St. John Paul II’s Vision Inspired Prominent Anglican To Found Center for Family Life

First, Tory Baucum joined the Benedictine Oblates. Then he join the Church. Then he joined Benedictine College. He is pictured above with Archbishop Joseph Naumann and JP De Gance, with whom he serves families in Northeast Kansas.

How do you Transform Culture in America? By strengthening the family. And how do you strengthen families?

“Formation, Restoration and Exploration,” says Tory Baucum (right), director of Benedictine College’s Center for Family Life. The new center has been doing just that — working with students on campus to tutor Atchison kids, working with 10 parishes throughout the Archdiocese, hosting families from across the United States, and going to the roots of John Paul’s vision of the family in Poland. “I have met really extraordinary people at Benedictine College,” said Tory Baucum. “This center is poised to make a real difference.”

The center was formed after members of the board of directors, faculty, staff, and subject experts met to determine the best ways to Transform Culture in America. St. John Paul II’s apostolic exhortation The Church in America became a focal point for plans. The document calls for American colleges to “train truly Christian leaders in the different spheres of human activity” and stresses the family. St. John Paul II has said “The future of civilization passes by way of the family.”

The John Paul II Fellows program forms students to be able to build strong families. Under the Center’s direction and mentorship, Benedictine College students go out to serve at-risk students in local public schools. The objective is to be living examples and teachers of the World Youth Alliance’s “Human Dignity Curriculum,” delivering universal truths in a way that a secular population can receive.

“Central to these principles is the belief freedom enables human excellence,” said Tory. “The Fellows instill the foundation that persons are subjects, never objects, and that students should pursue true friendships, which is the kind that help them accomplish excellence.” Students are responding. “This program has added a whole different element to the meaning of scholarship for me,” said Nicole Hraban, a junior from Windsor, Colo. “Once I stepped outside of myself and my bubble, I was able to better understand the communities’ wants and needs. And by working alongside the people who know Atchison the best, we are able to inspire real change and genuine progress within the community that we serve.”

Family Week at the college forms married and family life for participants from several states. From May 22-28 more than 30 adult participants and more than 80 children converged on the campus of Benedictine College for a week of fun, bonding, learning and full living. The week was designed by veterans of the John Paul II Institute in Rome and brings a rich European model to the states for the first time. The week is “a true experience of an authentic Catholic vision for marriage and family life,” said Tory.

“Fighting back against the secular narrative about family life, and giving intentional couples time and family activities to help refresh and restore their marriage.”

Poland outreach helps explore the depths of the Church’s teaching. Tory and the Fellows planned an immersive dive into the history and culture of Poland, where John Paul II developed his love of the family and was formed into the saint he would become. Unfortunately for the students, the overseas trip was cancelled because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which sent all of Europe into uncertain times.

However, Tory decided to make the trip alone, representing Joseph Naumann, Archbishop of Kansas City in Kansas, in a visit to the Diocese of Warsaw.

There he experienced the beauty of the domestic church in action, as Catholics opened their doors to accept millions of refugees fleeing the terrors of war in Ukraine. In fact, in meeting with Bishop Michal Janocha, Auxiliary Bishop of Warsaw, Tory was impressed to see that the bishop, himself, was housing a Ukrainian refugee family in his own home.

Tory’s writings on the visit proved immensely popular in Poland, and he was invited to return in June for a government-sponsored forum on developing policies toward a long-term solution for the crisis. “Poland is leading Europe in the Ukrainian refugee crisis and the domestic church leaders are leading Poland. Benedictine College’s Center for Family Life has been invited to coach these leaders,” Tory said. It was a deep love for Catholic principles of family life that led a renowned Anglican pastor of 30 years from his prestigious post of one of the Six Preachers of Canterbury Cathedral into the Catholic Church, and to the first directorship of the new Center for Family Life at Benedictine College.

Dr. Tory Baucum served as pastor of Episcopal parishes throughout the country and taught aspiring preachers at Asbury Theological Seminary. His 2014 appointment as one of the Six Preachers of Canterbury Cathedral opened opportunities for Tory to meet and learn from influential figures not only in his denomination, but also from other Christian faiths in ecumenical cooperation. Significantly for him, Baucum met Don Renzo Bonetti, founder of the Italian Movement Mistero Grande, in Rome.

