Mission and Ministry Center hosts Faith Sharing sessions to encourage students to discuss the Bible.
By Lenin O’Mahony
This week I had the opportunity to attend a virtual Open Book Biblical Faith Sharing Session, led by Brother David Cartetti and SMC student Lucas Drake.
The session began with a prayer from Brother Cartetti, followed by a “peaches and pits” activity. Everyone present went around with the opportunity to express a ‘peach,’ or highlight of their week, as well as a ‘pit,’ or low of their week. This activity can tend to feel forced, like an uncomfortable ice breaker, but everyone began with such openness and authentic expression, it was easy to feel listened to and appreciated when I got the opportunity to explain the ups and downs of my week.
By doing this activity I gained two insights, first I got to know my group a little bit, their particular struggles and joys. This really helped me feel connected to the group quickly, despite having just met them. Secondly, I was able to feel open and understood when expressing my thoughts and ideas relating to the later discussion, because I had already spoken and knew it was a safe environment to express myself.
The primary goal of this weekly meeting is to read and discuss the upcoming Sunday's liturgy. I found the opportunity to participate in such a discussion, in a safe environment and community, to be incredibly beneficial, for both Christians and non-christians. Not only does it present itself as a chance for a Christian to deepen their understanding and appreciation for the weekly homily at Sunday mass, but it also gives non-christians the opportunity to ask questions and seek a better grasp of Christian thought and beliefs.
When we attend church we mostly listen, the explanation we receive during mass is all we get. By attending this meeting, people who are interested in the faith or are simply seeking a deeper comprehension of Christian beliefs can ask questions and converse with others.
During the reflection period of the discussion, everyone has the opportunity to speak up and give their own interpretation and thoughts on the passage that’s been read. This was a great opportunity to put into practice the open discussion for everyone that I previously mentioned, where we could ask questions and seek understanding. People who participated were able to relate the verses to their own life, to their experiences and understanding.
As the meeting drew to a conclusion we ended with a group prayer that included prayer intentions. Everyone had time to write in the chat a specific prayer intention, whether it be for their own health, for a friend, or a greater overarching concept such as more love and acceptance in the world. This was a wonderful conclusion to an insightful meeting.
This type of meeting reflects on Saint Mary’s efforts to not only help Christian students grow their faith, but to also give non-christians opportunities to participate in faith activities without feeling pressured or uncomfortable. It was also a great example of how the Saint Mary’s community has been working hard to remain interconnected and strong, despite the restrictions of the current pandemic.
I am confident that Saint Mary’s students have access to many more clubs and activities throughout a range of ideas and goals. Whether it’s growing in faith or understanding, getting involved with social justice movements, or learning more about certain subjects, Saint Mary’s students and faculty have been working tirelessly to ensure that everyone has access to those groups through virtual meetings and events.
If you would like to contact Lucas Drake or Brother David Cartetti about joining these virtual meetings, their emails are firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com, respectively.
Victoria Vidales '21,