Theology teachers share life advice

By Maggie Deller

With seniors nearing the half-way mark of their final year at McNick, many look for ways to continue the faith they’ve been surrounded by at McNicholas. The McNicholas theology teachers shared advice to help students live as young Catholic adults, both in and out of McNick.

Theology teacher Teresa Davis said, “See the world. Go out and meet the world. Find people who are different from you and find connection. [Also] have a good prayer life before you leave this building.” “Keep learning about yourself and the goodness of yourself.” She added, “Empathy will cure the world, so go cure the world.”

“Never quit learning your faith. Never quit learning anything, really,” theology teacher Sam Roflow said. “Join the Newman center wherever you go to college,” he said, advising students to go to the religious centers on university campuses that conduct programs like retreats and services. “Don’t ever think you have all the answers when it comes to your faith because it’s ever-changing,” he said. “Don’t feel like you can only join the parish where you live,” he added, and advised to find any place that feels welcoming. He also advised to continue prayer. “Prayer is important. It gives you strength when things get out of hand.”

Theology teacher John Norman said, “Carve out a bit of time out of your day. Give that time to the Lord and be still.”

“When you’re driving, have a conversation with the Lord. Just talk to him, tell him what’s good in your life and questions you have and what’s troubling you,” he said. “Before you begin an activity like a game or studying or a theater production… take a moment and say, ‘Lord I offer this to you as an expression of my love. Help me to do my best,’ because of that inner disposition, that activity becomes a prayer.” Norman added, “When we’re doing service with compassion, that’s a prayer.”

“Find ways to get involved in a church or parish community,” theology teacher David Sandmann said. “In school, that’s built in for you,” he added, “but once you’re done with school, you have to go out and find it.”

Theology teacher Mary Beth Sandmann said, “Pray. That’s number one…Take time to reflect.”

“Step back every now and then, but go back and give to the world,” she added. “Meet new people and learn from them.  It will expand the way you see the world and understand it.” Sandmann also said to “practice gratitude.” “Be grateful for all that you are able to do, for the people in your life, and all you have.”

“Each day, in the midst of the joys and challenges of life and in the midst of the ordinary moments in life, there will be opportunities to encounter God’s presence and love,” theology teacher Jeff Hutchinson-Smyth said, “and over and over again there will be moments or seasons where that’s easier than others.”

“While God’s presence surrounds us at every minute of our lives, our attention and awareness will be pulled to an abundance of other things,” he said, “and, like any relationship that we want to grow, we are going to have to put in some time and energy.”

Hutchinson-Smyth advised students to lead an abundant life. “After that, the other questions of right or wrong fall into place.”

teacher gives advice

Theology teacher Teresa Davis gives life advice to senior Lindsey Hamad. The teachers of the theology department share advice for students who want to live as young Catholic adults. They suggested students pursue prayer, seek out the Newman centers at college, and find an enjoyable parish.


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