Loras students and staff stay connected to their faith during social distancing

By KOURTNEY HUPPERT (LCTV)

Fr. Andrew Marr

Father Andrew Marr, the Chaplin at Loras College, is just one of many who are working with the spiritual life department to help keep the students positive and connected to their faith.  Father is offering several opportunities to still engage with the Loras community.

“We have an ongoing schedule of things that are posted each day on Loras College Spiritual Life Facebook Page, we also post some things on Instagram.”  

Virtual Events on the Loras College Spiritual life facebook page:

  • Daily– Focus missionaries pray the the divine mercy chaplet and the rosary at 3:00pm
  • Wednesdays – Adoration, praise, and worship night at 9:00pm
  • Thursdays there is a zoom of game-night or social gathering

Priests of the Diocese of Dubuque are given the option to decide for themselves how they would like to proceed with mass and reaching out to their parishioners.  

“Some celebrate Mass and record it and post it online or give it to a radio station to play it. Some record video messages and post it. Others post Podcasts. All said each find a way to connect to their congregation in a positive and meaningful way,” explains Marr.

Father Marr strives to remain connected with the students he worked with while on campus and talked about how he has seen students find the positives in light of this situation.

“I have seen students engaged in their faith and continuing to strengthen their relationship with God. They continue to pray and participate in online opportunities.” 

Fr. Andrew marr

Stacia McDermott, Director of Spiritual Life and Peace and Justice, is giving her best efforts to keep fellow faculty, staff and students connected.

Stacia McDermott

She touches a little on how her daily routine has changed since she is not on campus right now, “I have had a lot less face time with students and colleagues and obviously less programming in general. I’m working from home so I now engage with everyone through technology from my sunroom—with regular visits from my three children.”

McDermott has also seen students coming together by continuing their group activities virtually,  

“Students are engaging in individual and joint prayer—whether that be praying night prayer together, being part of a virtual Bible Study or meditation group.”  

She expresses that ‘“There is definitely a sadness of not being physically together with their faith community, but as students adjust to being at home, they are finding the ways God is present to them in their environment.”  

Spiritual life department has programs set for everyday of the week to keep students engaged, and “all of the staff take turns posting different ideas/insights/personal stories and we also have students and alumni involved in posting.”

Spiritual Sunday

Mindful Monday

Service Tuesday  

Worship Wednesday

Podcast Thursday

Fasting Friday

Social Saturday

 “The Spiritual Life Team is sending light, love and prayers to everyone in the Loras community right now and always! If anyone has ideas of how to broaden outreach, please don’t hesitate to let us know!”  

Stacia MCDERMOTT

John Piccone, a FOCUS missionary at Loras college, shares some of his daily work entails. “My team, we work very closely with spiritual life department, meet with students one on one, lead bible studies, retreats, and attend conferences.”

John Piccone

The main part of his position as a FOCUS Missionary is to meet with students, which he explains is a bit different now that they are not on campus, “This definitely has been a huge shift for us trying to figure out how to continue to minister while still be at home.”

Piccone shares that he is thankful he can still meet with his students and engage in bible studies over zoom.

Loras FOCUS Missionaries

However the most challenging part during social distancing is bringing the Lord into new peoples lives, ” I and my teammates are trying to figure out different ways to encounter people, like have a game night, or whatever, just trying to encounter people.”

The FOCUS Missionary team and spiritual life continue to collaborate to find ways to have virtual connections with students.

Piccone mentions how he is using his own faith to stay positive,

“I think that right now is a time where it can be kinda easy to ask the question ‘God where are you, are you present in any of this?’ and thats been really beautiful for me. Thats an aspect of my faith that I have really been relying on, is the fact that Jesus is present in this with us. ”

Piccone is impressed by the young adults he works with that they are still finding good things that are happening, “I have noticed that they are taking this time as a beautiful opportunity to engage in their faith.”

Lastly, Piccone emphasizes, ” I think this a beautiful time for all of us at Loras to open our hearts a little bit more to allow the Lord in.”

One last note Fr. Marr wants students to remember, “no matter how dark it may seem, God is always with us.”  

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Written By :

Kourtney is a freshman at Loras College, and is from Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. An associate producer and reporter for LCTV News and lead producer for LCTV Live sports. She is majoring both Media studies and Public Relations.

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