GREENVILLE—Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina has a simple mission statement: “to educate students in the liberal arts and sciences so that in all things God may be glorified.”
William Thierfelder, Ed.D., college president, brought that message to more than 80 young Catholics and their guests at the Saturday Night Alive in Christ celebration at St. Mary Church recently.
The weekend program was started a year ago by Chris Stansberry, director of high school youth at St. Mary. He described it as a way to bring older youth together in a relaxed setting for food, fellowship and reflection.
Thierfelder helps the students reflect on their lives and the role God plays. He said young people and adults typically place more value on secular possessions, while tending to overlook God’s gifts.
“People today seem to be constantly complaining about what we don’t have,” he told the youth, “but when you think about it, we are blessed with an abundance of gifts from God.”
Thierfelder said people, including himself, tend to underestimate their God-given abilities and those of others.
As a one-time track and field athlete and later coach, he told the story of a student several inches shorter than the typical high-jumper who tried out for the team. Thierfelder said he had serious doubts about the student’s physical capabilities, but the young man worked at improving and made the team.
“I learned from that experience that you should never underestimate anyone,” the New York native said. “You are stewards of God’s gifts and you are asked to give back 100 percent of your talent.”
The night typically includes guest speakers, games, dinner, and praise and worship.
Knights of Columbus Council 13112 served a spaghetti dinner again this year and the St. Mary Culture of Life Committee handed out pro-life material.