Goal One: Faith

Goal One: Faith

“...as you step on through the muddy streets, love God with your feet; and when your hands toil; and when you teach the children, love God with his little ones.”
-Cornelia Connelly

By Jean Plummer
US Campus Minister, 1994-2017

Each year at Holy Child, a display of one particular crèche captivated my heart. Monochromatic and formed from clay, the characters in the scene, from Mary and Joseph to shepherds and magi, all showed facial expressions and gestures that exuded one prevailing characteristic: joy. One of the magi looked as if he would fall off his camel for sheer excitement. What a fitting response to the good news that God chooses to dwell among us!

The Society of the Holy Child Jesus lives this spirit in their mission: to rejoice in God’s presence and to help people believe that God lives and acts in them and in our world. 

When we believe or even dare to hope that God lives and acts in us and in our world, then our Goal One call to grow in a “joyous personal relationship with God in addressing the challenges of the world” seems natural. After all, if God chooses to be present, then surely God must want to be involved in our lives and in the world we inhabit. And God’s presence in us, in all people, and in all of creation sparks our desire to love one another with reverence and tender, dedicated care for the well-being of all, and especially of the people and places where the need is greatest. 

Cornelia Connelly said, “In each place, at all times and in every action...consider God as present within you.” The more we learn to know and love God’s presence in ourselves and in all people, and respond in loving relationship, the more we will discover true joy. This is the heart of Goal One and the Holy Child charism for me.

Students in line for communion

By Alexis Gentile | Class of 2023

Goal One is Faith, meaning to foster a faith commitment that “engenders a joyous, personal relationship with God in addressing the challenges of the world.” I was asked to explain what faith means to me and my Holy Child experience. I have never actually taken the time to think about this. I have attended Catholic school all my life and I have always had a relationship with God. I attend Mass quite regularly, although I have never truly recognized and appreciated the personal relationship that I have with Him. Over the years, I have learned that He doesn’t stop bad things from happening, so don’t question “Why God? Why me?” Instead, use those struggles to strengthen your relationship with God. My faith journey has taught me that your relationship with God is a two-way street, just as any other friendship. Of course, He will always be there, looking over you, and He will always be there to listen. Your relationship only strengthens and grows when you put in more effort than just asking for help when you need it most. I have most definitely done this in the past, most of us have, but being committed to your faith means being committed to God, building a personal relationship with Him, and using that relationship to get through the challenges that life throws at you. 

By Rotimi Abimbola | Class of 2006

As I reflect upon my spiritual growth and experience while I was at Holy Child, I cherish the moments of worship, fellowship, study, and the constant emphasis on seeking God in all things and at all times. I am grateful to God for the opportunity to be raised and nurtured in a Christian home and for the early knowledge I received about Christ and His love for me. When I came to Holy Child for high school, I had a peace and joy in my spirit about learning in an environment that encouraged me to love and know Christ more. 

No matter how busy or stressful my days were, I enjoyed and looked forward to the opportunities for fellowship with the Lord and to hear the word of God. I remember there would be moments where I was troubled about a situation or anxious about an upcoming event. As soon as we began singing during Mass or praying during Religion class, I would sense the peace and presence of God. What I realize now is that the presence of the Lord was and is always with us. I can confidently say that the presence of God brought joy, strength, and hope even on the most challenging days. 

I think back on the times I was given the opportunity to read scripture during Mass. Singing “Come to Living Stone” with so much joy and full of the spirit of God during Mass. Loudly replying to Father Austin’s opening greeting, “God is Good. All the Time. All the Time, God is Good.” Serving at Martha’s Table and on McKenna’s Wagon. The intense debates and discussions surrounding current world events during Religion class. The sweet fellowship and friendships I created during Foundations class. I am now more conscious and aware of the powerful presence of God that was present during my time at Holy Child.

In Psalm 16:11, the Psalmist confidently says of the Lord, “you will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” The presence of God has been and will always be with the Holy Child community. In spite of the many challenges in our world today, God’s presence brings light, joy, peace, and hope.

Caitlyn Topercer ‘22 interviewed current teacher and Holy Child alumna Jen Urgo ‘88 to learn what Goal One means to her and how Holy Child has fostered her faith.

What does faith mean to you and what role does it play in your life?
Faith, to me, means trust in God, trust He is always there for me and that He has a plan for me. Faith plays a big role in my life. I have gone through some challenging times where I turned to my faith to get me through. I strongly believe my faith guided me to the wonderful place I am now.

How did your time at Holy Child allow you to grow in your personal faith?
My time at Holy Child fostered my growth in my faith. All my Religion classes were enlightening, and the teachers made learning about Religion so interesting. As a student at Holy Child, I loved the service aspect. My experiences helped me grow and realize how much I enjoy helping others in need.

How has your faith grown since your time at Holy Child?
Through experiences, I have realized that having faith in God is essential. Since attending Holy Child, I got a job as the middle school religion teacher 4.5 years ago. Being back at my alma mater and educating young ladies every day about the importance of Catholicism in their lives is so fulfilling. I couldn’t dream of a better job!