As part of the ongoing efforts to support and maintain Newman University’s mission, Chaplain Father Adam Grelinger and director of mission effectiveness, Sister Therese Wetta, ASC, have implemented the Spiritual Companions program.
Each Newman athletics team, campus club and student organization was paired with a Spiritual Companion — in the form of a staff or faculty member — at the beginning of the fall semester. It is the Spiritual Companion’s job to pray for and offer support to his or her assigned group of students throughout the semester.
The presence and effort of Spiritual Companions frequently come in the form of monthly get-togethers, Bible studies and more.
Blessings for the baseball team
Associate director for graduate programs Christy Hawks is a Spiritual Companion for the men’s baseball team. Throughout the semester, Hawks has worked alongside Head Baseball Coach Drew Maus to provide the players with creative ways to connect to their faith.
“Sister Therese asked me if I wanted to be a Spiritual Companion and I was so excited,” Hawks said. “I really have prayed about how to lead the group. I’ve never been an official Spiritual Companion before, but Sister Therese did a good job of laying things out for us.”
“The team goes to Mass every week and I let that be kind of their relationship between them and God, and then I’m just an extension of that,” Hawks said.
In regards to the program itself, Hawks shared some experiences she’s had so far and explained what she does to support the players to the best of her ability.
“I just try to really get to know them,” she said. “I’ve been to all of their games for the fall, and so, just to get to watch them play and to let them know that I’m there and I’m praying for them and cheering for them is a lot of fun.”
Maus has been very pleased with the efforts of Hawks, explaining that she communicates well and does little things to help the players out.
“I think the Spiritual Companions program is important, no matter what your denomination is, to always know that there’s someone outside of your team that supports you, whether it be physically, mentally, or spiritually,” Maus said. “I think it’s a good start for making a bridge between athletics and the normal part of campus.”
Ending the semester on a high note
Junior Anthony Ferrante, who is studying business management, expressed his appreciation for the spiritual support he and his team have received through the Spiritual Companions project.
“At my junior college, we didn’t really do any of this,” Ferrante said. “So it’s been nice to have somebody that’s praying for you all the time and it seems special.”
Junior Andrew Prieve, a sports communication major, also spoke to the benefits of having a Spiritual Companion.
“I’ve always gone to Catholic schools in the past, and I’ve always had someone to talk to,” Prieve said. “My first two years of college, I didn’t have that since I went to a public university. So having someone here on campus that I’m able to talk to about any issues that I’m having or what I’m feeling or any questions that I might have, it’s really helpful.”
Between the additional spiritual growth opportunities for the team, and having Hawks as someone the players can go to whenever they have a need, Hawks’ work with the baseball team is a testament to the success and importance of the Spiritual Companions program.
Interested in becoming a Spiritual Companion?
Spiritual Companions have the ability to help Newman students grow in their faith life through prayer and fellowship opportunities. Email Sister Therese Wetta, ASC, to learn more.