The Official Newspaper of the Diocese of Little Rock
   

Young Faith

Young Faith is a column series featuring Catholic student writers from Catholic and public schools in Arkansas. They share stories of struggle and triumph in their lives, all through a lens of faith. 

 

Pandemic requires God’s gift of adaptability

By Anthony Hailey, Published: June 19, 2020   

When we enter this world, we all come with certain innate talents and gifts, bestowed upon us by the Lord. Some of them include our athletic abilities or our intellect, but there’s one gift that stands out above all in a time like this: adaptability. The past few months have been hard for all people. It’s changing our whole way of life. In order to combat these harsh times, we desperately need this gift of God, More... 

Faith, service doesn’t stop when world does

By Ardyn Townzen, Published: May 22, 2020   

If there is anything that the world has learned during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is that the world can stop in an instant. Whether we see it coming or not, there is always the possibility that change is just around the corner to knock us out of our familiarities and routine. Nonetheless, something that we as Christians, as humans, need to consider: that even though the world might appear to stop, that simply isn’t true. Many would More... 

Cancer experience brings signs from God

By Matthew Moix, Published: April 23, 2020   

In almost every religious education class or Catholic school, as children and young adults are being formed in their faith and coming to know God, the topic of “signs from God” arises. These signs can be events that seem to be a coincidence, a person that is put into our lives or even something as small as hearing an uplifting song at just the right time. I think I speak for a lot of people my age More... 

Teens struggle with Fourth Commandment

By Aidan Everett, Published: March 26, 2020   

Teenagers have a problem with authority. However, there is a single authority that most teens, including myself, have the most conflicts with: our parents. Our parents are a profoundly influential authority throughout our early lives, and consequently, are the ones we push back against the most. Regardless of whether we think we know better or not, adhering to the Fourth Commandment is important and necessary. Honoring our parents, however, isn’t as simple as just doing what More... 

Praying a word of the year can center us

By Olivia Parker, Published: February 20, 2020   

The start of a new year signals the start of intentional goals that aim to revive and replenish the mind and soul. We are called to take this opening chapter as an opportunity to center our lives around the one thing that can truly refresh our souls, our Heavenly Father. A simple way to do this is to choose a word to pray and focus on for the coming year. I came across this intention while More... 

Heaven does not require a scholarship

By Sarah Duvall, Published: January 22, 2020   

School is back in session and now begins the quick countdown to graduations. For us high school seniors, this may be the most daunting semester of our lives. Every day we face another major life decision, and the time for choosing our futures is quickly slipping from our hands. Almost all college admissions have closed and now we must decide where we will spend our next few crucial years. Of all the pressures placed upon our More... 

Learning from another faith to grow

By Sam Ray, Published: December 21, 2019   

I believe that being content is the weakness of man. I believe that the moment that we stop trying to improve ourselves, we have failed. During my sophomore year, I reached a point in my spiritual life where I had stopped. I had noticed myself becoming a better person. Morally, I was growing; I was becoming more selfless and I believed I was doing exactly what the Bible instructed, but I still felt empty. I had focused More... 

Serving in Dominican Republic teaches ‘love thy neighbor’

By Ardyn Townzen, Published: November 23, 2019   

This semester, I have had the amazing opportunity to live abroad at Creighton University’s campus in the Dominican Republic. Since my childhood, I had always wanted to study abroad so I could see other countries and cultures. When I was introduced to the service and volunteer based Encuentro Dominicano program at my college, I knew that I wanted to spend my time abroad doing more than just touring. As a service-based study program, every week we More... 

Want peace and truth? Make God a priority

By Olivia Parker, Published: October 24, 2019   

Our lives are centered on our relationships with other people. The definition of relationship according to the Oxford dictionary is, the way in which two or more people are connected, or the state of being connected. In our current culture, we are told to balance as many old and new relationships as possible. There is also a standard of how much effort we should give to each one depending on the person. To be considered “connected” More... 

Everyone is called to be a ‘saint of today’

By Sarah Duvall, Published: September 26, 2019   

I recently had the honor of taking a tour of the Holy Family Mission in Morrilton with my local Catholic faith group, Ignite. On this tour, Luz Sandoval-Lord and Raymond Freyaldenhoven, also known as Brother Joseph, showed us what they do at the Mission, including retreats and conferences. They also taught us about the many saints they had statues of and had made videos about. While explaining who each statue represented, they kept returning to one More... 

