Finding light amidst the darkness is a common theme and inspiration inside the Bible. But putting those words into practice is a completely different story. Amid the pandemic and stress of school, students and families are finding their own spiritual light in times of darkness.
Freshman Clare Allen and her family members attend virtual Mass on Sunday outside of school. Her experience has been much different this year than ever before.
“Online Mass makes it harder to pay attention — we kinda just sit wherever and our mom rallies us,” Allen said. “It’s definitely not like in-person Mass, but I try my best to focus.”
Allen expressed that she missed being able to be in person for Mass and that she felt disconnected but grateful for the opportunity to have alone time.
“I feel like spiritually I’m kind of in the same spot as before, and it has affected me negatively because I haven’t been able to receive the Eucharist,” Allen said. “But I’ve had a lot of quiet time to think and be on my own, and I’ve enjoyed it.”
Additionally, Allen has enjoyed being able to understand herself and the relationship with her friends better.
“My advice to anyone who might be struggling with their faith is to talk to friends and relax,” Allen said. “When I get stressed, my friends are always there for me when I need it, and that helps me remain faithful.”
Freshman Lola Kernell uses an app called Hallow to keep her faith strong amid uncertainty.
“Hallow has been a guiding light for me during COVID and has helped my faith improve,” Kernell said. “It has helped me stay strong and the prayers are relaxing.”
Kernell described features of the Hallow app such as guided meditations and Lectio Divina that she uses in her life.
“You can share these prayers with your family members and friends. I like sharing my favorite quotes with my family,” Kernell said.
Kernell recommends that families and students download this app for a few different reasons.
“People should download this app because they will find this helps with school stress and with the stress of the pandemic.”
Campus Ministry director Bill Creach attends Sunday Mass at the Saint Francis Xavier parish and sets aside time for daily prayer and spiritual reading.
“Last semester was tough during the stay-at-home order for a couple of reasons. I live alone so it was difficult not being able to see and visit with people in person,” Creach said. “I had to think outside the box about how to be a ‘remote’ campus minister. That’s when I came up with the 1-minute CMT daily reflection videos.”
Serving as Miege’s campus minister inspires and challenges Creach to continue to grow in his faith each day. Creach said he found his faith difficult to maintain during quarantine. However, he understands the difficulty of maintaining faith during this time.
“I think most of us are struggling with a lot of things as we find ourselves nine months into this pandemic,” Creach said. “Faith is one of those things — probably one of the big things. I think it has always been a struggle to try to be a person of faith. This pandemic, however, has taken the struggle to another level for a lot of us.”
Despite the challenges of this year, Creach said he believes that the suffering happens in our lives for a reason, and that struggle helps us in the long run.
“When we experience pain and suffering in our lives, we can be a source of strength and support to others when they are suffering,” Creach said. “In our woundedness, we can help others heal.”