Caldwell, NJ – March 14, 2013 – Caldwell University President Dr. Nancy Blattner and students Elizabeth Hooban, Lindsay Hulin, Joseph Tompey and Javier Lewis gave a powerful presentation on “Faith In Action” at the Lenten series “FaithQuest” at St. Aloysius Catholic Church in Caldwell on March 13.
After being introduced by Maureen Bezer, a Caldwell University trustee, Dr. Blattner shared with the room of attendees how “as a spouse, a mother, a Catholic, an employee” she , like them, “grapples with life’s questions and tries to live out the Gospel message beyond Sunday’s liturgies”.
Dr. Blattner said she was excited to introduce “four awesome Caldwell University students whom I’ve asked to share their commitment to and experiences with living their faith in service to others. Each one of them is a living example of the Dominican pillar of mission and the Caldwell University core value of community.”
After reading Matthew 25: 31-46 Dr. Blattner said ,“ As Catholics, we believe that every person is precious, that people are more important than things, and that the measure of every institution is whether it threatens or enhances the life and dignity of the human person—who receives his or her own dignity because each of us is created in the likeliness of God.”
Elizabeth Hooban, a senior and theology major, shared her experiences in taking part in Midnight Runs in serving the poor and homeless in New York City. She witnessed how her first Midnight Run took her out of comfort zone, but she said that her life was transformed from learning from her homeless brothers and sisters. Lindsay Hulin, a junior with a double major in elementary education and social studies, detailed how volunteering on spring break at the Christian Appalachia Project in Kentucky had a profound impact on her life. After she becomes a teacher, she hopes to go back and share her teaching with the children in Appalachia. Joe Tompey, a senior and accounting major, spoke of his work as captain of the Spring Lake Heights fire department. It was the witness of his uncles who were firefighters, he said, who inspired him to join the fire department at age 14. He explained what it took to respond around the clock to those in need during recent natural disasters including Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy. Javier Lewis, a junior with a double major in marketing and accounting, said he grew up in Spanish town, St. Catherine’s, Jamaica , an area “with an exceptional high crime rate”, and was raised by a single mother who taught him the most important life values. He spoke of the wonderful experience he had volunteering during an alternative winter break serving the poor on Bethlehem Farm in Appalachia, a Catholic community that provides service to the locals and teaches sustainable practices.
Pointing out that the Dominican pillar of ministry is “alive and well in the actions of our students”, Dr. Blattner encouraged the attendees to discern where they can live out faith in action.
“Each one of us here tonight will be faced with an opportunity to help others or to serve as a role model to people in our family, at our place of employment, in our neighborhood, at our parishes. Will we answer the call? Will we respond to Jesus who said, ‘In truth I tell you, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers [or sisters] of mine, you did it to me.’
The true Christian, the disciple, is one who lives as Jesus lived in deed and truth. It’s not simply a matter of believing in Jesus, but living it out in one’s words and actions. To be true to Jesus is to meet our brothers’ and sisters’ needs.”
FaithQuest is a four week Lenten series introduced as a result of the New Energies initiative of the Archdiocese of Newark, and sponsored by the parishes of St. Aloysius, Notre Dame, Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament and St. Thomas More. Mini-workshops are offered in Prayer & Spirituality, Understanding Sacred Scripture and Faith in Practice.
One of the other workshops this year was presented by Sister Vivien Jennings, O.P., a Sister of St. Dominic of Caldwell, on “Dominican Spirituality.”