“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35
This new commandment is at the root of Discipleship, a group that has taken root at St. Mary’s Dominican High School.
The Discipleship group, the brainchild of junior Gracie Bott and encouraged by Campus Minister Ms. Claire Gallagher (‘04), consists of students following Christ and bringing others along to follow the same message. “I wanted to start Discipleship because I wanted a way for students to encounter God on their own time,” said Bott.
Discipleship has shown many students alternate ways of prayer and how to incorporate that prayer into their lives. The meetings begin with a “3-Minute Retreat” inspired by the Jesuit Ministry of Loyola Press. This form of prayer features a Bible passage followed by reflection questions. Then, the discussion begins. The students share insights about their daily lives and how they follow Christ through their actions and thoughts.
Ms. Gallagher stresses that the Discipleship group has an open-door policy. Discipleship reaches not only upperclassmen, but students of all grade levels. “Attending the Discipleship meetings gives me an opportunity to talk about my faith in a non-judgmental place with people who feel the same way as I do,” said sophomore Jenna Thomas. Enriched by the conversations at the meetings, Thomas says she has grown closer to God and other students.
The Discipleship open-door policy applies to all — even to those studying to become priests at the nearby Notre Dame Seminary.
The Discipleship group has welcomed many seminarians to sit in at the meetings and experience this form of prayer and bonding. By including the seminarians at the group’s meetings, DHS students new perspectives coming from people outside of the walls of Dominican.
Seminarian David Keran has enjoyed being included in the Discipleship group. “I have very much been inspired by witnessing not just your lives of faith in Discipleship but also by how you all share your experiences of faith,” said Mr. Keran. “I am at once impressed by how seriously and joyfully you all are engaged in following the Lord, as well as by how joyfully you share those experiences.”
Just as the seminarians are encouraged to experience the group’s meeting, the members of Discipleship were invited to the seminary.
On Feb. 12, members from the group took a field trip across Burdette St. to the Notre Dame Seminary for a morning prayer service and a tour of the building. There, they saw a game room, tennis courts, a gym and a place to for the seminarians to hang out in their free time. They also toured the classrooms, chapels and library.
Dominican Discipleship has humbled all those involved, according to Ms. Gallagher. “Moderating the meetings has been a humbling experience for me,” said Ms. Gallagher. “It gives me the opportunity to get to know the students and their love for Christ. I have watched them grow and find different ways to share their faith. It truly makes me feel like a spiritual mother to all of them.”
As many members would say, come and experience what Discipleship is about. The door is always open.
- Isabelle Fitzmorris