Zach

Hometown: Jackson Township, OH
Class of 2014
Special Education

Headed for A Holy Week

Well, ’tis the week of the draft and Super bowl for Catholics! Yep, you guessed by the title,  it’s Holy Week! Unfortunately, Walsh is unable to celebrate holy week in its entirety because we are an extension of the St. Paul’s parish, so the diocese of Youngstown likes to see people go to their parishes, rather than to Walsh.

I couldn’t believe it when I realized that it was Holy Week already. For some reason, this past Sunday, I was really in tune to the Mass. It was unique to be serving and be able to listen to Matthew’s account of the Passion of Jesus Christ. It’s interesting because it is the only Gospel story that you will hear twice in a week (if you go to mass on Good Friday). Instead of one reader, there are essentially 4 readers; the priest portrays Jesus, one reader is the narrator, another portrays a main character, and the congregation plays the crowd. I was keenly aware of the dynamic this year. Instead of the usual Gospel which the priest or deacon reads, you get a real “scene” per say, because the different voices engage the congregation further into the story line, which is very deep.

I was reading the Pope Francis’s comments on the Gospel and I found them very fruitful. He points out that just as Jesus’ apostles fell asleep while Jesus was praying, so do we fall asleep spiritually, also known as sloth. St. Thomas Aquinas calls sloth, “sorrowing at the spiritual good”. In other words, we become lazy or indifferent to awesome things that God sets before us. And we just “yawn” at them. Also, the Pope points out that just as the disciples fled the “scene of the crime” when Jesus was arrested, so do we hide from situations which call us to be courageous in the name of faith. I thought that the Pope’s comments were good for “munchin” on a bit in contemplation. If you would like to read the article, follow this link: http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2014/04/14/full-text-pope-franciss-palm-sunday-mass-homily/

Hope that this Holy Week is fruitful for everyone!

Monday, April 14th, 2014    Subscribe  No Comments »

Give ‘Em Soemthing to Talk About

Hello All! It has been quite a busy week, and my long weekend certainly didn’t help this week either. Though I have not been on campus much due to my student teaching experience, I have been around enough to be well aware of the latest drama. And I am happy to say that I may have played a small hand in that drama. And it has indeed given the campus something to talk about.

This week has been designated as “tray less week”. A few “environmentalists” around campus have proposed the idea of dismissing the use of trays in the cafeteria in order to conserve water and promote a more conservative amount of  food consumption. It’s been something that has been building in student government since last semester, and with strong persistence. Though there was a lot of tug and pull, an allocation was passed to allow a “test run” and further investigation of the topic.

Well, with the amount of chaos this week-long “fast” has caused, you would’ve thought that they took away the plates, too! As an outside supporter to the movement, I truly believe that the chaos is awesome. To me, as a Catholic Institution, it seems that our purpose would be to challenge the students; Encourage them to wrestle with the truth, ideas, and new ways to live life. So, although I have a set mindset of what I believe should be done, I like that it has caused such a stir and there are opposing viewpoints. People’s minds and hearts are at work!

Tonight, there is a Student Government meeting in which the student body has been invited to come to. Out of curiosity, I am going to go to the meeting tonight to see what happens. Looking at the big picture, this type of action is a great time to come together and talk things out in a civil way. Even more, it is an opportunity to think about realities that are going on in various places in the world, and may become even more pertinent someday, in our own lives!

Two of the hardest things for people to do are to change and admit that they were wrong. I think it’s safe to say that this past week, there were a lot of students that were challenged to do both!

Thursday, April 10th, 2014    Subscribe  No Comments »

Ruff and Buff

One of my dear passions in life is agriculture. When I tell people this, they usually give me a strange look. Hey, what can I say? Even my own family thinks that I am a little strange. Well, that’s even before you factor in that I enjoy farming. Anyways, it has always been something that has intrigued me. I really got me first taste in it when I was a young boy. I would run out to the field behind my house and watch in amazement as the farmer and his tractor would be putting in some serious work. Amazingly, this fascination has never left me.