Let Christ win the tug-of-war over control

By Sam Stengel, Published: August 23, 2019   

It is easy to feel like we are in control, especially when our lives seem to be going just as planned. Some of us believe that we are so powerful that we can control our own fate and the fate of others, but we only have power because it was given to us from above (John 19:11). Some of us consider ourselves opportunists who will jump at every change and adapt it to suit ourselves, while More... 

Think you have plans? God may surprise you

By Katherine McWilliams, Published: July 26, 2019   

When I think about the phrase “God has a plan for you,” I recall a homily where we heard about a visiting priest’s call to the priesthood. He had his entire life mapped out, was attending medical school, and had wanted to be a doctor for as long as he remembered. However, he struggled immensely to balance school, working nights in the emergency room, and staying committed to his parish. He continued to fail classes again More... 

Empathy is antidote for world’s injustice

By Sam Ray, Published: June 29, 2019   

As humans, we naturally fear what we do not know, whether it be about another culture or a close friend. We have the choice to either face our fear by emerging ourselves into unfamiliar territories, or to give way to weakness and cower from the possibility of something that may lie out of our control. But our Father is a father of love. God does not speak to us through fear. Therefore, we need not More... 

Faith is not just a seasonal subscription

By Ardyn Townzen, Published: May 23, 2019   

Now that the season of Lent has ended, so have our Lenten promises, and with our Lenten promises, the daily reminder to try and grow closer in your relationship with Christ. Much like New Year’s resolutions, Lenten promises are often forgotten and given up on. Whether you give up desserts, soda or sleeping in, we usually go right back to living out bad habits right when Easter begins. But the entire point of making these promises More... 

It takes true courage to surrender to God

By Sam Stengel, Published: April 26, 2019   

In C. S. Lewis’ book “The Screwtape Letters,” the demon named Screwtape writes, “We have made men proud of most vices, but not of cowardice.” The implication of this is that there is also at least one virtue men are always proud of, which is courage. Despite humanity’s positive outlook on courage, the devil detests it as much as any other virtue, but since we happen to like courage he has to take a circuitous More... 

Sacrifice: Lessons from St. Katharine Drexel

By Sarah Duvall, Published: March 21, 2019   

St. Katharine Drexel, whose feast day was March 3, is one of my most favored Catholic role models. Katharine Drexel was born into a privileged family in Pennsylvania in 1858. Her family was very wealthy and Katharine and her sisters never wanted for anything. She traveled often across the country and saw the struggles faced by Native Americans and African Americans, who were recently freed from slavery and yet still faced prejudice, poverty and lack of More... 

Campus ministry counteracts college culture

By Olivia Parker, Published: February 22, 2019   

My life has recently been filled with new experiences and environments since starting my first semester of college at the University of Arkansas. I have been immersed in the “college culture” and forced to become independent fairly quickly. Between going to class, studying and hanging out with friends, I struggle to make time for God. In high school I took advantage of how easy it was for me to find God because of my positive environment More... 

Words to ponder: ‘No Fear’ from old T-shirt

By Katherine McWilliams, Published: January 25, 2019   

Skimming through the racks of old T-shirts in my parents’ closet, my eyes briefly land on images of a Lynyrd Skynyrd album cover, various NASCAR racers and Ducks Unlimited magazine covers, before moving onto the next. My mom tells me of the infamous “No Fear” T-shirts of the 90s, which had distinct slogans implying that if you weren’t willing to try, to play hard, you shouldn’t play at all, and you should have no fear. The More... 

Catholic education is well worth sacrifices

By Matthew Findlay, Published: December 20, 2018   

My entire life I have been taught by the greatest teacher of all — Jesus — not only in church but in school as well. The underlying mission for all Catholic schools is to provide a safe environment for learning and to strengthen a student’s relationship with the Lord. I grew up in the parochial school system where strong Catholic ideals helped to shape my values. The schools’ focus on spirituality as well as academics aims More... 

Catholic nursing studies see body and soul

By Ardyn Townzen, Published: November 21, 2018   

This year, I began my first semester of college at Creighton University, a Jesuit college in Omaha, as a student in the direct entry nursing school. So far, despite the rigorous courses and the high stress that every college student is bound to experience, I love it. But very soon after I began this semester, I found that my classes and education was very different from those of my friends who are also going into similar More... 