Through that relationship and others, coupled with countless hours of study, Tory became convinced that Saint John Paul’s vision for the domestic Church, fortified by the saint’s unique 20th century Polish experience, was the answer to the disunity and chaos poisoning relationships in the world today.

With help from Atchison’s Benedictines, he became an Oblate of the order. Then, through preparation provided through a dear friend, Fr. Paul Scalia, son of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Tory and his wife, Elizabeth, were received into full communion with the Catholic Church on Easter Sunday, 2020. It was Fr. Scalia who provided a second assist to Tory, recommending that he explore a newly formed leadership position he had learned about in Kansas — which also just happens to be the state of Tory’s childhood.

The Center has ambitious dreams for the implementation of John Paul’s vision, but Tory believes it’s the most important mission of our time. He saw in the Catholic Church the one institution willing to consistently lay it all on the line for the family, and that was enough for him to change his world forever. Now he’s dedicated to a life of training the young people of Benedictine College to change their world.

Jared Zimmerer

10 Quotes from Jared Zimmerer on Leadership

Jared Zimmerer spoke about leadership to the Gregorian Fellows Leadership Program at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, on Nov. 14. Zimmerer is the Senior Director and Dean of Pastoral Fellows at the Word on Fire Institute. He holds a master’s degree in Theology from Holy Apostles College and a PhD in Humanities from Faulkner University. He and his wife Jessica live in North Texas with their six children.  He is frequently seen on Word on Fire’s YouTube series of videos about the Catholic faith featuring the organization’s founder, Bishop Robert Barron. What follows are excerpts of his talk.

1: Leadership Mindset

“What makes the difference between a calm, cool, collected leader and one in a constant state of fear is mindset. Our life is often suffering, and our job is to choose what to do with it.”

2: Mexican Martyrs

“I grew up in a very very very devout Catholic family. But my lowercase-g ‘god’ was sports. If Arnold Schwarzenegger told me to eat oil I would have done that. If anything could improve my jump shot, I would do that. I had an opportunity to go to Mexico City with my father, and I visited the shrine of Miguel Pro. For the first time I knew what faith is and the sacrifice it entails. And then everything started to make sense to me. Miguel Pro really hit me hard.”

3: Lead Like Jesus

“As a leader, your personal holiness and your relationship with Christ will reflect in your leadership. Christ was the perfect leader, strong when needed, soft at other times, always willing to tell the truth and allow his apostles some freedom.”

4: Sports and God

“After those first years of starting a family and finishing a college, I started writing and speaking about my love of sports and fitness and how it fits with the Christian tradition. I had this love of sports, and I began to match it with the tradition of ascetism in the Church. I think the modern ideal of sports is incomplete, but that there is quite a bit of spiritual growth that can come from that.”

5: Control What You Can

“So often we think of what we cannot control, things like other people’s attitudes or perceptions, or we look too far into the future. Rather, choose to be objective.”

6: Hand a Drowning Man a Baby

“I grew up in this tradition of hard work. We were not allowed to be lazy. I worked at State Farm insurance after I got married, and after work there, I would work at a movie theater cleaning toilets, and study in what time I had. And then we got pregnant, and it’s like that Jim Gaffigan joke, where you feel like you’re drowning and someone hands you a baby.”

7: How to Make Challenges into Opportunities

“It takes a lot of practice and discipline to see a challenge as an opportunity. You have to learn to overcome your primal emotions of flight or flight. Yet each time we are able to control our reactions, it becomes a habit, and a virtuous habit.”

8: Word on Fire Origins

“In 2014 I had the very blessed opportunity to meet Cardinal Francis George. He’s one of those people who could read your soul and not judge you. At this time I was still doing parish work. He challenged us to ask, ‘What is Word on Fire going to be like in 100 years?’ With then-Father Robert Barron we started going over the Acts of Apostles together on the phone. We started listening to this grand vision of what he wanted Word on Fire to be. Then, in December of 2016, I get a call, ‘Jared I want you to do it.’”

9: Form Yourself in Prayer

“The way I have found this is through quiet, meditative prayer, maybe through a guided meditation. I really like the guided meditations available on Hallow. In addition to this I would highly recommend daily exercise. Some kind of physical exercise that pushes your boundaries, something that pushes your limits and forces you to see that you aren’t made of glass. They give you an enlarged sense of Providence.”