This summer, I am actually heading out to the Midwest to go on a wheat harvest run! So, I will be able to fulfill my childhood dream of driving a combine! I will be traveling to the following states: Missouri, Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas, Montana, and North Dakota. Quite the adventure! I am really excited for it, but I am also very nervous. Hopefully the Lord blesses me with good health and few mistakes!

Today, I met up with my friend Andrew to talk about agriculture on a much smaller scale. One of my aspirations is to get the Catholic Church involved in localized agriculture as a healthy means to raise funds, and to get the ‘church’ out in the community. He shares a similar interest in gardening, so we discussed the idea of growing a decent sized garden at a local parish. It looks good on paper, but we will have to see if we will be granted permission to use the garden, and then take it from there.

Towards the end of the discussion, we started talking about his personal life. Andrew is someone that I truly admire, because he is like the title says, ruff and buff. He is only a year older than I am, but he has already worked more jobs than my parents ever have, and has lived in more places than even the most traveled man. He is very positive about his life, which I truly admire, considering all the diversity. From my perspective, I would just like to see him get some stability in his life so that he can get ahead. Though he no longer attends Walsh, he is around quite a bit because his girlfriend lives on campus. Though his results might not portray it, Andrew has gained a lot of knowledge and character from his experiences. My prayer is that he can put it all together and find some solid ground to place his feet on. As of right now, he is resting his head on Walsh’s shoulders (figuratively speaking). What school would do that for someone that isn’t even enrolled anymore? That is a testament to Walsh’s integrity and mission.

Goodnight everyone!

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014    Subscribe  No Comments »

Jamboree At the WU

When I blog, I usually blog in binges. My last blog was only a couple of hours ago. Yes, I know, 10pm is a very odd time to write a blog. But, hey, what else am I going to do when the DJ can’t play a song that will get my body moving?

Last night, Walsh had one of its biggest moments in entertainment history.  Josh Gracin came to campus! When I heard the news two weeks before, I couldn’t believe my ears. It was definitely quite a catch. Josh isn’t a big time artist, but those who are big country fans know who he is. Some of his hits include “We Weren’t Crazy”, “Stay With Me”, and “I Want To Live”.

There was a great turnout at the concert, and 95% of the congregation was standing at the stage. So I was really glad to see that. I was sitting in the stand with my friend Shawn. He and I are very similar. We both are introverts and we like to soak it in and enjoy the music. Josh had a 5-piece band with him, and then on a few songs, he picked up the guitar and played as well. Overall, the crowd seemed to really like him. I am an honest judge of music quality, and I thought that he was just average. I will say that he has an amazing singing voice, and he clearly displayed that he is a down-to earth, wholesome character. The best parts of the concert–which I feel the majority will agree to–were he covers of classic rock songs such as “Free Fallin” and “Walk This Way”. To put things into perspective, I thought that it was great that Walsh could get a big name to come and perform and produce some good, clean fun.

Until the next Jamboree at the WU–Night Night!

Saturday, March 29th, 2014    Subscribe  No Comments »

Last Good Time in Town

Good evening ladies and gents!

In a short while, I will be attending my last dance at Walsh. As poor a dancer as I am,  I can honestly say that I have been at each one. Well, that is if I don’t die in a few short hours.

Sitting here typing, I am caught up thinking about my past years at Walsh, specifically the dances. Last year, I went with my friend Adrian, who I have written about before. We had fun, but not many of my friends were there. The previous year I actually had a lot of fun. I went with my friend Maria, and we also had a lot of fun. She was a Peace Maker that year with me and we had a lot of chemistry. Not romantic, but we made for great friends; really goofy friends! I also remember dancing with a few hot girls that year, and coincidentally getting rejected by someone I really liked. Well, that’s a story in itself.

Freshman year, the dance was at the Mckinley Grand Hotel. So it still had the authentic feeling a dance typically has. Not that having the dance at Walsh is that awful. I really miss the innocence of the moment. That year, I actually went to the dance with the girl that rejected me the next year. Funny how those things work. To tell the whole story, it was clear to everybody that this person and I were interested in each other. The problem was that I was still attached to my ex-girlfriend. The morning of the dance, my ex-girlfriend picked me up right in front my date’s room. Talk about a boneheaded mistake. Not only that, but I really hurt my date. She played it off fairly well for the dance, but I sure got chewed out later. I don’t really regret a whole lot in life, but that is a moment I wish that I could have back.