In scandal’s darkness, light world with love

By Sam Stengel, Published: October 29, 2018   

Who is responsible? How deep does the corruption go? What is going to be done about this? Why doesn’t God do something? Disrupting the relative peace we had before, the scandals in the Church have brought in a storm of questions. All of these questions point the finger away from us though. This does not mean that the scandals are our fault. It means that we do not need to sit around waiting for someone else More... 

#MeToo movement reminds us to speak out for justice

By Olivia Parker, Published: September 28, 2018   

In our world today we have several civil rights issues plastered all over our newspapers, social media and televisions. Some include the recent news of separating immigrant families at the border, pro-life issues, unfair treatment from police toward different races and the list goes on. One movement that I believe has changed my perspective and has tugged at my heart the most is the #MeToo movement. It is a movement that exposes sexual harassment and misconduct More... 

Emulating monks’ lifestyle calms the storm

By Apolo Castillo Jr., Published: July 25, 2018   

I was alone. There was no real place to go, no real thing to do. Aimlessly I walked; My head heavy, my mouth motionless and my hands hidden. I wanted detachment — isolation — yet the thought of loneliness sent aches to my fumbling mind. I was desperate to find security. Spring break had passed and marked the final stretch for graduation. I was ready. Months of rhetorical analysis and Pythagorean’s theorem and photosynthesis and Henry More... 

Christian athletes have a duty to respect one another

By Matthew Findlay, Published: July 5, 2018   

Sportsmanship is far too overlooked in the competitive world of sports. I have played sports my entire life, partly because I grew up with an active older brother who helped expose me to all types of sports at a very early age and was a role model. This past school year, I only played lacrosse competitively, but I have always been infatuated by virtually all competition. Many people believe a healthy amount of competition is essential to More... 

Science & faith: God’s work clear in all things

By Ardyn Townzen, Published: May 25, 2018   

“I just don’t understand why people believe in God when we have so much scientific proof that he doesn’t exist.” This was what one of my best friends told me when we were discussing our personal beliefs. As an atheist, he has told me multiple times he believes in science more than he will ever believe in God. And unfortunately, this is an idea that is becoming more and more popular with the more scientific developments More... 

Eucharistic adoration is a spark in the darkness

By Sam Stengel, Published: April 27, 2018   

Walking into Eucharistic adoration is always a transforming experience for me. To begin with, the Eucharistic chapel is an extraordinary environment. Illuminating the room, soft beams of light fall on the kneeling figures and the silence is profound. It is a place of great tranquility. The silent and peaceful atmosphere alone can be transforming since God is found in peace and silence. (1 Kings 19:11-13) However, everything pales in comparison to the true significance of Eucharistic More... 

Faith, action both needed to keep schools safe

By Olivia Parker, Published: March 23, 2018   

The Catholic Education Resource Center defines “sanctity of life” as “human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains forever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end.” This doctrine of the Catholic Church is constantly challenged in modern society through abortion, the death penalty, euthanasia and is now extending into gun violence. I did research on gun control from the perspective of More... 

Ask God: What can I do to better myself for you?

By Katherine McWilliams, Published: February 23, 2018   

During the Christmas season, it is popular for news channels to publish inspirational stories about couples who rescued animals, donated to the needy or the rare few who managed to save their failing marriages. It just so happens that I came upon an article about the latter. A couple who married one another with unrealistic expectations of love found themselves on the brink of divorce many years later. In a last-ditch effort to save their marriage, More... 

Theater and Mass are both about relationships

By Apolo Castillo Jr., Published: January 25, 2018   

No matter where I was, I loved being the center of everyone’s attention. I had no idea why. Seeing friends and family laugh as I made a joke or told a story was a feeling of fulfillment. And, as a 12-year-old who constantly had energy, I could have been jumping up and down with the class hamster in my hand, singing for the world to hear the original song I had written about it, just so More... 

Meeting archbishop opens heart to confession

By Michael Broadwater, Published: December 7, 2017   

I have to admit, I’ve always been hesitant about reconciliation. My mom or one of my friends will ask if I’ve been to confession recently, and I get this terrible anxious feeling in my stomach. There’s something about telling a priest all my sins that just terrifies me. I’ve been this way even since my first confession, and I was in second grade then, so I didn’t even have anything to confess, really. It used to More... 

Faith threatened by the desire to be ‘normal’

By Ardyn Townzen, Published: November 22, 2017   

I’ll be transparent. Being a teenager is hard. With school, work, college applications, keeping a social life and an abundance of other things, it begins to stack up. Being a Catholic teenager is even harder. You get caught up in a whirlwind of expectations that you know aren’t right. Social media and everyday society will tell you it’s OK to be wild and crazy during your youth. It tells you to throw caution to the wind More... 

