The Heart of Community

Brandon D’Arienzo, Mechanical Engineering, 4th Year

Difficult times test a community’s resolve. At the Georgia Tech Catholic Center, thanks to our amazing FOCUS missionaries, chaplain Fr. Branson Hipp and Deacon Paul Nacey, and our legion of student volunteers and servers, our resolve to spread the love of Christ has strengthened.

Regular chapel cleaning, new outdoor spaces to host socially distanced small groups, and an improved sound system to reach the lobby are a few examples of steps we have taken to continue in-person ministry. Fr. Branson and another student spread mulch behind the patio to expand our outdoor space, making room for in-person discipleship and bible studies. While helping hang outdoor lights over the new area, I met a transfer student, who is now in my Bible Study. He expressed to me how grateful he is to be surrounded by other college students on fire with their faith. ­

I had a blast with Welcome Week this semester. Monday was virtual game night. We split up into small breakout rooms over a video call, each with a host, and got to see new and old faces alike. We racked our brains to determine words in Scattergories, attempted to figure out what on God’s green earth people were drawing in Pictionary, and then played a huge game of Mafia, which is a game of trust and secret identities. For some unknown reason, Fr. Branson suspected and accused me of being part of the Mafia, so I was targeted, but he quickly followed me to the grave.

Tuesday was virtual trivia night, hosted by the Knights of Columbus. We were able to further develop the new friendships we made on Monday over difficult questions. On Wednesday, we wrote letters to the elderly to comfort them as they undoubtedly face a particularly lonely time. Thursday, we hosted Renew in the chapel with adoration and praise and worship music. Finally, on Friday, things got competitive as we played lawn games outside, such as spike ball and cornhole. Throughout the week, it was evident the CSO board dedicated many hours preparing safe, fun events to incorporate all. I am incredibly appreciative of every member of this community, a community built on hope: the secret weapon of the Christian.