As you are aware, some of the funds from my concert are set aside to take students to Notre Dame’s, NDVision. NDVision is a Catholic Youth Leadership Seminar and Retreat for one week during the summer.
This first year, I chose the 6 students who would attend the summer retreat. Criteria was based upon academic merit, service, character, integrity, commitment to the youth ministry program, and participation in their high school’s campus ministry program, if in fact they are attending a Catholic high school.
There will be a Scholarship Application for students who wish to attend NDVision next summer. The scholarship applications will be available in the Religious Education Office. Call 330-724-9311 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What the students are saying
I have learned many things from visiting the University of Notre Dame for Notre Dame Vision. We had various types of discussions and activities throughout the week that changed my view of the church and God. Everyday we had groups that we were assigned to which many called these groups, small groups. In one of the small groups we talked about a speaker that had previously spoken.
His name was, Andrew Hoyt and he taught us that we should not look to others to find our special gifts, he said, “God gave each and everyone of us a special talent and we should not look to others to find what He had given us“. Andrew also taught us that the man that designed the ear had hand drawn it. He showed us pictures, and the pictures that he showed us were not very pleasing to the eye, but the creator loved it. What Andrew was trying to get across was that God made us not all perfect, but the Creator (God) loves us.
In our small groups, our Mentors had us write Affirmation letters about each person. We had to describe their gifts that we witnessed, how they have blessed us and our hopes for each person. I learned that there is good things in all people, you just have to look. On the last day, all of our Mentors wrote each of us a letter. They were very nice letters about us and the gifts that they witnessed about us.
When we had free time during the day we could do a variety of things such as go to the Grotto, visit the Basilica, go to the bookstore, or go to the dorm. I had never been to the Grotto. One day after lunch, we had free time and I decided to go to the Grotto. When I walked down there, the site was breathe-taking, with all the candles lit the rock background and the different statues of Mary. Before I knelt down to pray, I lit a candle then started to pray, when I prayed I felt Gods presence. After I was done Praying, I joined a group in a circle praying the rosary.
My whole experience at Notre Dame vision was amazing and life changing and not to mention a once in a life time opportunity. The different speakers that came and talked to us and it was cool, because some of the people’s stories I could relate to. I also learned different ways of praying and praising God, such as being active, singing and dancing. We were very encouraged during the week and I really opened up to the new environment and all of these things made the week much better.
Thank you Dr. Khoury for the opportunity of a lifetime!
~ James Sloan
I am so grateful that I got the chance to go to Notre Dame Vision, because it truly was a life changing experience. Everyday I learned something new that played into one big message at the end of the week that taught me how to be a better Christian leader.
The big message that I took from Notre Dame was to “be a saint.” This means that each persons, including my own, life has meaning, and that God has a certain plan for us. In other words we have to find our vocation, and it will not just be given to us. “Becoming a Saint,” is not literal. What I learned at Notre Dame is that the concept of “being a Saint” is about becoming a better Christian leader and to show others how to live their lives in discipleship. The saints are the ones who the light shines through. God needs ME! This is why I need to wake up and live a life of engagement and curiosity to God, so that I can listen to him and let him shine through me. To help me with this I should not worry and compare myself to other people. I learned that I need to use my own gifts, which God has given me, to set the world on fire. In the end I learned that I was at this awesome event to help me find what gifts God has given me, so that I can become a better Christian leader and help to better the lives of others.
In order to be a Christian leader, I need to do things that will help more young people to see the truth of the church and the great love of God. One way I feel I can do this is to take part in the Youth Ministry at St. Paul’s. I can help plan activities, meetings, and get as many friends as I can to attend. These would be good ways to spread the message to ‘be a Saint” to young people. Also, being the best person I can be anywhere I go by being kind, respectful, and open to everyone is a good way to spread the faith. After all that I have learned from Notre Dame Vision, I know my mission is to go show the world that God is love!
~ Emma Leeser
When I was asked to attend N D Vision I felt absolutely blessed. It made me feel privileged that someone saw that I could be a leader for my class. However, I wasn’t really sure what was going to happen or if I would enjoy N D Vision. I promised myself that I would keep an open mind and to try to have the best time I could. It ended up that I had nothing to worry about. N D Vision has opened my eyes and furthermore, helped me become strong in my faith.
