As a campus minister in the Diocese of Charlotte, I have been fortunate to have had a number of college Alternative Spring Break experiences over the past few years. Our diocesan-sponsored Alternative Spring Break 2012 was a definite departure from the "typical" ASB experience, which usually consists of traveling to a work site with a group from a school or diocese. This year's event afforded our college students a unique opportunity through the Sisters of Life – a contemplative/active religious community founded by the late John Cardinal O'Connor of the Archdiocese of New York for the protection and enhancement of the sacredness of all human life.
In an effort to provide "something more" than a typical ASB experience, the Sisters of Life offered a 10-day experience that could almost be described as a "Catholic immersion experience into the Culture of Life."
Pictured: More than 75 college students went on an Alternative Spring Break 2012 to New York, where they worked, prayed and lived with the Sisters of Life for 10 days. (Photos provided by Gloria Schweizer)
It began with a two-day silent retreat. The remaining days were filled with activities and opportunities for spiritual nourishment: a day visiting shrines in New York, two days of work at their motherhouse in Montebella, N.Y., a hiking day at Bear Mountain with the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, a presentation by Peter Kreeft, prayer for Dr. Emily's Abortion Clinic in the South Bronx, and a lecture entitled "Biology of the Theology of the Body" by Vicki Thorn (founder of Project Rachel). Additional offerings included daily Mass, praying the rosary, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Liturgy of the Hours, and presentations by the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal and the Sisters of Life.
Eleven students and three campus ministers from the Diocese of Charlotte participated in this very unique Alternative Spring Break – among about 75 students from colleges/universities in seven states.
From the morning rising bell at 6 a.m., until the bell signaling Compline (night prayer), followed by Grand Silence at 10 p.m., the students grew in faith, knowledge of pro-life issues, and compassionate ways to offer hope and healing to those experiencing an unwanted pregnancy or post-abortion trauma.
"In between moments of reflective grand silence and holy leisure, we attended conferences that taught us more about the love Jesus has for each of us, the great significance of life, and the biological effects of abortion and use of contraceptives," said Aurora Trujillo of UNC-Charlotte.
They also developed strong ties of friendship and established a support base for themselves as they face a world that does not actively promote chastity or encourage abstinence, and where the rights of the unborn are largely ignored.
It truly was an awesome experience for me as a woman religious and campus minister to be a part of the "First Annual Sisters of Life Alternative Spring Break." Ten days with more than 75 college-aged young adults, and the end result was phenomenal – an attitude of renewed hope and faith and a celebration of life.
Said Tim Potkay of UNC-Greensboro, "I attended my first Eucharistic healing service and spent time with the Blessed Sacrament every day. Best spring break ever."
Thank you to all the generous donors who support Catholic Campus Ministry in the Diocese of Charlotte, a ministry partially funded by the Diocesan Support Appeal.
— Sister Eileen Spainer, professed with the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart, is a Charlotte area campus minister and chairwoman of Alternative Spring Break 2012.
Photo carousel will auto rotate. Click on image to advance to that photo or enlarge.
CCHS Educator Award announcedCHARLOTTE — The Charlotte Catholic High School Foundation has announced a new award to honor those staff members who go above and beyond. Five individuals will be honored with a Sister Paulette Williams, RSM, Award for Outstanding Service...
Michalski honored with Lifetime Achievement AwardCHARLOTTE — Dr. Stanley Michalski, coordinator of instrumental music for Mecklenburg Area Catholic Schools, has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Nu Chapter of Phi Beta Mu, the international band fraternity, in gratitude for...
CCHS students chosen for selective summer programsCHARLOTTE — Two Charlotte Catholic High School juniors have been accepted to selective collegiate summer programs for 2016. Kayleigh Ruller has been accepted to the University of Notre Dame Leadership Seminars program in American Arts, Popular...
OLG hoops it up this springGREENSBORO — Students at Our Lady of Grace School recently went to Senior Day for basketball players at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. OLG varsity basketball players made a tunnel for the UNCG women's team to run through,...
Knights' poster and essay contest winners named at St. Michael SchoolGASTONIA — St. Michael Church's Knights of Columbus council recently held a poster and essay contest for eighth-grade students at St. Michael School. Students were asked to make an awareness poster for substance abuse, and explain in an essay...
Science fair held at St. Michael SchoolGASTONIA — St. Michael School held a science fair for its middle school students March 18. Pictured are the winners: first place, seventh-grader Emma Hughlett, for "I Spy, Who Am I?" testing the correlation between comparing fingerprints...
IHM students earn national science competition honorHIGH POINT — Student groups at Immaculate Heart of Mary School, under the direction of STEM teacher Gabrielle Mirand, recently participated in the 2015-2016 National Toshiba/NSTA (National Science Teachers Association) ExploraVision competition. Pictured...
St. Mark Lions are 2016 Shamrock Tournament winnersHUNTERSVILLE — The St. Mark seventh-grade boys' basketball team won the 2016 Shamrock Tournament (Flight 2) at Holy Trinity Middle School. The 34-team tournament featured seventh- and eighth-grade teams from across the Southeast, including...
CTK swim team nets state title, breaks four state recordsHUNTERSVILLE — On Feb. 22 Christ the King High School's swim team went to Greensboro to compete in the state swim meet for the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association. Six and a half hours later, the Crusaders brought home...
Charlotte Catholic varsity men's basketball team wins 4A titleCHAPEL HILL — The Charlotte Catholic boys varsity basketball team beat Cary 49-46 to win the North Carolina State 4A championship game at the Dean Smith Center in Chapel Hill March 12. The Cougars made history with their first state championship...
FROM THE PASTORS
Read and listen to homilies posted regularly by pastors at parishes within the Diocese of Charlotte:
- Fr. Roger Arnsparger at St. John the Baptist in Tryon
- Fr. Frank Cancro at Queen of the Apostles
- Fr. Jason Christian at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Fr. Matthew Kauth at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Fr. Timothy Reid at St. Ann in Charlotte
- Fr. Christopher Riehl's archive from St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Fr. Benjamin Roberts at Our Lady of Lourdes in Monroe. Listen to homily podcasts.
- Fr. Joshua Voitus at St. Mary, Mother of God Parish in Sylva, including homilies in Spanish
- Fr. Patrick Winslow at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Gospel reflection videos from St. Matthew Church
- Watch full Masses live and on demand, listen to homilies and reflections from Sacred Heart Church in Salisbury
- Listen and watch homilies from St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Listen to homilies from St. William Catholic Church in Murphy