Faith, hope and love

Reaching Out for Christ’s Kingdom seeking, knowing and following Jesus is a tough, yet rewarding thing to do. Having a relationship with Jesus might mean changing one’s way of life.

That’s the real mission behind ROCK events that are held at Bishop Ryan Catholic School, in Minot.

“It’s a wonderful collaborative effort between the chaplain and his assistant chaplains who are a group of seniors who take a leadership position at the school to help form a solid faith environment within the school itself,” the Rev. Jadyn Nelson, chaplain at Bishop Ryan, said.

Three times a year a speaker is brought in to speak on a particular theme. This year the theological virtues of faith, hope and love are being addressed. Chris Stefanick, who was the first ROCK presenter in September, talked about faith.

This month, on Wednesday, Oct. 23, the second presenter Sister Jane Dominic Laurel, O.P., a member of the Saint Cecilia Congregation of Dominican Sisters of Nashville, Tenn., will speak about the virtue of charity and the masculine and feminine ways of loving.

The vibrant Dominican community had 20 new postulants enter this year. They are bursting at the seams and the average age of the sisters in the convent is under 35.

“I got to know Sister Jane Dominic while I was studying in Rome,” Nelson said. “I was blown away not only by her faith, but by her vibrancy and the joy that she had. Not only does she have a very good mind, she has the true ability to teach. That’s what the Dominicans are known for, they are a teaching order of sisters.”

She has spent countless hours in a classroom with high school students.

Nelson said when he arrived at Bishop Ryan he recognized that the witness that consecrated religious, those people who have chosen to dedicate themselves to Christ, give to the life of the church was lacking at the school.

“In their poverty, chastity and obedience, consecrated religious simply live the evangelical life. This is important for us all to encounter. I saw this as the perfect opportunity to bring Sister Jane Dominic to Minot in order to speak because she knows Pope John Paul II’s theology of the body very well,” Nelson said. “It’s about how God’s love touches us in our humanity and we then become instruments and icons of God’s love in the world.”

Pizza and refreshments will be served at 6:30 p.m. prior to Sister Jane Dominic’s presentation. The event is open to primarily high school students of all faiths from the entire greater Minot area. Minot High School students are especially welcome.

Macy Christianson, a senior at Bishop Ryan and one of the assistant chaplains at the school, said, “I think ROCK events are a really good thing to have in our schools. It’s especially nice to have it in our school, with students from all schools welcome to attend. Going to speakers like this make it easy to get to know your faith and really live it.”

She added, “It’s a fun event to go to because you can socialize with other kids your age as well learn so much about what you believe in.”

Christianson encourages everyone to attend. “It’s going to be a fun event,” she said.

The third presenter will be John O’Leary, of St. Louis, Mo. O’Leary was playing with fire after seeing other kids play with fire when a gas can exploded and shot him across the garage. At age 9 he had third-degree burns on almost 100 percent of his body and was given less than 1 percent chance of surviving the first night. He spent many months in a hospital, had dozens of surgeries, lost all his fingers and continued therapy for many years.

During this time he had to make the decision of whether to live or die and how he would overcome that.

“He will talk about how faith and hope in Christ is really important when overcoming adversity in life,” Nelson said. “That will be a powerful night, too.”

O’Leary’s presentation will be Feb. 19.

The ROCK events are “really great events,” Nelson said. “It’s a time when kids can get together and get to know and meet other kids. Pizza and refreshments will be served before Sister Jane Dominic speaks.” There is always time for prayer as well as Eucharistic adoration and rosary recitation before the conclusion of the event about 9 p.m.

“The whole evening is really about the Lord and what he is able to do for us,” Nelson said.

Nelson added, “We are facing unique challenges right now in our society because the youth are at a level that they maybe have never been at before many are alienated and unchurched. The basic thrust and movement of the Gospel is unknown to a lot of kids. These events are not only a way to strengthen the faith of the student in the school but also through their efforts to engage their friends in the community who don’t know that basic Gospel. It’s really an effort of evangelization.”