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.
Chinese exchange student shares his experiences as Christ the King freshmanHUNTERSVILLE — How many of us would have the courage to travel 7,500 miles from our home and family to study in a foreign country where we don't know the language? For Christ the King High School freshman Xionghui (Jackson) Xie, it was a huge...
Bishop McGuinness holds Model UN Middle School DayKERNERSVILLE — The Bishop McGuinness Model United Nation Club recently held a Middle School Day event open to the Catholic grade schools in the Triad. Close to 300 students in grades six through eight from Our Lady of Grace, St. Pius X, Our...
St. Matthew students squeal with delight as their Egg Drop projects go 'splat'CHARLOTTE — Ingenuity and engineering came together to teach some fun lessons to students at St. Matthew School April 23. More than 98 special "Egg Drop" projects designed to protect a raw chicken egg from shattering were hoisted up onto the...
MACS enrollment opens for upcoming school yearCHARLOTTE — Enrollment for the 2015-'16 academic year has opened for the nine schools in the Mecklenburg Area Catholic Schools system. The nine schools are: St. Ann School (PK, TK-5), St. Gabriel School (K-5), St. Matthew School (TK-5), St....
Charlotte Catholic High receives Commissioner's Cup for community service workCHARLOTTE — Charlotte Catholic High School was the 4A Western Conference recipient of the 2014-'15 Commissioners' Cup, an award sponsored by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association. Charlotte Catholic was recognized for its contributions...
Students raise money to drill well in SudanWINSTON-SALEM — Fourth-grade students at Our Lady of Mercy School were recently spurred to action after reading "A Long Walk to Water," a work of historical fiction based on the true story of man named Salva Dut, who had to leave his war-torn...
MACS students excel at Special Olympics eventsCHARLOTTE — St. Ann and St. Patrick schools proudly represented Mecklenburg Area Catholic Schools at the Mecklenburg County Special Olympics Springs Games, a track and field event held April 22 at Charlotte Country Day School. This competition...
Christ The King Latin students excelHUNTERSVILLE — Eight Christ the King High School students won awards at the school's first year of participation in the National Latin Exams in March. Three of the students won gold medals and two of them won silver medals, besides the certificates...
St. Michael's new robotics team wins top trophyGASTONIA — In its very first year, the "Mechanical Knights," St. Michael School's robotics team, was thrilled to be awarded the top trophy at a recent robotics competition held at the school April 18. The team went up against six other local...
St. Gabriel students learn about religious vocationsCHARLOTTE — In recognition of World Day of Prayer for Vocations, fifth-graders at St. Gabriel School in Charlotte met April 20 with Father Patrick Hoare, pastor of St. John Neumann Church in Charlotte, and Sister Scholastica Auguste (with...
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. 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