January 2018 Vol. MMXVII Issue 10
Helluva Chaplain's Corner
Dear GT Alumni, Parents, and Friends,
Our Spring Semester is now well under way, and we are trying to make the most of this new year. Spring is always a busy time for us. The Catholic Student Organization Board elects new officers in the late Fall, and then the new slate takes charge in January. Our new board is off to a great start, and we are thankful for all the hard work of our outgoing board. We have had a retreat for the Board already, and I am excited to see what we are able to accomplish this year.
The new Mass schedule has been great. We hoped that by adding the 7PM Mass that the other evening Masses would be less full. That has been the case so far, but now we have to figure out what to do with the 11:30AM Mass—it is frequently packed. I think my favorite conversation in the world begins with the line, “We have a problem...Mass is too full.” Patrick Williams, our new Music Director and Campus Minister, has really been making a mark. We have fantastic participation at RENEW, and it’s great to see all our musical talent among the students led to its greatest potential.
Spring always comes and goes so quickly. We are in the planning process for our Chapel Renovations which we hope to begin in the summer, and I will be able to share more about that soon. In the meantime, please pray for the ministry here, our staff, and all of the wonderful students at Georgia Tech.
Lastly, save the date for our Donor Appreciation Brunch which will be held on Sunday, April 22nd. We would love to see you!
Please be assured of my prayers, and those of the students here at the Catholic Center.
Yours in Christ,
Fall Retreat on the Jack's River Trail
by Thomas Gaines, BA '17 and Brady Bove, BioME '20
Hurricane Irma forced a last minute change in destination
for the Fall Retreat from the retreat center at Camp Hidden Lake to a hiking and backpacking trip on the Jack’s River Trail in the Cohutta Wilderness of North Georgia. Over 20 of us, some with reservations about roughing it in the outdoors and sleeping in tents, ventured out into the wilderness. The theme for the Fall Retreat was ‘Building community and Godly friendships’. No one could have imagined that this experience would bring us closer to each other and closer to God with every mile.
The perfect weather enhanced the beauty of the trail. The winding river sparkled over hills and along woods. There were about 22 river crossings, a few almost waist high on some of us. It took teamwork and communication to safely navigate across rivers, climb rocks, and make it up hills. As the first day progressed, we came together as one. Everyone helped and encouraged each other. We prayed rosaries and had meaningful conversations as we hiked surrounded by chirping birds and falling leaves.
After a full day on the trail, we set-up camp. Fr. Josh and Alyshia Koerner gave inspiring talks around a campfire. We had small group sessions while enjoying smores. Fr. Josh celebrated Mass along a fast-flowing river with a newly set sun. We had adoration under hundreds of stars. God’s presence was so real. Kiersten Schutz remarked “I had never been through something like this before where you are having a close experience with nature and God at the same time. It’s a very powerful combination.” We took a peek at heaven that night.
Did we grow in community and friendship? Srishti Gupta said yes, “The way we helped and behaved with each other was the physical manifestation of how our spiritual community should be.” We definitely experienced God and grew in friendship with Him and with others on the trail. Who would have thought that Hurricane Irma would bring about a hidden blessing? We ended the retreat tired and sore, but spiritually renewed and energized. This was an experience none of us will soon forget!
Pictured at camp fire (l-r): Andrew Renuart, Kirsten Bernardo, Alice Robang, Srishti Gupta, Ludwika Pankowska, Kiersten Schutz, Brandon Gerberich, Aaron Ranallo, Chris Larkins.
Pictured in river (l-r): JC Lawton, Vincent Ceyssens, Alberto Sainz de la Peña, Andrew Renuart.
Student Leaders Gather at Summit
by Helen Beckert, FOCUS Missionary
Pictured above: the crew from the GTCC
From January 2 to January 6, thirty-three student leaders from the Georgia Tech Catholic Center attended the 2018 Student Leadership Summit (SLS18), an evangelization and leadership conference sponsored by FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students), in Chicago, IL. What a beautiful way to start the New Year – learning how to grow in relationship with Jesus Christ, and being trained in how to share the Gospel in the world!
This year, college students and FOCUS missionaries were joined by approximately 8,000 of parishioners, alumni, and priests to strive to answer the Great Commission: to make disciples of all nations in the name of Jesus (Matthew 28:19). Throughout the five days of the conference, 8,000 attendees heard from world-renowned speakers, such as Bishop Robert Barron, Sr. Bethany Madonna, Jim Caviezel, and Lisa Brenninkmeyer. Every session aimed to help students grow in authentic friendship, intimacy with the Lord, and vision for mission and discipleship. In the afternoons, attendees also had the opportunity to practice the skills they were learning in small groups and teach their small group members the skills that they had learned.
