The Good Word 2017 February

GTCC Alumni e-Newsletter
February 2017       Vol. MMXVI        Issue 6

Helluva Chaplain's Corner

Dear GT Alumni, Parents, and Friends,
We are now well into the Spring Semester here at the Catholic Center.  Already our year is off to a great start.  We began the year by bringing 85 students to SEEK, a conference organized by FOCUS designed to set our hearts on fire for Christ.  We just returned from the March for Life with about 60 students, and we will be bringing close to that number with us on our Mission Trip to Peru at Spring Break.  Our RCIA class this year is huge, and participation in our weekly events is incredible. 
I hope you enjoy this update on the goings on at the Catholic Center.  Please pray for our students: they are the hope not just of the Church, but of our society.  And as always, thank you to those of you who support us financially.  We simply could not continue this important ministry without you.
I look forward to seeing many of your at our Donor Brunch on April 23.

God Bless,

March for Life
Brandon Gerberich, BME'19, PhD/MBA

Eager after an overnight bus ride from Atlanta, our 60-strong busload (largest in GTCC history!) of students poured onto the National Mall for the annual March for Life in Washington DC. I am humbled to have been among so many fellow GT students who would give public witness to their faith despite contrary popular opinion which sparked recent national tensions.  
This year’s March was notably punctuated by the appearance of Mike Pence - the highest ranking US official to ever visit the March. Understandably, security was tight. We were in for a rude awakening when informed that we could not bring our Vatican and Georgia Tech flags into the rally. For the average person (or the exceptional UGA student) this would have been a problem. As for us, we did what Georgia Tech students do best and devised a “helluva” workaround. After promptly deconstructing the flagpoles in true engineering fashion, we instead passed through security by wearing the flags as capes (think superheroes).  
Ahead, a stunning silence veiled the Supreme Court Building under a cold gray cloud cover at a distance from the gathering multitude - a silence ironically reflective of the history within. After the initial rally, we set out with what struck me as a surprisingly large number of other young marchers. A popular sign read, “We are the pro-life generation”. As one who is fortunate to frequent the GTCC, I know that if those GTCC students on the March represent our future leaders (which they most certainly do), then the future of this important movement is bright with hope.


SEEK 2017

Rachel Millsaps, IE '19

This past Christmas break I was blessed with the opportunity to travel with 85 Georgia Tech students to San Antonio, TX for SEEK 2017. SEEK is a five day conference sponsored by FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) that allows Catholic college students all across the nation to come together and grow stronger in their faith.
Each day of SEEK began with Eucharistic Adoration and Mass followed by talks on a variety of topics such as moral relativism, God’s existence, prayer, discernment, evangelization, and so much more. One of my favorite talks was from Father Mike Schmitz on the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  After listening to Father Mike, my outlook on this Sacrament that I once dreaded, changed completely. Father Mike stressed to us that the reason Jesus came was to forgive our sins, and He gave Confession to His Church as a means of accepting the gift of His forgiveness on the cross. By going to Confession we say, “Lord, I will not let your victory on the cross go wasted on me.”  That night there were 300 priests hearing Confessions. Myself and around 5,000 other young Catholics went to receive the love and mercy of our Lord through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It was an experience I will never forget.
SEEK was remarkable in so many ways, and I am a better Catholic now because of it. I am thankful to have the Georgia Tech Catholic Center in my life. It’s an environment that not only pushes me to grow in my own faith but also provides me a community of friends who like me, are striving to live an authentic Catholic life. 

Donor Spotlight

Mrs. Peg Patrick

My husband, Deacon Chuck Patrick, and I moved to Georgia from the Diocese of Gary, Indiana in 2005 to be close to our children and grandchildren. Chuck served at St. Theresa Catholic Church in Douglasville until his death in 2012. Growing up, Chuck’s family could not afford Catholic school, so he wanted our children to have a Catholic education. Our three daughters went to Catholic grade school, high school, and graduated from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College in Terre Haute, Indiana.
I had the opportunity to visit the Georgia Tech Catholic Center several times in the past. I was always delighted to meet students during my visits. It is interesting to me to learn how they found the Catholic Center. Some said a student invited them, some looked for the center while on a tour of the Georgia Tech campus, and others said they noticed the center in passing on the way to class or to the dorms. I see the Catholic Center as a gathering place for Mass, fellowship, spiritual enrichment and a good place for students to feel welcomed.
I like seeing a Catholic presence in a university environment. I am happy to support Father Josh Allen and the Catholic Center in its mission to serve the students of Georgia Tech.