Gentleman, be honest with yourself and be honest with the ones you love.

Saturday, March 29th, 2014    Subscribe  No Comments »

Leaving A Legacy

It has been a spring break that has lacked much break. I have been purposeful with my days, but I have not been able to get much done as far as academics go. I am hoping and praying that I can be able to focus and get my much needed school work done throughout the rest of this week. Like the saying goes, God helps those who help themselves.

Last night the Peacemakers put on a program called “Leaving a Legacy”. The purpose of this program was to bring a group of seniors together and ask them questions about their Walsh career. We had a panel of 3 students, and then I stepped in on one question. Overall, I thought it was very fruitful. The students were very open about their Walsh careers and were willing to really dig deep and express themselves. I was anticipating that it would last 45 minutes, but it actually took over an hour! There wasn’t a whole lot of crowd participation as far as questions go, but I think that they enjoyed what the students had to say. I know I certainly did.

If I look at the big picture, I think that the Legacy that Walsh leaves is the fact that students want to have discussions like these. Walsh is a place that not only forms the mind, but the heart and soul as well. It might take a little bit of urging, but Walsh students really do enjoy opening up and giving thanks to the people and experiences that have touched their lives.

For what it’s worth, I know that I spent a lot of time smiling.

Thursday, March 27th, 2014    Subscribe  No Comments »

This, That and the Other Thing

I thought that it would be fitting for me to do several blogs over my spring break. Right now it kind of feels like my freshman and sophomore years of college. Very little school responsibility, and a lot of time to explore campus life and be involved. I kind of miss those days, but then again, that’s a part of growing up.

I started out my day by getting up at 7am and driving up to Hudson to work. Talk about connections, one of my friends’ dad asked me to help out his work, Printing Concepts. I was basically “assembling” medical envelopes to be shipped out all over the country. This business does a lot of these type of nic-nac jobs. So they require very little skill, and a lot of rigor. I estimate that in 5 hours, I made 1700 envelopes.

When I got back, I went to Mother’s Appreciation day to help out. I wouldn’t call it fun, but I always enjoy seeing peers with their families. I always find it kind of touching. After leaving there, I went and had dinner with my good friend and old roommate, Taylor.

Following dinner, I attended our Menard Hall Saturday Night program, “Knockout”. It was actually a lot of fun. I one 2/3 preliminary rounds, but then lost in the final round. Afterwards, a big number of guys stayed back and we played a full, 5 on 5 games of basketball. It was pretty pathetic. We actually decided to to play shirts and skins. And boy, do some people have some major beer guts!

Can’t wait to write again, very soon!

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014    Subscribe  No Comments »

A Call to Serve

Greetings earthlings. Hope that the week has treated you well. My week was good I guess but just, busy. But hey, guess what I get to look forward to? My spring break is next week! So that makes everything better (kind of). I will be doing a lot of work, so that is not something to look forward to. But at least I will be able to go to mass everyday!

Tonight, I was involved in a service event that I have not yet gotten to blog about. It’s called Matthew 8:20, which is a ministry based out of Little Flower Parish, a short 5 minute drive from campus. The last time I went was my sophomore year and I thought that it would be a great thing to do again. The parishioners organize a homeless outreach in downtown Canton, in which they provide food, clothes, and camaraderie for those in need. I think that it’s a great little program. While there, I had the pleasure of using the loud speaker and announcing different numbers for service (much like at the BMV). I liked that job a lot because I got to interact with the people quite a bit. It’s always fun to get to talk to them.

The whole time I was there, I kept reflecting on what it would be like to live their lifestyle. I have seen a few of the same people there before, and I had to wonder, “why haven’t they been able to get ahead?”. It’s just very hard for me to understand a lifestyle like that. One thing that I sensed was an overall happiness. They were all pretty jolly people. They were thankful, but it wasn’t like they revered us. We were definitely seen as equals, and I like that. It may seem unacquainted to me to live a lifestyle like that, but honestly, there’s really nothing wrong with it. Ultimately, all happiness flows through God, and what a better spot to be in than to be poor in material goods.  It brings you to a simple level of life, where you can understand what is truly important. You are humbled because you have to admit that you need assistance, and that you need others to meet your basic needs. I see this as a basic foundation for seeking the kingdom of God. “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God”.

