March flew by in a heartbeat and the end of the semester is right around the corner! Purified by Lent and the waves of life, SPO Texas entered this Easter Season with trumpet blasts (literally).
We first kicked off the month with our student-led Leap Day party, “A Twist In Time.” Our goal with this event was to connect recent Bobcat Awakening retreatants to the SPO community. Kelli, the student who I had plan the event, did a stellar job! She said it was a really good experience for her and we all agreed that it was a huge success.
Some other events we had this month were an open mic night, a men’s steak night and a women’s choreographed dance lesson.
A short week later, students were bombarded with midterms. It was a crazy, stressful time, but was quickly followed by Spring Break! Most everyone went home or on various trips, but I stayed in Texas to rest my ankle. As it turns out, I tore my ATFL ligament and have an osteochondritis dissecans lesion on top of the fracture in my talus, so I’ve been in a cast and will continue to be so for a while. There was certainly some good that came from it, though! I was able to finish creating a website for my photography, which I’ve been wanting to do for a while. Check it out: rebeccaloomismedia.com!
Some of the men in Household went on a backpacking trip in the Grand Canyon for the break, led by Mission Leader Rob Williams. For many of them, this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience; but don’t take it from me, watch their rocking video about it!
Immediately following break, we entered into Holy Week. This was a very exciting time for us at SPO Texas because two of our students, Jessica Mikulencak and Josh Mitchener, entered fully into the Catholic Church! Jessica has been eagerly awaiting this moment for a long time, and it brought me to tears to see her so filled with joy at the reception of Christ’s Body and Blood in the Eucharist and his Holy Spirit in Confirmation.
For Josh, SPO played a significant part in his conversion, and he offered to share his testimony on how the community helped him to make this important decision in his walk with God.
My journey started with this thought: “I’m joining a fraternity when I go to college.” My first week at Texas State, I was invited to a party. This was the opportunity to experience the life I wanted. When I arrived, the police showed up and I had to get out. The next day I went to a fair looking for Greek organizations. That’s when I met George. He offered me the chance to play ultimate Frisbee with some guys that would later become my brothers. I had a good time, but left thinking I’d never see them again. That weekend, a friend brought me to Mass. George was there and invited me to a hog roast where I recognized the guys from Frisbee. We exchanged numbers and I started hanging out at the SPO men’s house. Throughout this time, I grew with a group that I now consider family who bring me closer to the Lord. I’ve opened up to talk about my struggles and ask for guidance from God. My nonexistent prayer life became daily routine, and I began spreading the Gospel. I had my idea of what college was going to be like, but God’s path led me to get baptized and come into the Church at Easter. I now know what it means to be a Christian, living for God and loving others as I was loved.
-Josh Mitchener, Freshman
This Easter was a powerful one for my personal prayer life. Every year, I watch Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ, and every year I get something different out of it. This time, I was struck by the way Jesus embraces his cross–not merely carrying it willingly but lovingly caressing it. “Why do you embrace your cross, fool?” the thief beside him taunts. The answer is surprisingly simple. “Behold,” Christ says to his Mother Mary, “I make all things new.” Jesus loves his cross because it is the way in which he makes it possible to be with us forever. “Greater love has no man than this,” he shares with his Apostles, “to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” What a remarkable love!
I also had the privilege of singing in the choir for the Easter Vigil, like last year. It was such a fun experience! Following Mass, we had our annual Easter Vigil party at the men’s Household and stayed up far too late celebrating the most important feast of the Catholic calendar!
As we jump into April and ever closer to the end of this semester, please keep me in your prayers. A lot of changes are coming. Stay tuned for an update on my plans for the upcoming school year!