In my time attending St. John’s University one of the aspects I have enjoyed most is the constant opportunities for spiritual growth and development. The Abbey Church is one of my favorite places on campus, and along with Sunday Mass, campus ministry events have been places where I have learned so much and made many friends along the way. In the last two years, I have had the amazing opportunity to go even further in my Catholic faith by being the sponsor for two of my roommates, Michael and Nevin, as they have gone through the confirmation process. Through this process, I have been able to reflect on how much I have grown in my faith and really reflect on what has been important to me here at St. John’s University.
I have been Catholic all of my life. I remember going to church when I was very little and while I didn’t understand much at first, through masses and faith formation classes and learning from family, I slowly built up my faith and my appreciation for it. Church became a place where I could channel some inner peace, think about how I could improve and grow, and give thanks for what was going on in my life. Listening to readings and hearing homilies at Mass, I could gain education and inspiration for that next week, and learn a lesson or two.
This rock of faith helped as a source of grounding for me when I made the big transition from high school to college. Though St. John’s isn’t too far away from home, I decided to take some advice I’d received from my principal, who is also a Johnnie, that college can be as far away or as close to home as you want it to be. So to put this principle into practice, I decided for the first few weeks of college that I wouldn’t go home, and I would text or call my parents only when I needed to. This was tough but it also helped me build that sense of independence and initiative that has helped me so well in my college experience. But on those days where things did get stressful or lonely, church and faith were there to help me out and keep me going.
Enter Michael and Nevin. These two were some of my earliest friends in college and people I would do anything for. I met Nevin at a program meeting our first weekend on campus. And Michael was one of my fellow first-year teammates on the Mock Trial team, and we later became roommates. Both of them have taught me so much about life and what it means to be a good friend and person. Michael was the one to finally get me into fantasy sports and our attorney witness pairings always do well at Mock Trial meets. Nevin is a firefighter back home in Alaska and at St. John’s University and makes my knowledge in history look casual by comparison.
During our time together at St. John’s they both decided they wanted to go further in their Catholic faith as well and asked me to be their sponsor in the confirmation process. It was quite meaningful to me to be asked to do this. In my own experience, I have often seen grandparents, aunts or uncles, or other significant adults in someone’s life being asked to be sponsors. So since we’ve just been roommates for a few years and since my own confirmation wasn’t that long ago, I was honored I was asked to be their sponsor. Last year for Nevin and this year for Michael, it has been a moving experience to be with them in church and go through the steps.
This time to share and grow faith with my friends has been a tremendous opportunity to look back at the last few years. I am grateful St. John’s has been such a good place to develop myself in faith and as a person and I am also grateful for the connections I have made along the way. This time of my life will be an important milestone for my faith development and I will take what I have learned long into the future.
Connor Kockler is a student at St. John’s University. He enjoys writing, politics and news, among other interests.