10: Form Your Team in Prayer

“I encourage you to pray with your team. When you pray with your volunteers, when you pray with those who work around you and under you, you get to have that level of relationship so that when those times come when you have to have a difficult conversation, you understand each other and where you are going.”

Raven Teaches Respect for Veterans

Thank a veteran in person this Veterans Day.

That’s the advice of Shane Koehr a junior at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, involved in the school’s ROTC program.

“I talked to one guy recently from Veterans of Foreign Wars who fought in Vietnam. He was flying missions over Vietnam, and he lost most of his buddies in the war,” he said. “From talking with these veterans, I’ve learned that Veterans Day is about a lot more than just about the people who served – it’s about recognizing each individual and how they were affected.”

Koehr is from Warrenton, Va., and majors in mechanical engineering.

He hopes to combine both via his major and his ROTC training to serve his country. “After I graduate, I want to get in an aviation unit in the Army Reserves so I can fly helicopters and serve our country as well,” he said.

Military service runs in Koehr’s family.

“Three of my brothers are in the Navy: one of them is the WSO on F/A-18 Super hornets, one of them is a Navy Chaplain and the other one flies P-8s,” he said. “Two of my brothers served in the Army: one in the Army Corps of Engineers, and the other one served in the Medical Corps. My brother-in-law is also in the Marines, so there’s a lot of history in the military with my family,” he said.

Shane hopes to see veterans honored not just on Veteran’s Day but all year long.

“There’s a lot of resources for veterans, but there are not nearly enough, especially for a lot of enlisted soldiers who have gone to hell and back for our country,” he said. “For how much they’ve done for us, we really need to give back. I’m hoping that as Veterans Day continues it brings more awareness to that and more support to that.”

Danielle Brown on Transforming Race Relations in the Church

“Your job must be difficult, because, you know, most of the Catholic Church in the United States is white,” Danielle Browns’s friend told her.

When she heard that, “I flinched,” said Brown.

She told the story at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, last May. She joined the Board of Directors at the college and was on campus for her first Board meeting in October.

Brown is a lawyer, but the job her friend was referring to was her role as Associate Director of the Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism for the U.S. bishops.

“I told my friend that his perceptions were incorrect and that depending upon where a person lives, the Church in the U.S. can appear much less diverse than it is in reality,” Brown said.

She reminded her friend of all the non-white Catholics in America — Hispanics, Asians and Pacific Islanders, Native Americans, Africans from many African nations, African Americans, Haitians, and Chaldean Americans.

Then she asked students where the “Catholic means white” perceptions of her friend come from? “Perhaps his hometown, where his faith community was almost exclusively made up of people of European American ancestry. Nonetheless, I couldn’t help but wonder, were his perceptions formed by the often-monochromatic face of the New Evangelization?”

She wants to make sure that the full blessings of the teachings of the Church are available to all — including the theology of the body. Unfortunately, she says, when she asks students who has heard about St. John Paul II’s liberating teaching about the family and human sexuality, she finds mostly white students raise their hands.

“If we truly believe,” said Brown, “that the Catholic Church is the surest and best, and key to everlasting life, and soul-changing and soul-saving grace — out of slavery and into freedom — how much does one have to hate the other not to tell them?”

The Transforming Culture in America plan at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, declares that, “The global Catholic Church which embraces the world’s races and cultures is our model for diversity. The college will develop initiatives to attract students, faculty, and staff from all backgrounds and cultures who can benefit from and contribute to its mission.”

The plan launched the Freedom Fellows program that provides full tuition scholarships to first generation students, usually black and minority students. The program was developed in conjunction with Danielle Brown, as well as Harvard’s Dr. Jacqueline Rivers and her husband Rev. Eugene Rivers, who lead the Seymour Institute.

On campus, Brown spoke about “Open Wide Our Hearts,” the U.S. bishops’ 2018 pastoral letter against racism, which was issued  in response to an increase in racist ideology in America.

The principles contained in that letter and within the mission of the Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism became all the more crucial with the onslaught of challenging events in 2020 and beyond.

