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Resident Assistants or Missionaries?

Top Row: Aaron Hoff, Michaela Moriarty, Matt Davis
Bottom Row: Meredith Larsen, Chandler Brayton, Naomi Kosch

March 28, 2018

Join us in welcoming the 2018-2019 RA staff!

“To evangelize and offer Catholic formation to college students.”

That is our mission at St. John Paul II Newman Center.  It is uniquely beautiful and demanding; however, it is not original.  It’s the Gospel!

Resident Assistants are extremely instrumental in ensuring this mission is lived and lived to the fullest!

We recently invited four Resident Assistant candidates to join two returning Resident Assistants to help fulfill our mission to college students.  Planning events, mentoring students and staying up for late duty nights will soon become second nature.  This is no small task… which is why we were so grateful when they said “yes.”

When asked how they would assist in our mission to “evangelize and offer Catholic formation to college students,” the new RAs all responded enthusiastically.

In particular, Naomi Kosch, an incoming sophomore from Columbus, stated that she is excited to “bring people to Jesus.” She wants to let each resident know: “You belong.” Naomi continued to describe how she wants to be a light on campus, drawing people to Christ through beauty and joy that finds its source in Christ.


Naomi joins Meredith Larsen, a returning RA from Lincoln.  She will be a senior in the fall.  Meredith is excited to return for another year as an RA because she is passionate about evangelizing through the ordinary and fun parts of college life. She said that an RA’s role is unique because “we can meet people where they are at and help them become who they are going to be for the rest of their lives.”


Michaela Moriarty, an incoming junior from Omaha, brings a unique perspective to the team. Michaela, also known as Mick, was not always as involved as she is currently. Because of this perspective, she will be able to relate specifically to students who are hesitant to be involved. This desire to reach out to students takes its root in a firm desire to be a missionary to her residents, bringing them closer to Christ.


Aaron Hoff, a returning RA from Norfolk, will be a junior in the fall.  He said that he is excited to go deeper with the residents in his second year as an RA. Aaron’s leadership and missionary spirit is sure to be superb among the men of Newman Hall.



Following Aaron’s example are Matt Davis and Chandler Brayton, both new hires. Matt is from Omaha and became involved at the Newman Center after he transferred from another university his freshman year. At Newman he “came into his element” and now he wants to help other residents experience the same transformation he did.


Chandler is from York and will be a senior in the fall. Chandler awaits eagerly the Easter Vigil when he will be fully received into the Catholic Church through the Sacrament of Confirmation. After joining our first-ever RCIA class at the Newman Center, Chandler dove head-first into the community. He even moved in to Newman Hall as soon as he heard of the possibility!  Though a neophyte, Chandler has been equipped to be on the “front lines” of evangelization and will be an amazing addition to the team.

In addition to their names, I mention the RAs’ missionary spirits and multitude of gifts because the RAs are at the center of our community life here at the Newman Center.  St. John Paul II, our patron, writes eloquently in his encyclical, Redemptoris missio, of the role of evangelization in community:

To live in “fraternal communion” (koinonia) means to be “of one heart and soul” (Acts 4:32), establishing fellowship from every point of view: human, spiritual and material… The first communities, made up of “glad and generous hearts” (Acts 2:46), were open and missionary: they enjoyed “favor with all the people” (Acts 2:47). Even before activity, mission means witness and a way of life that shines out to others (26).

I see “fellowship from every point of view: human, spiritual and material” as hitting the roles and responsibilities of an RA on the head.

The Lord has chosen this new group of RAs to be on the front lines of His plan for our Center, and I cannot wait to see how their generosity and docility to His will come to fruition. May the JPII Newman Center be a living example of the first community of believers, and may the Lord continue to bless our efforts of evangelization through residence life.


Lauren Hankes | Resident Manager, JPII Newman Center

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