It didn’t take me long to realize that N D Vision was going to be a great experience. It actually only took a few hours at Notre Dame. We had our first session where we learned about our vocation. As you can probably understand, listening to a guy lecture may not seem fun and interesting, but the words that he said really spoke to me. “Encourage the storm” and “Your life has meaning” were some of the words spoken. Encourage the storm, don’t do what everyone else is doing to look like you belong, “disturb the normal conditions”.
The next day the main topic was the challenges of discipleship. We heard from some of the mentors, their challenges in their life. Sometimes as a kid you feel like no one knows the pain or challenges you have. It was especially eye opening to me to hear stories from students not much older than myself. It made me feel like I’m not alone in questioning my faith and God or having troubles in my life.
Wednesday had to be my favorite day. The first session that day was about loving yourself. As a teenage girl, there are some things that I don’t like about myself and it is a beautiful thing when you can get in a group of people you have met two days ago and share some of those things. We got in our groups and shared things we liked about ourselves to remind ourselves of those things. Then, we shared things that others don’t like about us or what we don’t like about ourselves. Our mentor would then help us see the beauty in the flaws that we have. It is a very emotional thing to share things that you have kept bottled up inside you for so long.
On Thursday, we talked about the 5 practices: praise, memory, confession, sacrifice, and mission. We discussed things like, “Why do we praise God? God doesn’t need our praise.” We praise him to show him that we love him. “How can we remember God?” We remember him by going to Mass and receiving the Eucharist. “Why do we ask God for forgiveness? God doesn’t need our forgiveness.” We need God’s mercy. “Why do we sacrifice our time to go to Mass?” We go to Mass and consume the Eucharist because we are consuming God’s love. Finally, “Why should we spread God’s word?” We spread God’s word so that we can help others see God.
Finally at the end of the week we handed out letters to the members in our group. In our letters we wrote things that we saw in them. We shared with them talents that we saw in them. It is good to hear from other people that you are a good person. We also had to find it in ourselves to believe those people and to share those gifts with others.
This opportunity has definitely made me stronger in my faith. It has showed me that God loves me as me. He made me like this for a reason and he doesn’t want me to change for anyone. I learned that I shouldn’t act like others just to fit in, but that I should be different. I have learned that I have many talents and that I should use those to help others and to share my talents with others.
I also learned that everyone makes mistakes and everyone has troubles, but I also need to repent to God because we need God’s mercy. All of these lessons have made me furthermore understand God and his love for me. It has given me more confidence in my faith and myself. I would definitely encourage anyone to experience that opportunity for themselves.
~ Meredith Wammes
My experience at Notre Dame has made a significant impact on how I view life and my faith. Throughout the week, the message I received was the meaning of vocation. They mentioned vocation quite often during all the activities, and the more we learned about, the more I truly understood the meaning of vocation. Vocation is God calling us to live our lives to become a saint. God wants us to change the world through how we live.
After hearing many speeches and stories, I began thinking of how valuable my life is. I started to appreciate little things in my life that I once took for granted. God wants us to find true happiness in life so we can share it with others to change the world. Notre Dame taught me these valuable lessons that have helped me shape my mind to better understand
God’s gifts for us and his calling.
~ Jared Lloyd
My experience at Notre Dame was life changing. We started our week off talking about our vocations and how we are supposed to live them. What I gained from this talk is that we never have a vacation from our vocations. One quote that I found really helpful is: “If you build a man a fire, it will only keep him warm for one night; if you set a man on fire, he will stay warm forever.” This reminds me of God’s love, and how he sets us on fire with his love.
We had an amazing opportunity to have the sacrament of Reconciliation in the Basilica. I was speechless when I walked in, music was playing, and I had time to reflect on the week I just experienced, realizing how God is always with me.
I would like to thank all of you, the members of the parish of St. Paul, for helping me grow in my faith by supporting us on this trip, not only financially but spiritually, too. I am excited to sit down and tell my story with younger children of the parish and encourage them that learning about our faith is one of the best things to do.
I want to thank my family, too, for having faith in me and helping me become who I am spiritually. Thank you to Father Pfeiffer, Dr. Khoury, and Mr. Brodbeck for all the time each of you all individually put toward my education in the study of my faith. It helped me so much through the week. Thank you all for all you have done. Pope Francis said, “ Find new ways to spread the Word of God to every corner of the world” and I plan to do that.
~ Hanna Lidderdale