Brown directed attendees to numerous books, educational videos, and online resources to learn more about the Catholic Church’s teachings on and response to racism; she emphasized love for Jesus Christ as the motivation for and guide in efforts towards racial justice; and she challenged the Benedictine Community to rise above the divisive and alienating attitudes that are all-too-common in today’s society.

“What we have to do is resist the demonic urge to fight hate with hate and instead answer sinfulness with condemnation,” said Brown. “The answer to shame is not more shame. The challenge will be convincing ourselves and others that the power of Christ really is enough to answer the challenges of our day.”

From State College Leader To Small College Leader

Gabrielle Koval has a great story of how she chose Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas.

Actually, she says it’s a great story about how Benedictine College chose her.

Gabby is a senior Theology major from Atlanta, Ga. She described how she met the college’s president, Stephen D. Minnis a few years ago:

“I was dropping my youngest brother off for Athlete Move-In Day, and you know how President Minnis comes out and waits to greet everyone in line? He comes over to us and we lower the window, and he’s like ‘Hey! Okay, who’s going to school here?’ And I say, ‘Oh my brother Ted, he’s moving in!’ and he goes, ‘Well why don’t you go to school here?’ and I said, ‘Uhh, I go to Georgia State.’ And he puts his hand on the window and looks at me as the church bells start to ring, and he goes, ‘Go home, pack up your things, and come back.’ And I was like, “Okay .. definitely… yeah!’ And I think he could tell I was kind of put off by it, and he looks at me and says, ‘Go home, grab your stuff, start your classes. This is where you’re meant to be.’

“So as I dropped Ted off, I was just watching all these priests walk around, talking to students, and everyone just looked so nice and people that I didn’t even know were saying hi to me. And I went home and called Admissions and was like, ‘Random question, President Minnis said if I called, I could come back and start classes on Monday.’

“Long story short, I packed up all my stuff, came home, started classes, and switched my major. “Best decision of my life.”

Ever since that day, she said, the college’s mission of community, faith, and scholarship, changed her life. Koval had been a leader at Georgia State, heading up a campus civics group. Now she is a leader at Benedictine College, getting ready for a trip to a conference about ethics and culture at Notre Dame University.

“It’s funny because I think about who I would have been if I would’ve stayed at Georgia State. I was a practicing Catholic, but being here has absolutely transformed my life, spiritually, the friendships I’m in, how I view God, how accessible Adoration is, and how amazing it is to be surrounded by like-minded people who push you further to Christ – it is a chosen place in a lot of ways.”

Serving Family Life, From the Heart of St. John Paul II

St. John Paul II’s vision inspired prominent Anglican pastor to join the faith — and Benedictine College

How do you Transform Culture in America? By strengthening the family. And how do you strengthen families?

“Formation, Restoration and Exploration,” says Tory Baucum, director of Benedictine College’s Center for Family Life. The new center has been doing just that — working with students on campus to tutor Atchison kids, working with 10 parishes throughout the Archdiocese, hosting families from across the United States, and going to the roots of John Paul’s vision of the family in Poland.

“I have met really extraordinary people at Benedictine College,” said Tory Baucum. “This center is poised to make a real difference.”

The center was formed after members of the board of directors, faculty, staff, and subject experts met to determine the best ways to Transform Culture in America. St. John Paul II’s apostolic exhortation The Church in America became a focal point for plans. The document calls for American colleges to “train truly Christian leaders in the different spheres of human activity” and stresses the family. St. John Paul II has said “The future of civilization passes by way of the family.”

The John Paul II Fellows program forms students to be able to build strong families. Under the Center’s direction and mentorship, Benedictine College students go out to serve at-risk students in local public schools. The objective is to be living examples and teachers of what Tory calls the “Human Dignity Curriculum,” delivering universal truths in a way that a secular population can receive.

“Central to these principles is the belief freedom enables human excellence,” said Tory. “The Fellows instill the foundation that persons are subjects, never objects, and that students should pursue true friendships, which is the kind that help them accomplish excellence.”

Students are responding. “This program has added a whole different element to the meaning of scholarship for me,” said Nicole Hraban, a junior from Windsor, Colo. “Once I stepped outside of myself and my bubble, I was able to better understand the communities’ wants and needs. And by working alongside the people who know Atchison the best, we are able to inspire real change and genuine progress within the community that we serve.”