RCIA Retreat

Jonathan Edwards,  IE‘18 

On January 20-22, twenty three members of the RCIA class and their sponsors held their annual retreat at the GTCC. The Knights of Columbus opened the weekend by hosting a game night for all members of the Catholic Center. Students took part in a ping-pong tournament, others argued over games of Monopoly and Uno, and several enjoyed the finer things in life while sitting around a bonfire on the front patio. 

On Saturday morning, the sponsors cooked a hearty breakfast in preparation for a long day of talks and small group discussions. Students delivered presentations on the three Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Eucharist, and Confirmation). The FOCUS missionaries cooked lunch and shared their personal testimonies with the RCIA community. Eucharistic adoration was held throughout the day. The sponsors adored in shifts and prayed for the candidates and for the success of the retreat. The climax of the weekend came on Saturday evening: a beautiful candlelit Mass (with over 300 candles!) followed by adoration with musician Patrick Williams who led the group in song and prayerful worship. For many of the candidates, this experience was their first encounter with Christ in the Eucharist. Following adoration, the candidates and sponsors shared one-on-one discussions where candidates spoke about the Lord moving in their heart. 
It was evident that Christ touched many of the candidates' hearts throughout the retreat. As one sponsor shared, "there are few things more beautiful than someone being in wonder of the beauty found in Christ in the Eucharist for the first time." Please pray for our RCIA candidates as they continue this journey to grow closer to Christ and enter the Church.
Greek and Athletics Outreach

Deidre Merrill, FOCUS Missionary

The Lord is doing amazing things within the Georgia Tech Greek community and in athletics. We have bibles studies in seven out of the eight sorority houses. We hold monthly Greek Women’s Night where all the Greek women come together to grow in community as sisters in Christ. The men also have a Greek bible study for all men in fraternities. We were able to bring many students from sororities and fraternities to SEEK (FOCUS’ national conference for college students to grow in their catholic faith) including the president of a fraternity and the president of a sorority. Both had incredible experiences and were able to come back to campus and make a big impact within their chapters. The president of Phi Mu said, "Living out your faith in a college setting is no easy task. It has been through my sorority that I have found my support system for when life gets tough and my faith is put to the test. These women have encouraged me to grow in my faith from the first day I joined this chapter.”
God has opened some amazing doors here at Georgia Tech within the sports world. I’ve been able to meet many student athletes who are striving to glorify God in their sports. This semester we will have both female and male student athlete bible studies. Three members of the Yellow Jacket football team joined us at SEEK this year! I am continually in awe of God’s presence in the lives of these talented individuals. So many amazing men and women are choosing to glorify God with their lives and become a beautiful witness of Jesus’s love and mercy.

Thanksgiving Dinner 2016

Anthony Haskin, HTS'16 

When I walked into the kitchen of the Catholic Center on the morning of Thanksgiving, my eyes fell upon a wonderful sight: a large number of volunteers helping to prepare the Thanksgiving dinner. There were students as well as women from St. Brigid all packed into the small kitchen space and focused on the task at hand. There were ten smoked turkeys on the counter that needed to be carved, mashed potatoes to be made, rolls to be baked, and stuffing and green bean casserole to be reheated. In a few hours there would be hundreds of hungry mouths to feed and all of this needed to be ready.
The Thanksgiving meal was ready to be served right after Mass. There were all kinds of people: international students, grad students, undergrads, alumni, and families. Everyone was welcomed with beaming smiles and warm food. The dinner itself went extremely well. The initial flood of people all got through the line quickly, and I never saw a backup or long wait for anyone wanting food. Seeing people from all faiths and walks of life come together to give thanks brought a real joy to me, and I’m sure the others there felt the same. The spirit of Thanksgiving was alive and well at the Catholic Center, first perfected at Mass in the Eucharist and then shared with everyone that partook in the dinner. It was once again a successful afternoon, and I hope it continues to be for years to come.
New Board Update
Alberto Sainz de la Peña, ID '18

Another year, another CSO board! The Catholic Student Organization’s leadership board is off to a busy start in 2017. The board (comprised of 9 students – under the five pillars of Administration, Faith Formation, Liturgy, Community Life, and Outreach) has done some great new things in these first few months of its leadership. Fifty students occupy the roughly 65 leadership positions under these 5 pillars of the CSO.

