Local colleges celebrate faith

Mary Danko, Contributing writer

On Feb. 15, members of Mercyhurst Campus Ministry attended the “Becoming Who You Are” Intercollegiate Gathering at Gannon University. Students from other colleges in the Erie Diocese were also in attendance including Edinboro University, Penn State Behrend, Allegheny College and Clarion University.

The event was an opportunity for all of the college campus ministries to come together to share and discuss their faith and beliefs.

Students from each of the schools were separated to sit with students from other schools to discuss the topics of the day and to get to know one another. Mercyhurst campus ministers, Michelle Scully and Sr. Natalie Rossi also attended the event and led discussions during the break out sessions.

Scully saw the day as an opportunity for community among the colleges.

“Events like the intercollegiate gathering provide a great opportunity for the community of campus ministry students to not only interact with students from other campuses, but also to listen to voices and ideas that aren’t usually a part of their everyday life,” Scully said.

The keynote speaker of the day was Mercyhurst alumni, Nick Cianci ‘14, who was one of the founding members of MYRACLE (Mercyhurst Youth Retreats and Catholic Leadership Education). Cianci shared his story of struggling with faith as well as the inner conflict he faced in life. Despite his struggles, he showed how he was ultimately able to overcome and accept God’s plan for his life. The speech began and ended with the same saying which is that “God draws straight with crooked lines.”

The students later talked in their small groups of their own struggles both in their faith and in their personal lives. They discussed these issues with the larger group and found that the majority of the students had similar struggles.

Throughout the day they participated in workshops of their choice branching on subjects such as “Sacraments, Prayer and Devotion,” “Faith in the Workplace,” “Religious Life” and “God in All Things/Beauty/Nature”.

The students were also given time throughout the day to participate in both devotion and confession. The day was completed with Mass in the chapel at Gannon University with the entire group together again for the end of the retreat.

This day was a very wonderful experience for the students who attended.

“I thought the event was a really great experience and a good time,” senior Elizabeth Shewan said. “It was really interesting to meet students from other area schools, and to make connections based on our faith.”

Many of the students were upperclassmen and since they were given the chance to be involved in a retreat that sporadically takes place; the seniors and juniors commented on how lucky they felt to be able to be a part of this retreat.

“I am so glad that I was given the chance to be involved in a retreat like this, and would definitely recommend it for all Mercyhurst students,” sophomore Morgan Dinsmore said. “It was such a terrific experience and made me feel closer to both my faith and my fellow Mercyhurst students.”