Makin’ Memories: Saint Paul’s Senior Gala explores faith opportunities in college


Courtesy Photo

On March 23, Campus Ministry director Bill Creach and five seniors attended the Late Night Live with Saint Paul Outreach at the Overland Park Convention Center.

Sally Panis, Features Editor

As a future beyond the halls of Miege is in close proximity for the class of 2023, a handful of seniors chosen by Campus Minister Bill Creach, grew their faith with the Saint Paul’s Outreach, SPO Late Night Live event. 

According to Creach, SPO Late Night Live focuses on building communities with young people on college campuses. With historical roots within Kansas City, Miege had been invited to SPO breakfast but never attended due to little information available about the program. 

“When I first became campus minister, we wouldn’t go,” Creach said. “I’d forget to sign up or I would get busy or just blow it off. So last year, they switched gears with this SPO Late Night Live, and we went to the Overland Park Convention Center and then got this big ballroom that is basically like a theater for the Tonight Show.” 

With platforms and lighting, along with a sofa and desk, a diverse set of interviewees and speakers offered new insight and an educational style of faith. Either through comedy or personal messages of witness, attendees learned how to maintain and nurture their faith after high school. 

Seniors Pablo Montoya and Natalie Martinez didn’t expect the event to be as fun as it was. Smiling and laughing with people who share the same goal of faith made the event for them. 

“Attending this event was huge for me,” Montoya said. “I committed to attending and playing football at Benedictine. Now that I know that SPO will be available on my college campus, it will be something that I am going to join and help guide me through my college career and future life.” 

“The event exceeded my expectations because it was super interactive,” Martinez said. “It brought me closer to my faith and my classmates.” 

Each ticket for SPO Live Night is $100, but with a donation from a benefactor, five seniors could wear their best suits and dresses to get the chance to experience that next level of faith. 

I am truly grateful I was able to attend this convention,” Montoya said.“I was introduced to something new that will help me grow in faith and become the best version of myself in every aspect imaginable.” 

On the way back to Miege, Creach and the senior attendees made a stop at the Cheesecake Factory. To top off the night, the group ate in Campus Ministry. 

“It was very fun eating in CMT,” Martinez said. “I got Hershey’s chocolate cheesecake and Alena [Gillespie] got the pineapple upside-down cheesecake.” 

The night incorporated aspects of faith and friendship, making seniors reflect on the role of faith in their futures. 

“It is just a fun night, but it also has a serious message,” Creach said. “It is a great combination of both which I think attracts people. It gets them thinking about how to stay and build a community and find your people since you’re walking away from the community you’ve been at for four years.”