business skills while at the same time deepening their understanding of the world around them.  For many, it is an opportunity to be properly catechized in the foundations, history, and traditions of our faith.  Students today are searching for answers to critical questions in society, and it of great importance that the Church be there to support them.  It is so exciting to watch as each class of students develops into knowledgeable and thoughtful Catholic servants.
Michelle and I stepped back from our day-to-day roles at the Catholic Center when Molly was born.  We left the group in the loving hands of many of our closest friends, and the ministry continues to thrive.  We now live in Smyrna, Georgia and attend St. Thomas the Apostle parish where we are raising our family with other young families from the Tech Catholic Center.  The blessings that we received there continue to bear fruit in our lives.

(Left) Michelle and David in 2010 at Sweetwater Creek State Park with the Catholic Center Graduate and Young Professional Ministry (Right) David, Michelle, Molly, and Baby Sister

Development Update

Patty Schmitt, Development Director, IM'88

Dear alumni, parents and friends, We are so grateful for your donations and prayers! You make this ministry possible! The CC is as busy as ever with events and programs to support our ever growing congregation. Unfortunately, this academic year we are lagging behind in our fundraising efforts to cover our operational and programming needs. Through February, we have raised 54% of our goal of $362,233. We need your help! Our spring appeal went out last week with a letter from Fr. Josh and a remittance envelope. Please prayerfully consider supporting our mission and the wonderful students of Georgia Tech. Make an on-line donation, either recurring or one-time, here. I hope to see you on April 23 at Mass followed by our Donor Appreciation Brunch. All are welcome! Details and RSVP are here. Have a joyous Easter! God Bless!
Upcoming Events

April 16 - Easter Sunday
April 23 - Donor Appreciation Brunch
April 30 - Graduation Party
Support the Catholic Center at Georgia Tech by donating through the following links!