|COMPASS students on board the Natchez, a New Orleans riverboat, ready to explore the Mississippi.|
New Orleans, Louisiana. October 26, 2008. For the 16 students
who participated in the “Taking the Pulse” National COMPASS Conference
this past October 24 to 26, the vital signs were
looking alive and well. The weekend was packed with Catholic
music, spiritual enrichment, opportunities for public pro-life witness, and formative
talks on pro-life and bioethics topics, giving the students some
tools to face the challenges that await them back on
campus and in their future professional lives.
The weekend began at Loyola University in New Orleans, where
students gathered to enjoy live music by upcoming Catholic artists
David Thies and Joel Stein. Thies, a recent graduate of
Loyola University New Orleans, is an active member of COMPASS,
which includes not only students, but also alumni and professors
in its ranks. Stein, a rising Catholic musician, was nominated for
five Unity Awards by the United Catholic Music and Video
Association, including Best New Artist and Best Alternative Album of
On Saturday morning, the conference opened with Mass at
Immaculate Conception Church in downtown New Orleans. Father William Farge,
SJ, was the main celebrant, with Father Patrick Murphy, LC,
concelebrating. In his homily, Father Farge encouraged the students to
continue seeking to know and live the truths of their
Catholic faith, and to be faithful to their COMPASS commitments
as a means of perseverance in their faith during their
After Mass, the students boarded the Natchez, an authentic
New Orleans riverboat, where they enjoyed lunch and sightseeing down
the Mississippi River. They also explored historic New Orleans, learning
about the city in light of its rich Catholic history.
|Enjoying beignets, an essential part of the New Orleans cultural experience.|
The afternoon talks by David Thies and Dorinda Bordlee
focused on the priorities of evangelization and pro-life work.
Thies spoke about John Paul II’s call for young people
to participate in the New Evangelization and the COMPASS motto:
taking college life in a new direction.
Dorinda Bordlee, a
graduate of Loyola law school, gave the students an overview
of the women’s rights movement and pro-life issues in light
of the presidential election. Bordlee currently serves as the executive director
of the Bioethics Defense Fund, a nonprofit organization which
educates people on human life issues.
The Catholic Beat Goes
Live… for Pro-Life
For many, the highlight of the weekend was
their attendance at the 8th annual Unity Awards on Saturday
night, celebrating Catholic music and video artists. Students got to
“meet and greet” with prominent Catholic artists, including Matt Maher,
John Michael Talbot, the Cajun band L’Angelus, and Sara Hart.
Unity Awards was a great opportunity to see Catholic musicians,”
said David Thies. He also observed that the conference provided
a good balance between formation and fun. “Over the weekend,
we were able to explore our Catholic faith, but at
the same time, have fun in a lively atmosphere. We
were learning, praying, and growing together while also having a
good time, being social, and going out,” he said.
morning, students gathered for a prayer vigil, participating in Louisiana
|New COMPASS members stand ready for their mission.|
Right to Life’s “40 Days for Life,” which was organized
by COMPASS alumnus Benjamin Clapper.
After the vigil, the students
attended the closing Mass at Holy Name of Jesus Church,
and 9 students took on their commitments as COMPASS members
for the first time.
Unity for a Cause
LeCompte, the president of the COMPASS chapter at the University
of Louisiana at Lafayette observed a great spirit of unity
among the students, who mainly came from two campuses: the
Loyola University New Orleans and the University of Louisiana Lafayette.
“It was beautiful to see two groups coming together from
two different campuses and completely meshing together. The only common
factor between them was their unity and their closeness to
Christ,” he said. “There were no cliques or separation. We
all just came together and had a great time.”
president of the COMPASS chapter at Loyola, commented that this
unity will also have a bearing on the organization of
future joint events between the two campus chapters.
about reaching out and evangelizing students, person to person, so
that they have the chance to know Christ and become
part of the Church.
COMPASS is an affiliate of Mission
Network and is sponsored by Regnum Christi. For more
information about COMPASS and its upcoming events, visit the web
page at www.collegecompass.org.