‘NU DiRT ’ helps high school students preparing for Confirmation

Caitlyn Maksymiak

Campus Ministry Liaison Kaitlyn Maksymiak

Contrary to how it may sound, “NU DiRT” is not what you find on the Newman University quad, or on the locker room floor following a tough, late-season baseball game.

It stands for the Newman University Diocesan Retreat Team, a group focused on the coming of the Holy Spirit – specifically for students in Confirmation.

Newman students in NU DiRT work as group leaders for high school students planning to be Confirmed. Students typically receive Confirmation, a sacrament of initiation in the Catholic Church, sometime in their high school years.

“We understand that we receive the Holy Spirit and His grace in Baptism,” said Newman senior and Campus Ministry Liaison Caitlyn Maksymiak. “Confirmation is a further outpouring of baptismal grace and it is the time when someone chooses to become an adult member of the Church. Our goal is to help students, prior to receiving the Holy Spirit, more fully in the sacrament, to know who He is and what He does.”

A requirement prior to receiving the sacrament is to attend a retreat. Students perform in service hours as well as attend classes to learn more about the Church and what they are saying “yes” to.

Fr. Jarrod Lies

Fr. Jarrod Lies leads a session at an NU DiRT retreat.

“The DiRT retreat helps to prepare them more spiritually rather than educationally to supplement the classes they already attend,” Maksymiak said.

Each year the team travels to parishes that request a retreat. At the retreat, students take part in music, prayers of the Church, presentations on prayers and reflections about
the Holy Spirit, personal witnesses from team members, Adoration, and Confession. For the 2013-2014 academic year, eight retreats will take place. The NU DiRT group included 17 team members.

In the past, NU DiRT traveled to all parishes from Wichita to Arkansas City, Kan., that requested a retreat. This year, Fr. Jarrod Lies, a priest of the Diocese of Wichita who oversees the Office of Faith Formation and is pastor of St. John’s Parish in Clonmel,
Kan., has been in contact with parishes and done most of the work regarding location
for multi-parish retreats.

NU DiRT now supports retreats anywhere in the Wichita Diocese.

Fr. Lies will attend all retreats this year, as well as Samantha Engels, Newman sophomore, who is in training to be the future Campus Ministry DiRT leader.

“The main goal of the retreats is to give the students the opportunity to experience the Holy Spirit prior to their Confirmation,” Maksymiak said. “We want to lead them in a true experience of prayer and give them the tools to continue praying deeply after the retreat. We are hoping to foster an authentic relationship between the students and the Holy Spirit with the retreat serving as a stepping stone to their adult faith life.”

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