By Ella Fordyce, Class of 2019
Students of Thomas More College of Liberal Arts recently assisted with a Confirmation retreat at the local parish of Saint Patrick’s in Nashua. TMC has long had a good relationship with Saint Patrick’s; many students and faculty attend its Sunday Masses. Mrs. Ruth Thompson, wife of Dean Walter Thompson, runs the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd at the parish. When the time came for the Confirmation students to have a retreat, Mrs. Thompson knew she could call on TMC students to come and give a few talks.
Several students immediately volunteered to come talk to the catechumens. Their presence was greatly appreciated, because young people need to hear other young people discuss the importance of faith and morals. Too often the youth of today may associate the Catholic Church with ancient priests and long-dead saints. Their own peers, in the meantime, are more often to be found carousing than praying. Students at TMC, however, come to the college precisely because they value their faith far more than the enticements of secular fripperies. For this reason, TMC students serve as an excellent witness to the ageless appeal of Catholicism.
The retreat took place on Saturday afternoon; proceedings began with a short game to break the ice. Next, Mr. Dominic Cassella, Class of 2018, gave a talk on the importance of being focused when praying. In these days of multiple technological distractions, it is more important than ever to distance oneself from earthly matters when praying to God. After his talk, everyone broke into smaller groups where the TMC students led a discussion about prayer and its effects in their lives. Mr. Daniel Leahy, Class of 2019, spoke next on the subject of his conversion story. He grew up nominally Catholic, with little care for Mass or prayer. As he grew older, however, he began to realize that all the supposedly good things in his life were ultimately empty, so he abandoned his shallow friends to pursue a relationship with God.
After another discussion, everyone took a snack break and played a little basketball. Next, the catechumens divided into two groups, one for the men, one for the ladies. The TMC men led the male catechumens in a discussion about the sacrament of Confession, while the TMC ladies did the same for the girls. They discussed the nature of the sacrament, its benefits, and how to properly confess. Everyone made their own private examination of conscience, then went to receive the sacrament of Confession. The retreat then concluded with Mass.
It is important for the young people of this world to see young witnesses to the Faith; the TMC students were more than happy to be this kind of witness. The retreat, however, was a benefit not only to the catechumens, but also to the TMC students who spoke at the retreat. By speaking to others on the value of faith, the TMC students were reminded of it themselves. “When you challenge others to look at their faith, it forces you to look at yours, as well,” said Miss Maire Wood, Class of 2019. Even in the rigorous environment of TMC, it is all too easy to fall into spiritual complacency. For this reason, it is always wise to re-examine the faith in one’s own life. As even a pagan philosopher recognized, the unexamined life is not worth living.