3rd Sunday of Lent

About 1/3 of the way into Lent – how is your Lenten journey going? Have you had a chance to spend time in Scripture? Have you made a sincere Confession?

This week’s bulletin: Bulletin-2013-03-03.pdf

FOCUS Greek

We’ve got a great event this week for all Greek students. It’s a FOCUS Greek Social on Tuesday, March 5, 9p at Dex’s Mexican Grill. There will be free chips, queso, pop, and a discussion on “Values and Virtues: Getting your house back to the basics.”

FOCUS Greek

Faith and Food

We’ve also got Faith and Food this week at 6p.  Timothy Putnam, the Director of Family Life for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tulsa, will be our guest speaker. Bring along your classmate, roommate, teammate, sorority sister, or fraternity brother, even if they might just come for the free food.

Gospel reading for next Sunday (Luke 15:1-3,11-32)

Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus,
but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying,
“This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
So to them Jesus addressed this parable:
“A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father,
‘Father give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’
So the father divided the property between them.
After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings
and set off to a distant country
where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation.
When he had freely spent everything,
a severe famine struck that country,
and he found himself in dire need.
So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens
who sent him to his farm to tend the swine.
And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed,
but nobody gave him any.
Coming to his senses he thought,
‘How many of my father’s hired workers
have more than enough food to eat,
but here am I, dying from hunger.
I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him,
“Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
I no longer deserve to be called your son;
treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”’
So he got up and went back to his father.
While he was still a long way off,
his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion.
He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.
His son said to him,
‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you;
I no longer deserve to be called your son.’
But his father ordered his servants,
‘Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him;
put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.
Take the fattened calf and slaughter it.
Then let us celebrate with a feast,
because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again;
he was lost, and has been found.’
Then the celebration began.
Now the older son had been out in the field
and, on his way back, as he neared the house,
he heard the sound of music and dancing.
He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean.
The servant said to him,
‘Your brother has returned
and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf
because he has him back safe and sound.’
He became angry,
and when he refused to enter the house,
his father came out and pleaded with him.
He said to his father in reply,
‘Look, all these years I served you
and not once did I disobey your orders;
yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends.
But when your son returns
who swallowed up your property with prostitutes,
for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’
He said to him,
‘My son, you are here with me always;
everything I have is yours.
But now we must celebrate and rejoice,
because your brother was dead and has come to life again;
he was lost and has been found.’”

 

Two Professional Athletes Become FOCUS Missionaries

[photo courtesy FOCUS]

The Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS), has announced that two of its newest Varsity Catholic missionaries are professional basketball players. The story from the FOCUS website is given below.

Friendship, Faith and Free Throws: Two professional basketball players to become full-time Catholic missionaries

Jennifer Risper and Christina Wirth have been friends since 2005, when they were roommates in their freshman year of college, playing basketball at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. Eight years later, they are still roommates – and playing professional basketball in Romania. This May, both women will leave their careers as professional athletes to become full-time Catholic missionaries.

“I realized that God wanted to use me through sports. I know that I’ve been successful through God’s grace,” said Risper. “I had to ask myself, ‘do you think you’ll be able to impact other athletes?’ and thought, I really think I can, and I want to.’”

Next fall, Risper and Wirth will each be working on a college campus in the United States as missionaries with Varsity Catholic, a branch of FOCUS, The Fellowship of Catholic University Students. FOCUS is a national collegiate outreach with a presence on 74 campuses across the United States. Varsity Catholic was formed in 2007 to reach out to varsity athletes on college campuses, and currently has 12 former collegiate athletes and coaches serving as missionaries on 20 campuses.

“In our experience, there are a lot of Christian organizations for athletes out there, but Varsity Catholic may be unique in that [it’s specifically Catholic],” said Wirth. “As much as I benefitted from the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in college, I think this is really special and a great opportunity to take the Catholic faith to people, especially to athletes.”

Risper and Wirth will be the first professional athletes to serve as missionaries with Varsity Catholic. After academic and athletic success at Vanderbilt University, both women were drafted to the WNBA in 2009. Wirth helped her team, Indiana Fever, make it to the final game in WNBA championship that year. For the past three years, the two women have continued their professional basketball careers as teammates – in Slovakia, Portugal and now Romania.

“The way that our culture looks at athletes, there’s a lot of pressure and expectation, but there’s also a platform for athletes that can be used to spread the Gospel,” said Wirth. “I think it’s important for those athletes to have an influence in their lives that can help them personally grow, but also show them what a great opportunity they have to lead other people to Christ.”

Risper and Wirth have been that sort of influence for each other since the first day they met. Together, they have been through some of the most significant moments of their lives, athletic careers and the discovery and deepening of their Catholic faith.

 “Sometimes as Christians you’re the only ones on your team. Ours was pretty unique in that there were other Christians on our team [at Vanderbilt]. But it was great having someone like that as my roommate, and teammate, and friend,” said Risper. “We really try to encourage each other to live better lives, even in the small things.” Risper acknowledged that it was Wirth who helped her to rediscover her Catholic faith after years of questioning and identifying herself as a non-denominational Christian.

“It’s been an awesome journey these past couple of years together just trying to grow in our Catholic faith and holiness,” said Wirth. “ We always say, ‘let’s be saints together’ and I think that has been the coolest thing – to have God give me the grace in opening my eyes to what He has for me – and even more special, having a best friend to encourage me in that.”

Yes, these young women are accomplished professional athletes, but it becomes clear, even in a brief phone interview, that they are just like other young women trying to follow the will of God for their lives.

“It’s not this glamorous life that some people may think it is,” explained Wirth. “Our culture idolizes athletes, and God has really blessed my career. But at the end of the day, you want something that’s eternal. We were made for so much more than fame or power, and coming to that realization has really made me say, ‘God, you know that’s best for me and that’s what I want, too.’”

Though they both are happy in their athletic careers, they are excited for the next phase of their lives as missionaries. “You get a chance to pour into students’ lives and share about Christ,” said Risper. “But it’s also going to be a beautiful time for me to grow closer to Christ and discern my vocation in a deeper way.”

“God creates us with a purpose and whatever vocation he’s created us for, that’s where we’re ultimately going to find true fulfillment and happiness,” explained Wirth.

Though they are learning to trust God more fully and are excited to start working with Varsity Catholic, they’re just as nervous about missionary life as anyone else.

Wirth said that she often asks herself if she’ll be good at the job. “If you could design the perfect FOCUS missionary, I don’t think I fit that mold,” she acknowledged. “My fear is alleviated very quickly when I pray about it. God reminds me that He can be glorified in my weakness. I try to offer that to God and say, ‘I’m doing this because I feel like you’ve called me to it and I want to be available. So I’m going to go, I’m going to walk on campus, and ask God to go with me.”

Risper mentioned the same fears and recognized how much they will both be relying on God in as they transition to missionary life. “Please keep us in your prayers as far as what makes us nervous and what we hope God will do in us,” said Risper. “It’s something that will be on our minds, and in hearts and our prayers until we step on campus – really for the whole thing.”