From what I have gathered, the important realization is to not to try to change people, but rather act as as Christ would towards them–and allow them to be Christ towards you!

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014    Subscribe  No Comments »

Stuck in the country

I have been away from my blog for awhile now, so I think that it is now time that I catch my followers up on what has been going on in my life. Well, last week (not this past week), marked the start of lent with Ash Wednesday. This lent, I am really trying to focus on making sacrifices, and also adding supplements to my faith life to promote growth. I have struggled with a variety of different things, and I tend to believe that Lent is a great time to be proactive in an attempt to grow closer to the Lord.

One kind of funny story that I have is that during spring break, I really didn’t have a spring break; I was student teaching. So my spring break is actually the week after next. On Tuesday of that week, I was driving back from Sandy Valley on Rt. 800, which is actually Cleveland Ave./ Main St. Just an interesting side note. So I was driving along and I noticed a farmer harvesting his corn. Immediately, it caught my curiosity and I found a place to park, and threw on my flashers. I walked over to the farmer waved him down, and ended up being able to ride with him. If I haven’t mentioned it before, I will do so now; I love farming! And actually, combines are my favorite machines to ride in. I thought it was quite a moment of good fortune when not only did I not have class, but I was driving solo that particular day (instead of car pooling).

Well, a ride turned into an experience. The farmer, who was actually really nice, invited me to his church! Eventually, the combine broke down, and he actually let me help him fix it by sitting in the drivers seat and flipping some of the operations on and off. When I finally decided that it was time to leave, it was almost 8! When I got to my car, my sneaking suspicion came true; I ran my car battery out. What a buzz kill! It was unfortunate, but it was a lesson learned. Thank goodness I have a Triple A membership.

But would I do it all over again? Absolutely!

Saturday, March 15th, 2014    Subscribe  No Comments »

Keeping an Openess

This past weekend I went on a trip with my fellow Peacemaking crew (Dominica, Emily, Christian, and Maria) to Erie Pennsylvania as a retreat/relaxing weekend. We went to winery’s, attended mass, went out to eat, and enjoyed each others company. Overall, it was a very relaxing weekend.

One of our activities during the weekend was watching the movie, Les Miserables. I had seen the original film when I was in grade school, so I had a certain background of the movie. However, I also knew that the version we were going to watch was a musical, so that kind of turned me off from watching it. Mind you, I don’t really like movies in the first place.

I wouldn’t say I loved the movie, but it certainly had a lot of elements in it that I appreciated and moved me. I never knew this, but the movie is incredibly Christian; the underlying theme in the whole movie is the Christian value of love. The main character, Jean Valjean, is  convict for 20 years due to an incredibly petty crime, and leaves enslavement with a chip on his shoulder, especially in relation to society. Ironically enough, he falls into the same behavior that sent him into jail; robbery. When the authorities turn him over to the priest of whom Valjean stole from, the priest acts in Valjean’s favor and claims that the items were gifts to him. This radical act of kindness penetrates Valjean’s heart and transforms his life. Throughout the movie, the initial act of love is freely given to others through those who have been touched by its power. Love is truly portrayed as the gift that keeps on giving.

I of course, enjoyed seeing this dynamic played out and made me think quite a bit. It made me reflect on our roles as Peacemakers. In any society, justice is needed. It is innate that wrongdoers must be punished. But nonetheless, punishment often times fails to reach the heart of the matter. The anecdote–grace–does though. It’s kind of like a parent using corporal punishment with a child; it’s fine to use punishment, but the child will never understand how to respond to a fault unless it approached in a gentle way. The same goes for the Residence Halls. I think that Resident Assistants are necessary. It helps keep the halls civil. But enforcing rules doesn’t necessarily teach anything, because it doesn’t reach the “heart of the matter”. This is why I feel so blessed to be a Peacemaker. Justice is necessary, but so is grace, because it is through grace that we experience life, and more deeply, God’s life.

Saturday, March 15th, 2014    Subscribe  No Comments »