- The Mark of Ash Wednesday
Today was Ash Wednesday and being a Catholic University you saw many students with the mark of ashes drawn across their foreheads to mark the time of Lent and to remember that we are all sinners. To become better people we must realize our faults and try and work to overcome our human errors. Lent is a very reflective time for many yet we all know that in 40 days we will be able to celebrate in the salvation that is Jesus Christ at Easter. Many people when they hear about Lent they always think about what people are going to give up or go with out. They think of fasting and fish. Some may think of confession and reflection. I have gone to Catholic schools my whole life and it was always the big discussion at the lunch table on Ash Wednesday on what we were giving up for Lent. Some would say they were giving up chocolate, or TV or some would say they were giving up homework just to be funny.
I had a teacher in high school that would challenge us to give up one thing and then try and improve our realshionship with God or one with someone as well. I really liked this becasue we were giving something up to remind ourselves to live a more simple life but we were also trying to strengthen our realshionship with God. My favorite bible verse comes from the book of Luke. It is Luke 2:52 and it reads “and Jesus increased in Wisdom and Stature and in favor with God and Man.” It is my favorite passage beacause it is one of the only passages we see Jesus as a young person and it is something I try and think about everyday. How did I grow in stature, wisdom or in favor with God or Man today. To learn more about Ash Wednesday
you can read a good summary about it here. Lent is really about us reaffirming our baptismal commitments and growing in our faith and relationship with God and others. The next time someone asks you about what you gave up for Lent say I gave up … but I also am working on becoming a better person by… It is a good exercise and I guarantee you that trying to improve yourself or your relationship with God is a lot harder than just giving up soda.
Many UST students and community members recieved their ashes today at the beautiful St. Thomas Chapel today.
The Pope talks about Lent
, is a great video that is very short that gives you a very clear understanding about what we as Catholics must try and do during Lent. I hope that you are all enjoying the snowfall that we received this week. It finally looks like Minnesnowta should in winter! I love the snow but am looking forward to a warm and sunny spring! Hopefully we will have the sun and warmth back in 40 days!
” Be Merciful to me, O God, be Merciful to me, for my soul confides in you.”
- Didier Drogba in his Chelsea FC Jersey
After studying abroad for just a month it really changed how I viewed the world and also how much I began to appreciate soccer. There are horrible conflicts going on all over the world: on the Ivory Coast, in northern Ireland and in the Middle East. It seems like no one has the solution to get all of these sides to get together and to talk out their issues. We fear that which we do not know or understand and one idea that seems to be gaining popluarity is getting to know about others through common interests, such as sports, to reduce that fear. Soccer in the United states is not as big as it is in Europe, but is growing. Soccer (or Futbol) translates to almost every language and is followed and adored in almost every country all around the world.
Didier Drogba plays for Chelsea FC in the Barclays Premier Cup league. He is a great player and, because of the way futbol is set up, he also gets to play for the Ivory Coast during the World Cup. The way soccer is starting to represent social change and political shifts is huge. You have seen this in Spain and in the Ivory coast and you see people regardless of creed, race, or socioeconomic class rally behind their favorite sports teams. If even for just one Sunday or one match, there seems to be unity and peace amongst those that have fought against each other all week.
As I began to adjust the past few weeks of life back in St. Paul, I realized how diverse St. Thomas truly is. I mean there have always been a mix of students on campus but I began to appreciate the diversity on campus much more after walking the streets of London. It got me thinking about how soccer could change the world. We have seen soccer and the World Cup and the Olympics stir conversations surrounding social change, and even movies such as Invicitus have been made about how sports can be used to start political conversations. There are even groups like this in Brazil and Argentina that are using their love for soccer to bring people together. Kickstarting social change through a love of soccer.
Invictus the movie about Rugby and Social Change
St. Thomas is trying its hand at spreading the love of futbol and a few students are trying to put together a UST Futbol Club called UST FC (very Creative I know). UST Futbol Club Page! St. Thomas prides itself of teaching its students the things they need to be ethical, moral business leaders, doctors, lawyers, teachers, and engineers. They are teaching us to challenge ourselves and change our world. Learning how to bridge socioeconomic or racial gaps through common interests is a skill and I am excited to say this club could help do this. Here at UST we have over 135 different clubs and organizations on campus. To start your own club all you need is 10 friends a faculty advisor and a club constitution. Starting a club or joining a club is a great way to get involved, meet new people, and learn about leadership. With a strong academic skill set, conversations and appreciation for liberal arts, St. Thomas is trying to have you “write the future” as seen by this Nike ad below.
Write the future. An Ad campaign in South Aftrica at the World Cup!
Hello everyone. I apologize for not blogging for over a month I was busy eating tea and biscuits and touring London and Ireland and ran out of time to sit down and write a blog. I am back in the states now and ready to blog! Here at St. Thomas we have a great schedule in which we have four months for fall semester and then four months for spring semester. Then you have the month of January off. We call this term J- Term. You can take a class at St. Thomas, you can go home and work, you can do a research project or service project or you can go abroad. This J Term I decided to go abroad. I took a communication and journalism course called Gender, Race, Class and Mass Media in London.
Brazen Head in Dublin. The Oldest Pub in Ireland
London Bridges Falling down
Being in London for a month was fantastic. We were able to see all the touristy things like Big Ben, The London eye, Tower of London and many other historic sites. Everyday we were there we toured a museum or a historic site or saw a play. It was a month jam packed full of activity. Out of all the places we went and things we saw I personally loved touring the Winston Churchill War rooms, eating on Brick Lane and the BBC tour. The class was very engaging and challenging because we were looking at such broad topics such as gender, race and class along with British identity. We just dropped in for a few weeks and tried to see how people in Great Britain view those broad topics and how they differ from how we consume our media in the United States. It was a nice balance between classroom instruction and site seeing around London. It was great to go over and really break down the constructed mass media messages we were analyzing in the news and on TV.
Outside of Kensington Palace
A month study abroad trip is perfect for those that have not yet traveled abroad or for those that want to make multiple trips abroad while in college. It is perfect you are spending enough time in a particular city or country to be more than a tourist and you leave before anyone gets too homesick. It was a great experience from the food to the sites to the people you meet on the street or in a pub. Studying abroad really can change your perspective on life. I arrived back on campus with a new worldly perspective a hunger for more knowledge and an empty bank account.
2012 Olympic Site
St. Thomas every year sends about 1000 students abroad. Some for a month, a semester or a year. It is a great opportunity that I would encourage all students to take if they have the opportunity too. Due to all the great things I got to see while I was in London and in Dublin I couldn’t just pick a few photos so here are a few extra pictures i just had to post. After seeing a English futbol match, having Jameson and Guinness straight from the factory, touring the BBC, watching the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace and “tebowing” Abbey Road. It is hard to come back to little old St. Paul. It was a great experience. I can not wait to go back to London!! Now I have to buckle down and finnish my last semester as a undergraduate at the university of St. Thomas. Yikes!
View from the London Eye