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Better Together ready for new semester

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With Eboo Patel-this year’s Lund-Gill chair and the founder of the Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC)-gone, the question for DU’s interfaith club Better Together has come down to, “where do we go from here?”

Despite Patel’s absence, leaders in the group say that Patel’s presence on campus did not overly affect the plans that Better Together has made in the past.

Better Together is the student-led effort to increase interfaith knowledge. Hannah Minks, an active member in the group, said that Better Together is more focused on working with clubs and organizations than other departments in the school. She also said that they want to expose students to interfaith cooperation.

“We want to get people comfortable talking about their spiritual and religious identities,” she said. “We’re reaching out to more students through events on campus through clubs and organizations.”

Along with the work done by Better Together, University Ministry also entered a partnership with IFYC last year, according to University Minister Matt Palkert. Palkert said DU and IFYC together “assessed [Dominican’s] culture for respect of faiths and how to improve interfaith knowledge.”

This, along with the efforts of Better Together, helps make up a strong interfaith presence on campus.

David Gayes, another student involved in Better Together, said that they are hoping to use events that are already a staple at Dominican and combine them with learning about interfaith cooperation.

One of the events Better Together is planning is a speed-faithing event on Feb. 14. The members are also working to bring back the Interfaith Engagement Series. Lastly, the group is planning a Fast for Haiti event and a Seder for the Jewish Passover.

Cait Guerra, Contributing Writer


Ministry to take Student on a Time-off Retreat

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University Ministry is offering students the opportunity to rediscover themselves through faith and community in a retreat.

Kairos is a student-led retreat that invites students to take time out of their usual routine in order to take a closer look at who they are to examine the important relationships in life. It’s scheduled to take place Feb. 3-5, 2012, in Frankfort, south of Chicago.

Kairos is a Greek word for “time.” Students are encouraged to disconnect from electronics and kronos, or counted time, and instead, reflect on kairos, which is God’s time or the appointed time.

“People really get to know each other and people can build a stronger community,” Ann Hillman, director of Retreats and Community Outreach for University Ministry, said.

For students, it is meant to be a meaningful weekend filled with inspiration and ideas to bring back to campus and one’s everyday life. What makes Kairos unique is its focus on the self, your community and God through self-reflection and collaboration with others of the retreat community.

Kairos involves student leaders, carefully chosen by University Ministry, to lead discussions and drive the retreat’s community aspect. The student leaders have attended past Kairos retreats and know what it takes to create a meaningful weekend.

Sophomore Anthony Pisano will be a student leader for this year’s Kairos retreat. After a positive experience at last year’s retreat, Pisano said he wanted to become a leader. “It’s a rewarding program that allows students to discover their true potential,” Pisano said.

The retreat may create student leaders who strive to carry out the department’s mission and are committed to getting to know people across campus from different backgrounds and faiths, Hillman said.

“I liked the deep spiritual connections I made with God and myself on the retreat last year,” Cody Koepke, another Kairos student leader this year, said. “I want to give other people the opportunity to feel that same connection.”

The idea to bring the Catholic retreat model to Dominican was introduced in 2009, when a group of students who participated in Kairos retreats at their Catholic high schools believed it would be a good program for the university. The first retreat at Dominican was held in the spring of 2010.

Dominican stresses the importance of living a life in pursuit of love, truth and service to others. University Ministry wants students, regardless of their faith, to break away from the stresses of campus life and analyze who they are and what they believe.

Registration to participate on the Kairos retreat began Nov. 28. Students can pick up an application from University Ministry on the second floor of Lewis.

Jackie Glosniak, Contributing Writer

Fr. McAlpin Joins University Ministry

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Courtesy of University Ministry

Fr. Andrew McAlpin has worn a few uniforms in his lifetime. He’s worn a shirt and tie during his time in the corporate world. He’s also sported the traditional khakis, button-up, and garrison cap of the Navy. Today, he can be seen wearing the deeply rooted and historic robes of the Dominican Order.

Growing up, McAlpin always considered himself to be a Catholic.  But it was not until after high school that his life direction fell into place; leading him eventually to the Priesthood and to where he serves now as Dominican University’s new Ministry Chaplain.

McAlpin’s path to University Chaplain was not the result of a direct enrollment in the seminary out of high school. He first joined the Navy where he served as an electronic warfare technician aboard the USS Fox. And it was here where he found a true interest in the Church.

“It was in the Navy where I felt a call to further my religious existence,” the tall, dark-haired McAlpin said. “I read the New Testament cover to cover and it all made sense to me . . . at that point I started to acquire the faith as my own.”

However, this was not the deciding factor that led him into the Priesthood. It was during his time building computer chips at Honeywell wherehe met a deeply Catholic man, and through their conversations he felt a call to do something more.

McAlpin feels that his ministry is “very much a ministry of presence.” And he hopes to “fulfill any type of ministry to the students that is necessary.” McAlpin wishes to be available for all of the student’s emotional and spiritual needs.

This is exactly what ministry professor, Kathy Heskin, feels Dominican University needs. “We need to develop relationships between our Chaplain and the students,” Heskin said.  The Chaplain should be “present, accessible, and they [the students] need to be able to find him,” she added.

McAlpin will not be hard for the students to find; he is typically adorned in the traditional Dominican robe. “I’m almost always in the habit, so people see something different,” McAlpin said, “I want to be known as the Chaplain.” McAlpin wants people to know they have somewhere to turn to for spiritual guidance.

This is not McAlpin’s first experience as a Chaplain. He served for three years at Fenwick High School in Oak Park teaching and practicing ministry. He pursued a position on a college campus because he wanted to work with students who would “go deeper” than the typical high school teenager.

“I saw myself wanting to engage in deeper conversations with people who will come up to me and ask me questions and go deeper when it’s necessary,” McAlpin said. “I feel like that happens best on college campuses.”

Junior year student and mass attendee, Chelly Britt would agree. Britt described how McAlpin understands and relates well with his younger, intellectual audience.  “He speaks to us as college students,” said Britt.

Fr. Andrew McAlpin’s personal desire is “to be a radical witness to the gospel.” His devotion to being a beacon of spiritual guidance is evident throughout his history.

“Our reality in life is we either attract or repel by our very being,” McAlpin said.

When it comes to his beliefs McAlpin is clear; “show that in a world that is very confusing and tainted by negativity; that there is goodness, truth and beauty in the world. Be an example to that.”

Jacob Walters, Contributing Writer