Family Week at the college forms married and family life for participants from several states. From May 22-28 more than 30 adult participants and more than 80 children converged on the campus of Benedictine College for a week of fun, bonding, learning and full living. The week was designed by veterans of the John Paul II Institute in Rome and brings a rich European model to the states for the first time. The week is “a true experience of an authentic Catholic vision for marriage and family life,” said Tory. “Fighting back against the secular narrative about family life, and giving intentional couples time and family activities to help refresh and restore their marriage.”

Poland outreach helps explore the depths of the Church’s teaching. Tory and the Fellows planned an immersive dive into the history and culture of Poland, where John Paul II developed his love of the family and was formed into the saint he would become. Unfortunately for the students, the overseas trip was cancelled because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which sent all of Europe into uncertain times.

However, Tory decided to make the trip alone, representing Archbishop Joseph Naumann, Archbishop of Kansas City in Kansas, in a visit to the Diocese of Warsaw.  There he experienced the beauty of the domestic church in action, as Catholics opened their doors to accept millions of refugees fleeing the terrors of war in Ukraine. In fact, in meeting with Bishop Michal Janocha, Auxiliary Bishop of Warsaw, Tory was impressed to see that the bishop, himself, was housing a Ukrainian refugee family in his own home.

Tory’s writings on the visit proved immensely popular in Poland, and he was invited to return in June for a government-sponsored forum on developing policies toward a long-term solution for the crisis.

“Poland is leading Europe in the Ukrainian refugee crisis and the domestic church leaders are leading Poland. Benedictine College’s Center for Family Life has been invited to coach these leaders,” Baucum said.

It was a deep love for Catholic principles of family life that led a renowned Anglican pastor of 30 years from his prestigious post of one of the Six Preachers of Canterbury Cathedral into the Catholic Church, and to the first directorship of the new Center for Family Life at Benedictine College.

Dr. Tory Baucum served as pastor of Episcopal parishes throughout the country and taught aspiring preachers at Asbury Theological Seminary. His 2014 appointment as one of the Six Preachers of Canterbury Cathedral opened opportunities for Tory to meet and learn from influential figures not only in his denomination, but also from other Christian faiths in ecumenical cooperation. He met Don Renzo Bonetti, founder of the Italian Movement Mistero Grande, in Rome. Through that relationship and others, coupled with countless hours of study, Tory became convinced that Saint John Paul’s vision for the domestic Church, fortified by the saint’s unique 20th century Polish experience, was the answer to the disunity and chaos poisoning relationships in the world today.

With help from Atchison’s Benedictines, he became an Oblate of the order. Then, through preparation provided through a dear friend, Fr. Paul Scalia, son of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Tory and his wife, Elizabeth, were received into full communion with the Catholic Church on Easter Sunday, 2020. It was Fr. Scalia who provided a second assist to Tory, recommending that he explore a newly formed leadership position he had learned about in Kansas — which also just happens to be the state of Tory’s childhood.

The Center has ambitious dreams for the implementation of John Paul’s vision, but Tory believes it’s the most important mission of our time. He saw in the Catholic Church the one institution willing to consistently lay it all on the line for the family, and that was enough for him to change his world forever. Now he’s dedicated to a life of training the young people of Benedictine College to change their world.

For more on Tory’s work, check ExCorde.org, especially:
excorde.org/3-million-refugees

Learn how to help Transform Culture in America with the Center for Family Life:
Michela Brooks
mbrooks@benedictine.edu

California Raven Has a Passion for Changing Hearts Through Art

How does an artist show you what’s important to her?

She paints it.

Colette Breda is a senior art major from Escondido, Calif. Her art exhibition “Beautiful Moments” was set to be featured from Oct. 28-Nov. 2 in the McCarthy Art Gallery.

Those experiences touch on the three aspects of Benedictine College’s mission that the college hopes can help Transform Culture in America: Community, faith and scholarship.

Community inspired the exhibit, Breda said.

“A really big realization I had coming into college,” she said, is that “things that have happened in my life and people who have impacted me and decisions that my parents have made … all these decisions come colliding into one another and create the moment that’s right now, and it’s not just because of my own life. So that’s why I like capturing other people’s lives as well as just the beauty that’s right before me.”

Faith has been a key to Breda’s experience, also.

