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SMC club inspires Catholic dialogue

| Thursday, January 29, 2015

Four Saint Mary’s students introduced a new club last semester, called Christ Lights. Junior club president Sofia Piecuch said she started the club with fellow juniors Clare Lambert, vice president, Olivia Beck, treasurer, and Brianna Noll, secretary, with hopes to strengthen her Catholic faith during her time as an undergraduate.

“The idea for the club originated when I found myself wanting to go much deeper into my faith and strengthen my Catholic identity,” Piecuch said, “Quite often, I would turn to Notre Dame to find spaces to cultivate my faith, as they have a plethora of extremely wonderful clubs and worship groups to choose from. I quickly found my niche, [but] wished that Saint Mary’s could offer similar student groups.”

Piecuch said she found that other students shared her desire to learn more about Catholicism and share their personal faith struggles with one another.

“I think college is a critical time in a person’s life; your parents aren’t there to make you go to mass so it is easy to let that slide and neglect things,” Lambert said. “It is also a good opportunity to grow in your faith, and I think that’s really important.”

Noll said starting Christ Lights was a good opportunity to meet with other Catholics on campus to share in their faiths and help each other better understand the teachings and beliefs within Catholicism.

Piecuch defined Christ Lights as a student-run Catholic initiative, which seeks to bring students together in community and fellowship as well as help students grow in their understanding of faith. Piecuch said the patron saint of Christ Lights is Blessed Chiara Luce Badano.

“Christ Lights is a place to ask questions, to pray, as well as seek emotional and spiritual support over a cup of coffee,” Piecuch said.  “We also wish to respond to Pope Francis’ call to all Catholics to evangelize by providing resources to train Catholics to be loving explainers and defenders of the faith.”

Christ Lights hopes to both host faith-building events at Saint Mary’s as well as go on trips to Catholic conferences, Piecuch said.

“Our two long-term goals are to host a retreat in the fall with the theme of ‘Catholic Apologetics,’ as well as to apply for a grant to fund travel and registration for the Catholic Answers National Apologetics Conference in San Diego in September,” Piecuch said.

Piecuch said Christ Lights is open to students from Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame and Holy Cross.

“I wanted to start something that could also be attractive to Notre Dame and Holy Cross student, encouraging them to visit our campus and thus foster greater tri-campus friendship,” Piecuch said. “We seek to take this knowledge [of our faith] and put it into action in order to unify our tri-university community with respect and love.”

Piecuch said Christ Lights plans to hold weekly meetings on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. in Dalloways Clubhouse at Saint Mary’s. Between discussion weeks, Piecuch said the club hopes to host speakers who will talk about subjects pertaining to being Catholic in a modern world.

“Every other week, the meeting will serve as a faith sharing group in which people can raise questions they have about the Catholic faith, share situations where their beliefs were challenged, ask for prayer intentions, and so on,” Piecuch said. “Turning to resources, such as the catechism of the Catholic Church, we will seek to collectively find answers and support one another.”

Christ Lights will be hosting a snowman building contest on Wednesday, February 4th, open to all members of the tri-campus community.

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