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Make a Plan. Work the Plan.

June 4, 2018

You Are Only as Holy as You Are When You Are on Holiday.”

There are some things we never forget in life.  That quote is one of them.  It has stuck with me or, more accurately, prophetically ghosted me for the last 15 years…

It was 2003.  I was at Mass as part of a Fellowship of Catholic University Students’ (FOCUS) New Staff Training and our Chaplain, Father Dillon James, challenged us, in this case, to a higher standard.

Father Dillion is from England.  He was in the states earning a Ph.D. in Bio-Medical Ethics.

For students and the ministers who work with them, summer provides a break.  However, sometimes breaks can lead to a disconnect in routines and schedules, including time with God.

As Father Dillon stated, faith and the pursuit of holiness must be the priority “in season or out of season.”

At JPII Newman, “in season” could equal the academic school year.  “Out of season” would be the holidays and summer.

So, mindful of Father Dillon’s higher standard, two weeks before school was out, the FOCUS Team met with some of the students to set personal goals or outline their P.L.A.N.S. for the next three months.

P stands for Prayer.

When are you going to pray?  Where are you going to pray?  How long are you going to pray?  What are you going to pray with?

L stands for Love. 

Jesus, who do you want me to love this summer?  What relationships can I help build?  Who is struggling with their faith that I can spend time with?  How can I show love by sacrifice?

A stands for Accountability.

Who will I share my P.L.A.N.S. with?  How can they help monitor my progress?  Are they willing and able to help me achieve my goals?

N stands for Needs.

See a need? Meet a need.  What needs to be taken care?  What are areas in the community that need attention?  What unique skills do I have that I can offer people?  Can I learn something new (how to lead a Bible Study, reading a book on leadership, and learning an instrument) that will help others and me grow next year?

And lastly, you guessed it:

S stands for Sacraments. 

When and where are you going to Mass?  How many additional days will you be able to make Mass?  When and how frequently are you going to confession?

All in all, it was a great session!  I learned more about the students and about myself… Nearly one month into their planning process, I wonder how it’s going.

And, what about you?  Would making these types of P.L.A.N.S. be something you could consider?

I encourage you to try… If you ever need a sounding board, I’m here.

In the meantime, I’ll Pray that you Love being held Accountable in meeting the Needs of others and learning something new yourself; all while regularly receiving the Sacraments.

P.S.  I am enjoying learning the guitar… and look forward to sharing a few songs with our parish community this fall!

Alex Pandolfo | Team Director, FOCUS | University of Nebraska at Omaha

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