“Being at a Catholic school, there will be assignments where we get to pour our faith into our art which I think is super unique and super special,” she said

In her junior year, Breda traveled with a 12 students from Benedictine College to Belize for a mission trip. The students worked at the schools and put on soccer camps in the afternoon. One student even brought Raven soccer jerseys to give to the children. Breda and the group did a lot of maintenance around the small town, painting picnic benches, a woman’s home, and the church. “I would most definitely do this again,” Breda told the school newspaper. “This was an amazing experience.”

But scholarship has been at the heart of her experience.

Breda graduated from Classical Academy High School, an award-winning, tuition-free California public charter high school.

“I have been interested in art before I could even read or write or anything. I think at the age of two was when I had my first drawings that my mom kept. It’s just always been a really big passion, probably my favorite thing to do since I could ever remember. I actually have a massive portfolio of hundreds of art pieces from when I was a kid,” she said.

But when she came to college she first turned to another of her loves.

“I actually was going to major in math,” she said. “I was kind of always intending to because that’s one of my other favorite things. But more and more I realized that art is what I love and what God had given me a talent for, so I wanted to take advantage of it. I guess when I really started taking it seriously then was junior year of college when I changed my major to art.”

Internationally Recognized Theologian Leads 25 Couples in Center for Family Life Retreat

The future of the family — individual families and the institution in general — is filled with hope. But only if we relearn the art of loving, looking to serve the other, rather than to please ourself.

That was the message internationally renowned theologian Father José Granados, DCJM shared during a marriage retreat on Oct. 22 at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas.

“There are ways of living our affections, our relationships, our sexuality, that isolate us in ourselves,” Father Granados  said. “It is crucial to understand that all loves are not equal and to teach people, especially the youth, how to build one’s life upon true love.”

Using his theme, “My Body for You,” Father Granados explained how the sacraments of marriage and the Eucharist arise from and nourish the same covenant.

Fifty retreatants — 25 couples, young and older — attended the retreat from three states.

Father José Granados, author of books including Called to Love: Approaching John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, written with then Supreme Knight Carl Anderson of the Knights of Columbus, was vice president of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family in Rome. St. John Paul II established the Institute to further the study of his Theology of the Body.

“There are many challenges for the family in the 21st Century,” Father Granados added. “I think the most important has to do with the truth of love. There is a way of loving that moves us out of ourselves, that embraces our whole life, and that allows us to share a common world and a common history with the beloved person.”

Father Granados was named in 2013 a consultor to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and in 2018 a consultor to the Dicastery for the Laity, Family, and Life. In 2019, Father Granados’s last year at the Institute, students protested changes to the school’s governance.

The Center for Family Life at Benedictine College hosted the retreat. Tory Baucum, the director of the center, used the retreat to bring together couples from throughout the Archdiocese.

“Father Granados is a true son of St. John Paul II,” said Baucum. “He has drunk deeply from his writings and common sources in the Tradition. For example, he wrote his dissertation on Augustine’s doctrine of the Holy Spirit within Trinitarian life.”

Baucum cited the priest’s background. “Trained as an engineer and then as a patristic scholar, all in the context of vital, cross-cultural friendships of the Disciples of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, has given Father José Granados a mission of great singularity: to take the mission of the Family as the mission of the Church into the 21st century. He is helping all of us answer the call of love in truth.”

Baucum served for 30 years as an Anglican Pastor, seminary and university professor. He spoke at the Vatican’s 2015 World Meeting of the Family in Philadelphia and was brought into the Church by Father Paul Scalia and Father Dominic Legge O.P.

Asked what feedback he had heard from the retreat, Baucum cited one retreatant’s comments:

“Father Granados presentations make you start out saying, ‘Wait. What?’ Then, by the end, you say, ‘Oh. Wow!’”

Carol Lintner agreed. She coordinates marriage preparation for her Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas, parish. She attended the retreat with her husband, who also participates in marriage preparation.

“Wow,” she said. “I was so moved by Father José’s spirit.”

“His words that touched me most were explaining the spirit of conjugal prayer from attending Mass together,” she said. Father José shared the story of the Archangel Raphael interceding for Tobiah and Sarah, saying: “Your marriage to her has been decided in heaven!”

