— By Hannah Dorss —
SOUL, the campus apostolate for John Paul the Great Catholic University, serves the important role of leading students in their spiritual journeys and fostering unity among them. Though still a small group of about a dozen or two members, SOUL—which stands for “Spirit of Unity and Love”—actively tends to the spiritual needs of JPCatholic’s students by hosting various activities and spiritual events. Its goal is to equip JPCatholic’s students to impact culture for Christ by first helping them develop their relationship with Jesus.
SOUL’s events are designed to foster community among the students, helping them to grow spiritually so that they can in turn impact culture for Christ. Each week, SOUL hosts a night of adoration with praise and worship. This provides the students with a break from the week’s monotony, and helps them rekindle their desire for God. The leaders of SOUL also organize a quarterly event called “Metanoia,” which includes talks, adoration, and confession and is open to all students on campus. SOUL also spearheads other activities that help unify the campus, such as hikes, beach BBQs, and a winter retreat. Even in these more “outdoorsy” activities, SOUL’s focus is fostering and furthering the spiritual unity and community of the students.
Brigitta Sanchez-O’Brien, a member of SOUL, explains that the focus of the group is on “impacting students to impact culture.” Leading students closer to Christ and providing them with the necessary armor to “fight the good fight” as Brigitta puts it, is the goal of all of SOUL’s outreach. Whether it is by meeting with members one-on-one for mentorship, taking students on hikes, or praying for their petitions after Mass, the leaders and members of SOUL are dedicated to the spiritual and personal welfare of every student.
SOUL’s ultimate focus is on strengthening people and teaching them to have recourse to prayer, says member Margie Curran. She explains that SOUL is a group made specifically for JPCatholic by JPCatholic students themselves, and its unique aim is to impact culture for Christ through infusing daily actions with charity. Prayer is essential to that mission, as Margie explains.
Chase Crouse, the director of campus ministry at JPCatholic, explains that SOUL helped him greatly on his spiritual journey as an undergraduate. “SOUL has given me a community of brothers and sisters that share in my desire to evangelize and be a witness to my faith.” Chase hopes that SOUL will continue to grow and be empowered to help JPCatholic’s students grow in their faith.
In the upcoming years, the SOUL team aims to host a greater number and variety of events for the students, reach out to the greater community more, and continue to be a presence of joy and love on campus to students and faculty alike. The ultimate desire of SOUL is to be, as Chase puts it, “A powerful apostolate to build up a culture of evangelization on campus.”