Friday, August 30, 2013

Double Welcome Week Wrap Up

Today marks the end of our "Double Welcome Week" here at ASU. Throughout the last two weeks, the ASU FOCUS team and I have been busy meeting hundreds of students to get them plugged into the All Saints Catholic Newman Center right away. To do so we have been meeting with students one-on-one, holding daily events, working a booth outside the Memorial Union on campus, attending every Mass offered at the Newman Center, and sending up A LOT of prayers. I've also been lucky enough to work with the ASU Delta Gammas, aiding in recruitment and banner making. Tonight we have our first "Upper Room," event for our student missionaries. The "Upper Room" is where Jesus appeared to the disciples following His Resurrection. Each month we hold an "Upper Room" to gather our student missionaries for formation, prayer, and vision setting. Then the ASU FOCUS team and I are off to San Diego, California for a relaxing weekend on the beach for our team offsite. Praise Jesus! 

Here are a few recap photos from the last two weeks:

Student Missionary Pool Party & Vision Setting
ASU student missionary, Caelen,  Fr. Clements, and I throwing the Delta Gamma salute!

Pool Volleyball & Anna's "creative" net.

Shaving Cream Baseball

Passport at ASU

Newman Center BBQ 

Girls' Night at "The House of Gold"

Fuzzy's Dinner with Students

Southern Arizona Team Outing with Fr. Clements

Swing Dancing at Moonshine with Students

Monday, August 26, 2013

Meet the Priests

Meet Fr. Rob Clements, the ASU Newman Center pastor & director and mystery man of the century. Fr. Rob is an ASU Sigma Chi alumna who has a heart for DG (since his mother, grandmother, and aunt were all Delta Gammas). And he likes wine. I knew we'd get along well immediately. 

Meet Fr. Ramirez, proud filipino who claims the age of forty-five. He is entering his first year as assistant director at the Newman Center, but has proved to be a huge help thus far, especially in sending me to real life episodes of "Hoarders" to find some quality goods for our new home. He specializes in double back flips and photo taking. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The House of Gold

As we begin the schoolyear, my teammate, Anna, and I have begun our semi-monthly Friday night "FOCUS Women's Nights," but with a new spin. After a bit of brainstorming, we are now enjoying one another's company in Christ at "The House of Gold." 
“The House of Gold” is a Marian title. Gold is the most beautiful, the most valuable, of all metals. In the ancient world, as today, gold was symbolic of worth. The title, "House of Gold" finds it's origin in the Old Testament, in the description of the magnificent Temple built to the Lord by King Solomon.
“And he made the oracle in the midst of the house, in the inner part, to set there the ark of the covenant of the Lord. Now the oracle was twenty cubits in length, and twenty cubits in breadth, and twenty cubits in height. And he covered it, and overlaid it with most pure gold. And the altar also he covered with cedar. And the house before the oracle he overlaid with most pure gold, and fastened on the plates with nails of gold. And there was nothing in the temple that was not covered with gold: the whole altar of the oracle he covered also with gold. And he made in the oracle two cherubims of olive tree, of ten cubits in height . . . And he overlaid the cherubims with gold. And the floor of the house he also overlaid with gold within and without. And in the entrance of the oracle, he made little doors of olive tree, and posts of five corners . . . And two doors of olive tree: and he carved upon them figures of cherubims, and figures of palm trees, and carvings very much projecting; and he overlaid them with gold: and he covered both the cherubims and the palm trees, and the other things, with gold.” 
(3 Kings: 6)

Why was there such an abundance of gold used in the construction of this Temple? Solomon's Temple was built for the same reason that Churches are designed-to be places of beauty to call our minds away from the mundane world for a time, to speak and to listen to God. Churches serve as earthly dwellings for the Almighty.

The Blessed Virgin Mother is a "temple" which was prepared to receive the Living God, the same God Who filled the house of the Lord in the time of King Solomon. She, too, was "designed" to honor the Lord, to be a fit dwelling for God. The original Temple was overlaid with gold everywhere. Gold is symbolic of purity. Mary was kept free from the stain of Original Sin, preserved from any stain on her perfect soul. Thus, she became a worthy dwelling for our Lord, Jesus Christ. The grand Temple built by Solomon, was a pale foreshadowing of Mary, the true House of Gold.