The students who came with us to SLS learned so clearly the importance of being bold and sharing the love of Christ with their peers. Senior Andrew Renuart, a fourth-year electrical engineering major, said, “For me, the big thing about SLS is that it challenges you to make your faith not just about you but to share it with others.”
As the founder of FOCUS, Curtis Martin, said in his keynote at SLS, “This generation of Catholics is responsible for this generation of people. Brothers and sisters, dig deep in divine intimacy, gather your friends close to you and love them in a crazy sort of love in authentic friendship, and then go out and reach the world by sharing both faithfulness and fruitfulness.” Please pray that our students may take their experience at SLS into the rest of their lives, and that they will have the courage to share the Gospel with love, truth, and conviction.
Pictured in right inset (l-r): Andrew Lewis, Keegan McGerry, Andrew Renuart, John Joseph Watson, Aaron Ranallo, Joseph Schultz, Ian Sebastian, Drew Donovan, Nick Williams, Zach Basel and Chris Larkins.
Pictured in left inset (top row, l-r): Julianna Alfonso, Helen Beckert, Caroline Nannis, Lindsey Hanna (bottom row, l-r) Kathy Cabezas, Erika Dupond, Elizabeth Maguyon, Sara Crozier.
Pictured left: Bishop David Ricken, Diocese of Green Bay, celebrates Mass. To his right, our own Steven Shlapak (ME '16) serves at the Altar.
Pictured right: Over 300 priests on their way to concelebrate Mass.
Christmas Eve Midnight Mass at the CC
by Ben Dollar, AE '19
This Christmas, a new tradition was introduced at the Catholic Center: a candlelit midnight Mass, concelebrated by our Chaplain, Fr. Josh Allen, and Fr. Michael Silloway, Chaplain at Saint Pius X High School. Steven Shlapak (ME ’16), an alumnus of the Catholic
Center currently in priestly formation for the Archdiocese of Atlanta at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans, acted as MC. Music was provided by the new Director of Music, Patrick Williams, and members of his family. It was quite apparent that Mr. Williams’ musical aptitude is not limited to his own person; his relatives sing as beautifully as he does. The assorted Williamses also gave a performance before the service, interspersed with selections from the Office of Readings for Christmas Day. Fr. Josh has a well-deserved reputation on campus as an excellent homilist, and his Christmas Eve offering did not disappoint; acknowledging the fathers in the congregation, he enjoined them to consider the unique plight of Joseph on the eve of Christ’s birth, shut out from his own town and unable to provide his expectant wife even the most basic accommodation. After Mass, the faithful were treated to panettone and refreshments. It was a beautiful celebration of the birth of Jesus, and one that we hope will be repeated in the coming years.
Catholic Student Organization Board Elected
by Keegan McGarry, AE '19
It is my great pleasure to introduce the 2018 Catholic Student Organization (CSO) board! I am incredibly excited and undeservingly blessed to be serving the Catholic community here at Georgia Tech alongside such great leaders. This year, the only CSO board veterans are myself and Andrea Vargas, the vice president; the rest of the board members are learning for the first time how to lead our community in an executive capacity. After having spent time together on two retreats and a couple of business meetings, we have grown closer as friends and are already working well as a team. Thus far, we have been creative in our ideas and proposals, while at the same time remaining focused on developing real, effective solutions to the challenges the Catholic students at Georgia Tech are facing this year. I have no doubt that, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit and Our Lady of the Rosary, the 2018 CSO patron, we will make great strides in bringing our community into ever deeper discipleship with our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Pictured: (top row l-r) Clay Newman, Chris Larkins, Matthew Kennison, Brady Bove
(bottom row l-r) Noah Pilz, Patrick Williams, Natalie Pittman, Andrea Vargas, Kiersten Schutz, Keegan McGarry
New Stations of the Cross Adorn CC Chapel
Patty Schmitt, Development Director, IM'88
We've had a great response to our Annual Appeal so far this academic year. Through December 2017 we are at 55% of our target of $470,067. The month of December was our best ever! We hope everyone enjoyed reading the 2017 Spiritual and Fiscal Report that was mailed in November. If you didn't receive one, you can find it here
. Our sincere thanks to our wonderful benefactors who make this campus ministry possible and keep the Catholic Center doors open for all our Georgia Tech community to enjoy. Please save the date for our third annual Donor Appreciation Brunch to be held on Sunday, April 22. Thank you again for your generosity and support!
February 2-4 - Women's Silent Retreat
February 23-25 - Men's Discernment Retreat
March 31 - Easter Vigil
April 22 - Donor Appreciation Brunch
May 6-20 - Camino De Santiago Pilgrimage
May 17-24 - Peru Mission Trip (Spring Break)