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.
Charlotte Catholic High School getting parking deck, stadium expansionConstruction could start as early as December CHARLOTTE — Plans to build a parking garage and expand the football stadium are under way at Charlotte Catholic High School. Officials with the Diocese of Charlotte Properties Management Office...
CCHS debate team elects officersCHARLOTTE — The Charlotte Catholic High School Debate and Speech Team has elected officers for the 2014-'15 academic year. They are: President – Angeline-Marie Morales (senior); Vice President of Debate – Ian Miller (senior); Vice President...
Our Lady of the Assumption plans barbecueCHARLOTTE — Our Lady of the Assumption School will host its second annual fall barbecue from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 13. Proceeds will benefit the OLA Athletic Association as well as Don Baker, a former OLA employee and member of St....
Catholic schools committed to serving students with special needsCHARLOTTE — Diocese of Charlotte schools offer an array of special education initiatives designed to meet the individual academic and social needs of each student with a disability. From resource to self-contained, its programs impart a Catholic...
Dr. Janice Ritter: Looking forward to a successful school yearIt's hard to believe that the summer is winding to an end and we are about to begin another new school year. There is an air of excitement in each of our 19 schools across the diocese as they prepare to welcome back more than 7,500 students. The...
Belmont Abbey College: Developing students' minds, bodies and spiritsBELMONT — Home to more than 1,700 students, Belmont Abbey College is a Benedictine liberal arts college that believes in the development of the whole person – mind, body and spirit – so that "in all things God may be glorified." Its mission...
Our Lady of Grace Parish opens larger school buildingGREENSBORO — Throughout the summer, there has been a flurry of activity at Our Lady of Grace School as faculty and staff excitedly move into classrooms in their new school building. Our Lady of Grace School will start classes in the new three-story...
OLA School stands out with diverse student body, innovationsCHARLOTTE — Our Lady of the Assumption School in east Charlotte is not only the most ethnically and culturally diverse of the Mecklenburg Area Catholic Schools, it also has small class sizes and innovative academic approaches – features...
Campus Ministry: College is 4 years... Your Catholic faith is 4-ever!Campus Ministry in the Diocese of Charlotte serves college students throughout western North Carolina, enabling Catholic college students to continue their faith journey as young adults. The guiding principles of Campus Ministry are encouraging...
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. Patrick Earl at St. Peter in Charlotte
- Fr. John Eckert's archive from St. John the Baptist in Tryon
- 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
- 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
- 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