Blessed John Henry Newman said, “Mary is the house and the palace of the Great King, of God Himself. Our Lord, the Co-equal Son of God, once dwelt in her. He was her Guest; nay, more than a guest, for a guest comes into a house as well as leaves it. But our Lord was actually born in this holy house. He took His flesh and His blood from this house, from the flesh, from the veins of Mary. Rightly then was she made to be of pure gold, because she was to give of that gold to form the body of the Son of God. She was golden in her conception, golden in her birth. She went through the fire of her suffering like gold in the furnace, and when she ascended on high she was, in the words of our hymn. Above all the Angels in glory untold, standing next to the king in a vesture of Gold.”

Friday nights at the "House of Gold" provide the women of ASU a community to grow in virtue and selfless love of others in reflection of our Mother Mary. Together we strive to become houses of gold, too, growing in grace and purity through the intercession of our Blessed Mother, so that we may allow her Son to live with us, in us, and through us. 

We had 30 girls attend our first "House of Gold" event! As a craft we all made friendship bracelets with miraculous medals. 

The roommates of the "House of Gold."
Anna Brzozowski - FOCUS missionary
Lesley Minervini - junior landscape architecture student
Marisa Lopez - senior civil engineer student
Katie Bandy - senior kinesiology student
Emily German - FOCUS missionary

Monday, August 19, 2013

Hello! My name is Emily German, a first year campus missionary with FOCUS, the Fellowship of Catholic University Students. I am a small town girl with a heart for traveling the world and sharing He who created it. I recently graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in May with a degree in Advertising & Public relations, a minor in Art, and a concentration in History. As a full-time campus missionary I am able to devote my entire life to inviting college students into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church, inspiring and equipping them for a lifetime of Christ-centered evangelization, discipleship and friendship in which they lead others to do the same. I am doing this through one-on-one investment, bible studies, and large group outreach (such as conferences).

I recognized my specific call to serve Jesus Christ on a college campus while on a Varsity Catholic FOCUS Missions trip to the Dominican Republic in December of 2011. As I stood on the border of the Dominican Republic, preparing to cross the muddy waters to Haiti, I watched the native people bathe while their children splashed in the awful smelling, cholera-infected water. I crouched in the hollowed-out log as a local pushed us from one side of the river to the other. Careful not to touch the water for fear of sickness, I thought to myself, “These people don’t even realize that they are swimming in infected waters.” I couldn’t help but wonder what my campus would look like if I placed a spiritual lens over my eyes. I suddenly saw my own friends unknowingly swimming in dangerous, infected waters of hopelessness, confusion, and sin. Translating the physical need of purification in the Dominican Republic to the spiritual need on my own college campus placed a sense of urgency and mission on my heart.

College years are some of the most pivotal of a young person's life. Without the support of family and friends, the majority of freshman students fall into the party culture, swallowed by promises of happiness from destructive influences. As a campus missionary, it is my hope to be a light in this darkness. In Luke 12:49 Jesus says, "I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already ablaze!" Jesus has called me to serve Him at Arizona State University, and to set ASU ablaze with Christ's love.

This blog, titled "Brushstrokes," will mark the journey that the Lord is leading me on as I serve Him through FOCUS. As an artist, the words of His Holiness Benedict XVI, Pope-Emeritus resound in my heart. He states, "Art is like a door opened to the infinite, opened to a beauty and a truth beyond the every day. And a work of art can open the eyes of the mind and heart, urging us upward."

In the Letter of His Holiness Pope John Paul II to Artists, Blessed John Paul II says, "Human beings, in a certain sense, are unknown to themselves. Jesus Christ not only reveals God, but “fully reveals man to man”. In Christ, God has reconciled the world to himself. All believers are called to bear witness to this; but it is up to you, men and women who have given your lives to art, to declare with all the wealth of your ingenuity that in Christ the world is redeemed: the human person is redeemed, the human body is redeemed, and the whole creation which, according to Saint Paul, “awaits impatiently the revelation of the children of God” (Rom8:19), is redeemed. The creation awaits the revelation of the children of God also through art and in art. This is your task. Humanity in every age, and even today, looks to works of art to shed light upon its path and its destiny."

I wish to use my God-given gift so that I may lead others to see themselves and the whole of creation with eyes able to contemplate and give thanks to our Lord, Jesus Christ. I view myself as a paintbrush in the hand of God. Each stroke and blend of colors is guided by the Author of Creation. It is my hope to allow the Lord to use me to inspire the picture painted on the canvases of those I meet.