by Brianna Sluder
ATCHISON — More than 100 students gathered in the crypt of St. Benedict’s Abbey here to join Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann for an evening of prayer, praise and worship, and catechesis.
The archbishop traveled to the Benedictine College campus for “Trust One Greater” on Nov. 3. These events are an opportunity to bring the archbishop and the young people of the archdiocese together.
“This is a chance for me to spend time with young adults and accompany them in their spiritual journey,” said Archbishop Naumann. “It also helps me to know what young people are thinking and what the church can do to assist them.”
Those gathered had the opportunity to ask the archbishop questions before eucharistic adoration and praise and worship.
In response to a question asking how the young people can give back to him, the archbishop answered, “Seeing all of you here is a great strength and great encouragement to me. You can help us reach other young people and be a witness to your peers.”
In his comments, the archbishop shared, in particular, about the need to foster a personal relationship with the Lord.
“It’s important to have a strong relationship with Christ and with men and women who support you in having a virtuous life and doing the noble thing,” he said. “The world is longing for the Gospel and longing for real joy. The world that I grew up in was much more supportive of being a Christian; there are a lot of people in the world today who resist the Gospel and fight it.”
This stuck out to Benedictine College sophomore Ruthie Gross.
“I was most struck by the humility of the archbishop, and the wisdom he shared with us was valuable and unique,” said Gross.
“I was inspired especially in his talking about a personal relationship with Jesus.”
Archbishop Naumann also spoke to those gathered about prayer and knowing God’s will.
“It is so easy to get swept into what the world is telling us,” he said. “Sometimes it can be very self-serving.
“Try to have a balanced life. Give God quality time in the day. Ask the Lord what he wants you to do.”
“The Holy Spirit can be the forgotten person of the Trinity,” the archbishop continued. “For me, the Holy Spirit reveals what God is directing me to do. The Holy Spirit is my go-to person for strength, wisdom, courage — all of those things.”
The last question asked was how to respond to someone who says that they think God is calling them to holiness, but not right now.
“You don’t know how much time you’re going to have,” the archbishop responded. “Why not fill it with important things?
“The only enduring happiness is in communion with God. Why would you put that off? Why would you trade it for something less? He gives you everything if you do that.”
The evening concluded with a reception and time for the young people to visit with the archbishop. Maggie Vettel, a missionary for St. Paul’s Outreach, was impressed by the archbishop’s visit to Benedictine.
“It shows us that he just loves the whole church. As his young people, we are really known and seen by him and he wants to speak God’s love to us,” said Vettel. “He becomes like a real father to us.”