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Notre Dame Vision - July 6-10, 2015 - Pictures

Notre Dame Vision is a week long exploration of our Call to Discipleship which poses the question, "how will we share our gifts with others and with the world". These pictures below are of some of our young people who were at Notre Dame Vision 2015 at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana.

Reflection by Kim McMillan, Youth Ministry Coordinator

I love sharing an experience of faith that will have a lifelong impact on a person's life. This was our parish's 13 year taking young people to Notre Dame Vision and attending together, never disappoints. From the moment we prayed for an open mind and heart before we left, until we prayed in gratitude for our safety and our experiences, upon our return, we acted as the community of faith that we are.

This year's focus at Vision was the idea that we, as people of faith, should always be practicing our faith. All day, everyday, we should try to recognize and take note of God's presence in our day and in our life and that, that presence invites us to gratitude expressed in prayer. From the many speakers that give witness to their faith and how they continue to "practice," to the small group sharing, to the community sharing an interpretation of scripture, we are invited to see Grace (God's Love for us) in every moment of our being. If we are open to seeing God's Love in every moment, it changes things. We are never the same.

It's about practice! We all need more practice! Be God's Love!!

Reflection by Grace Savio

Recently, I had just attended the Notre Dame Vision trip in Indiana and I loved it! At first, I thought it would be scary going to a big college campus with hundreds of other kids, but I actually enjoyed getting to know the campus and meeting other people from all across the United States! I knew this trip would be perfect for me because I had the chance to meet many new friends and to even get closer with God!

So many great and surprising things happened that week and I wish I could re live it again! I was very happy and surprised when my roommate was actually my best friend, and that my other best friend was right across the hall from us! I was also in a small group with 7 other people who I all became very good friends with! I was very lucky to be in a group with them, and to also be with very good mentors! My favorite thing about that week was gathering in the DeBartolo and listening to some of the keynote speakers speak and some of the mentors tell stories about themselves!

All of the keynote speakers were wonderful, but the one who really stuck out to me was Stephanie! She used her story in a very creative way by getting three boxes that were labeled, “stupid, ugly, and going nowhere.” She put those boxes on her and told us her story on how she was made fun of for being a cheerleader and other things that related to the sayings on the boxes. But, one by one, she pulled the boxes off of her and threw them to the ground. She told us to wipe away all of our insecurities and throw them to the ground. She wanted us to focus on ourselves and to see what’s really important to us, not other people, and to love ourselves! I was so happy I got to listen to Stephanie because I know she made everyone in the DeBartolo more confident and faithful in themselves!

Another thing I loved about the Vision trip was that some of the mentors would put together amazing plays that related to parables in the Bible! It was so cool seeing how much joy and happiness the mentors had while performing these parables! My favorite play is when a sheep named Agnes, was treated differently because she was a green sheep while the others were all white. It showed that even though people may look different than others, they are still one of God’s children and we should all treat them like we want to be treated!

Notre Dame Vision gave me so many reasons on why God is so important to everyone, and I will cherish that forever! I had an amazing opportunity to explore Notre Dame’s campus and to meet so many great friends! I hope I will have the chance to go back next summer because it was awesome getting a chance to go see a beautiful campus and a college I may want to go to someday!

Reflection by Carmen Nunez

ND vision, to me, was one of thoes bucket list experiences. It's a time to make new friends and find where you are in your faith. The connections I made at ND vision are ones that will last a lifetime. I am so happy I got to experience it for the first and probably the last time. But that's okay because I loved it. The things you learn about yourself, the people around you, and God just flabbergast you. You learn that people can be great drivers but have road rage now and then, or that in times of pain or illness you can still be strong, or maybe that God loves you just the way you are. No matter what problem is persisting, you can still be the best you can be when you have faith. I might have had my doubts about that week, but as soon as I got there they all went away. Noted Dame isn't just a school, it's my connection to all my new friends.

Reflection by Martha Kostiuk

This year’s trip to Notre Dame Vision has been my second time attending, and what a time it was! I didn’t think I could enjoy Vision as much as I did the first time around, when everything was new and all, but I definitely did. Each speaker, song, prayer, and activity impacted me even more than the first time. A specific aspect of the trip that I loved was splitting into small groups and representing a particular saint; this year I had St. Cecilia, one of my absolute favorite saints. I loved meeting a new group of people and learning about their life stories and the different ways that they practice their faith. It’s amazing to think about how far away people can live, even at completely opposite sides of the country, or even the world, and still practice the same faith with the same passion and diligence as each other. I met people from New York, Arizona, Minnesota, Florida, Indiana, and so many other places. It was not only interesting to hear about their faith, but their life stories, amazing experiences, and funny memories as well. As the week progressed, I felt more and more comfortable talking with them and sharing my own thoughts and experiences. I felt like I was in a very trustworthy group of people, and that I could talk to them about anything. Our mentor helped us delve into different topics while leading us in prayer and guiding us in our discussions to make sure we got the most out of each talk. It’s not always easy for me to be open with others, especially after meeting them so quickly, but being in such a welcoming and trustworthy environment gave me the courage and confidence to be myself and discuss my faith and thoughts freely with people who understand it too. Every aspect of being at Notre Dame Vision was amazing, it was certainly the highlight of my summer and I couldn’t be more grateful to have the opportunity for these great experiences.

Reflection by Michela Del Santo

This year at Notre Dame Vision was my first. I made many new friends and created some wonderful memories. I will admit, a few days before the trip, I was second-guessing my decision of going. Now that I look back on those five days at Notre Dame, I realized that if gave into my fear of the unknown, I would've missed out on an experience that changed my life.

Notre Dame Vision was a wonderful opportunity for me to get in touch with my faith. One thing that I learned during Vision was that God is always there, even when it seems like he's abandoned you. A member of my small group read us a short story that she had read the night before we discussed this subject. It was called Footprints in the Sand and it was about a man taking a walk on the beach with God. After their walk had come to an end, the man looked back on their journey. At some points, there were two sets of footprints. At other points, there was only one set. The man, seeing only one set of footprints, asked God, "Why did you abandon me in my time of need?" God responded, "I did not abandon you, those were the times that I carried you." I thought that this story really helped me under stand that God is always present.

Some things that I took home from the trip were the bonds that I created with the people who were in my small group. I have a way to contact them all, even though they are from all over the country. Also, I am extremely grateful for the mentors that were assigned to my group. They were very welcoming and they didn't make us feel like we were below them. They made sure that we knew that they were on the path to a stronger faith with us.

My first year at Vision was a blast. I will most likely be attending next year, and I hope that the years to come will be just as amazing, if not better!