On the Administration side of things, President Alberto Sainz de la Peña and Vice President Connor Nies have pulled from their previous CSO board experience to continue the growth and development of Georgia Tech’s Catholic community. A new public relations structure and strategy, headed by Public Relations Chair Juliana Alfonso, has yielded significant increases in event attendance and a more informed Catholic Center community. Secretary Kathy Cabezas and Treasurer Dan Theriault continue to keep the CSO board organized and on budget.

Faith Formation, headed up by Keegan McGarry, is offering a variety of weekly classes to educate and instruct students in various areas of the Faith. It has also seen a wonderful RCIA class of 23 candidates preparing to become true disciples of Christ and members of His Church. The first renew event of the semester tripled in normal event attendance, as students came together for a dinner, heard from keynote speaker Randy Raus (president of LifeTeen), and then partook in eucharistic adoration.

Liturgy Chair Terrence Connors has continued to lead the liturgy at the Catholic Center to be as beautiful and impactful as ever. The 4 different Sunday choirs (ranging in style from Latin Gregorian chant at the 9:30am Latin mass, to contemporary band at the 9:00pm mass) provide students with a dynamic choice in Mass styles. A High Mass in the extraordinary form for the Feb 2nd feast of Candlemas was incredibly-well attended, and received high praise as being one of the most beautiful liturgies that has ever been done at the Catholic Center.

Community Life Chair Shannon Murray has upped the game, now hosting two community dinners a month (in addition to all of the other community activities and food events already offered). For the last community dinner of every month, A new program has been introduced called “Ask a Catholic Priest”, where students can ask Fr. Joshua Allen questions about the Faith while they enjoy their food and friends.

The Outreach Pillar, headed up by Erika Jensen, continues to grow in strength and diversity of programs. Campus Outreach has been new addition to the outreach pillar, where a team has been dedicated to spread Christ to GT students, via more prevalent promotional tabling, pro-life tabling, and having a presence at other faith-based events held on the Georgia Tech campus.
Get to know our leadership board members here.

Coffee Bar News

Andrés Rodriguez, CmpE '19

One of the Catholic Center’s “not so hidden” gems being placed under the spotlight now is the new Coffee Bar. Fully equipped with a state-of-the-art espresso machine, coffee grinder, and student-baristas trained by the one and only Father Josh Allen, the coffee bar is easily one of the more popular spots here at the Catholic Center. In addition to the delicious coffee and wonderful service, the surrounding lobby provides a great place to come and crank out some homework or lab reports, or just to hang out and chat with friends. The espresso bar is usually open after most of our events here at the CC, as well as after Masses occasionally. The coffee is always free, great quality, and open to anyone; and who doesn’t get excited by free coffee? What better way could you possibly imagine to get your caffeine fix than here at the Catholic Center?

Development Update

Patty Schmitt, Development Director, IM'88

We are so grateful to all our benefactors for their generous support of the GTCC! Through December 2016, we have raised 46% of our fundraising goal of $362,233. If you haven't already, please consider making a donation here to support our work on the Georgia Tech campus. Also, save the date for our second annual Donor Appreciation Brunch on April 23, 2017 at the Catholic Center starting with Mass at 11:30 a.m. The students and staff had such a wonderful time meeting our supporters last year. Let’s do it again! Details and RSVP coming soon.
Upcoming Events

February 17-19 - Women's Discernment Retreat
February 24-26 - Men's Discernment Retreat
March 1 - Ash Wednesday
March 10-12 - GTCC Spring Retreat
March 20-24 - Spring Break Mission Trip to Peru
April 23 - Donor Appreciation Brunch
Support the Catholic Center at Georgia Tech by donating through the following links!