Love of God breaks through body insecurity

By Olivia Parker, Published: October 26, 2017   

When you think of body image, negative or positive, you typically think of teen girls or just teenagers in general. However, recent studies have shown that when younger girls, around the ages of 8 and 10, are asked how they feel about their body image the results are concerning. These young girls are feeling the same negative thoughts about their bodies as teenagers do. Why do girls start to dislike the way they look earlier? I More... 

The desire for God is written on our heart

By Apolo Castillo Jr., Published: September 22, 2017   

Do you qualify as human? Surely you understand the ink shapes printed on this paper. A living human is breathing, his heart is beating and his mind conscious — to an extent — of the world surrounding it. The dictionary collecting dust on my dresser defines “human” as “a bipedal primate mammal.” A Brazilian short film directed by Jorge Furtado takes human classification one step further, adding that humans having a “highly developed telencephalon” and More... 

Wisdom grows from walking with Christ

By Peyton Wilson, Published: August 25, 2017   

When I was little, I always wanted to drive. I always wanted to be in the special seat; tall enough to nudge the gas pedal down to drive me far, far away. When I was little I always wanted to be older, always wanted to be wiser, always wanted to be in control. That yearning for the driver’s seat has served as a metaphor of my life. I have always wanted to take control of what More... 

Discuss college plans and concerns with God

By Brent Yrle, Published: July 28, 2017   

I have always thought of college as some kind of foreign experience that I will go through years from now, but a scary realization recently hit me. Since I just finished my junior year at St. Joseph High School in Conway, I am soon going to be faced with choosing the university where I will spend the next four years of my life while I am preparing for my future career in nursing. With this More... 

Faith challenge led to a deeper understanding

By Michael Broadwater, Published: June 23, 2017   

Heart pounding, I walked through the front doors of Catholic High and began my high school experience. I was expecting to grow physically and emotionally, but I had no idea of the tremendous changes my faith life would go through. Before I go into detail about my time at Catholic, let me share some facts about myself and my family. I’m a cradle Catholic. Both of my parents and most of my family are Catholic, so I’ve More... 

Don’t give God the silent treatment: Pray

By Ardyn Townzen, Published: May 26, 2017   

It is state mandated that every school in Arkansas must have a one minute moment of silence before the school day. That moment is used to either reflect on the day to come, to do something quietly or to pray. Usually when you look around the room at my high school during this minute, you can easily see that most people use this moment to scroll one last time through Snapchat, scribble answers on the homework More... 

Not enough to live the faith; must defend it, too

By Olivia Parker, Published: April 21, 2017   

Ancient people believed that their gods needed human support in the form of sacrifices — animal or even human — in order to live. God, however makes abundantly clear in the Bible that he is not like that. He does not need our sacrifices. He is self-sufficient. Renowned Baptist preacher and author Charles Spurgeon said it best: “The Gospel is like a caged lion. It does not need to be defended. It just needs to be More... 

We struggle to keep our Christian identity

By Apolo Castillo Jr., Published: March 23, 2017   

As a child, the challenge in life was to sit still. Not the easiest for a bouncy and impatient boy. Often, I would be told to stop moving, sit quietly and think about God. One time, I asked my mom, “Is there anything God can’t do?” She paused, and after a moment, she looked back into my curious eyes, smiled, and said, “Yes. There is something God cannot do. And that is to stop loving.” In More... 

Jesus ‘kills’ our stony hearts, replaces with love

By Peyton Wilson, Published: February 24, 2017   

It was my fourth day in Puebla, Mexico, and the bus I was on shook with the impact of the pot-hole ridden ground so violently I was convinced we would never make it back to our missions center without popping a few tires along the way. The dust that had collected on the street swirled up and into the aisles, settling on the unusually quiet group of teenagers surrounding me. Without even looking, I knew More... 

Advice for freshmen: don’t get distracted

By Brent Yrle, Published: January 25, 2017   

When I was entering freshman year as a student at St. Joseph High School in Conway three years ago, many thoughts were swimming through my head: What do I need to do to better fit in with my friends? Is becoming friends with students in other grades a good idea? How should I improve my physical appearance? Should I date people this early? Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, all of my thoughts were never really centered around my academic abilities or my relationship More...