“Through a Sacramental Marriage and continuing to receive Eucharist as a married couple,” she said, “grace is given to us as a gift and is a renewal of forgiveness between a couple. The task is to build up Christ Church within our families and with our Church family together through action of being missionaries to the continued building up of the Church universal.”

Father Granados said Baucum and Benedictine College are doing important work in marriage and family for both individual couples and the universal Church.

“A key idea for the Center for Family Life is that the path of the Church passes by way of the family. This was John Paul II’s vision for his Pontificate, as ‘Pope of the family,’” said Father Granados. “The Disciples of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary also draw their inspiration from John Paul II’s vision of the person, love, and the family, and see in the family a path towards a future of fruit.”

Father Granados said St. John Paul II’s signature phrase, “Do not be Afraid” is perfect for families.

‘Do not be afraid of acknowledging God’s gifts and of living up to them, so that your life can be great and beautiful,” he said. “And the family is the privileged place where God entrusts us with his gifts of love and life.”

Whatever challenges the family faces, he said, we can “be not afraid “ because, said Father Granados, “the family possesses the capacity for renewal.”

“It is crucial to accompany wounded families and to offer them a path for healing, so that they can embrace the fullness of human love and dignity,” he said. “This is crucial for the Center for Family Life, and this is also the inspiration for the Disciples in their pastoral work in parishes or education.”

The Center for Family Life will be hosting its second annual Family Week retreat for the entire family May 28-June 1, 2023. Find out more information and sign up for notifications about Family Week at benedictine.edu/FamilyWeek.

Natural Engineering Leader Already Has a Job Waiting

Four years ago, he was swimming in a state swimming championship in Missouri. Now he is President of the American Society of Civil Engineers at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas.

Kansas City’s Blaise McCoy is a senior Civil Engineering major who says that the college’s mission of community, faith and scholarship made a big impact on his life, and prepared him to make an impact on the world.

“I accepted a job after school at a private civil engineering firm with some other Benedictine College grads,” he said, “but I definitely want the most out of this year – I don’t want to rush it.”

Featured on Faces of Benedictine, McCoy has been a community leader on campus, a Vice President of the Student Alumni Board, and a Swim Club member.

Faith has been a highlight of his time at the college. He said, “Last year, going on a mission trip to Belize was probably the most memorable thing I’ve done at Benedictine. I wasn’t really expecting much out of it, but I came back from it with a great new perspective.”

It truly showed how community, faith and scholarship work together, McCoy said. “The group that went formed a really tight bond. I think when you come to Benedictine, you’re really surprised by the people you will meet and how they will change you just be being surrounded by really good people.”

He pursues his faith as part of Communion & Liberation University at the college. The most important part of the mission is scholarship, though.

“I think as I’ve matured, I’ve kind of seen more purpose in my classes,” said McCoy. “Instead of just doing the work, actually learning what the purpose is of what I’m learning about, especially through theology and philosophy classes.”

The liberal arts nature of his studies has prepared him more than a typical engineer, he said “Studying engineering here is definitely different with the fact that you are able to study all these different liberal arts classes, like ethics, philosophy, and theology, meanwhile studying engineering. I think that really sets us apart.”

Student Hopes to ‘Transform Culture With Each Encounter’

Move over “Humans of New York.” The social media for Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, has started a “Faces of Benedictine College” series, introducing student stories that give hope for the future.

This week, the series featured Isabel Riojas, a junior from Austin, Texas.

“I came to visit Benedictine in the fall of my Junior year, and I was incredibly overwhelmed by the joy and hospitality that is present all over campus,” she said. “I knew based on the joy of the students that Christ is present and moving on Benedictine’s campus & I wanted to experience that for myself.

She has immersed herself in the mission of community, faith in scholarship.

“I love the community that Holy Grounds creates,” she said about her work in a campus coffee shop. “It is a beautiful thing to make coffee for those who are meeting up to build friendships and have deep conversations. I also love being able to build relationships while caffeinating campus.”

She unites faith and scholarship in her theology major, but then goes an extra step, she said.

“This year I am praying with the hospitality of loving and welcoming everyone I meet as Christ. You never know what someone is going through at the moment and how much a simple smile or wave can make their day.”

Riojas sees the value the mission of the college has to the future of her country, too.

“I think that Benedictine empowers its students to be authentically themselves and live their faith unapologetically which transforms culture one encounter at a time.”