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 | By Mary Gates

God Is Helping Us As We Go

Lansing Catholic High School (LCHS) student Noel Spence admits that his senior year looks different than he expected. “School is more complicated now wearing masks, social distancing, wiping down the desks,” he says. But Noel’s focus isn’t the pandemic, or even the changes that it’s brought. Noel sees God at work in 2020: “I think God is our best support in these tough times. The fact that we’re able to go to Mass now is great – we can praise God and receive the Eucharist, and that really is most important. Things might not be the best right now, but God is helping us as we go.

Noel has worked through some challenges in his life that have helped build the faith he leans on today. He explains: “In middle school, I dislocated my kneecap and it healed for a bit, but I reinjured it, dislocating it a few more times, leading to surgery the summer before my freshman year. I think I was really struggling for motivation. Through going to Mass and asking for God’s help I could see a difference – not just in my knee but also in my relationship with God. We aren’t guaranteed that God will make everything better, but he will always answer and he is always listening.

Noel has found that part of God’s answer to his prayers has been an invitation to use his own experience to help others. “I think that as God has worked through me, he’s really asked me to lead through example – whether in track and field, NHS, the spiritual theme group or just every day at school. Certain kids might feel like they are not being included, and I really like to reach out to them. I think that everyone likes to know that someone is there,” he says.

Noel credits God with his growth and willingness to be a part of building the faith community at school: “I have grown in confidence over the years because God tells us to be ourselves and to not be afraid. God gives me a safety net where I can do that.”

A member of the school’s spiritual theme group, Noel and the other group members meet to pray and discern what direction the Lord is calling the school. “This is my second year involved. Over the summer we pray and decide on a spiritual theme from Scripture that we think God wants us to focus on to grow as a school. And through the year we meet every couple of weeks to think of ideas to share the theme. For example, because this year’s theme, Ephesians 2:19, is about the saints, we just met and talked about our patron, St. John Paul the Great. We thought we might get on broadcasting the week of his feast day to teach students more about him. And we plan to serve his favorite dessert here at school that day,” he says.

Things like Polish cream cake and video announcements might seem simple, but, as Noel has learned, they make a difference. He says: “Sometimes we can lose sight of God’s presence in the scene of a regular school day, we can be distracted. We can lose the most important part, so the spiritual theme group plans ways we can integrate our faith throughout the day.”

It’s the balance between his own relationship with God and his desire to help others come to know God that has marked Noel’s high school years. “My relationship with God has definitely grown while I’ve been at LCHS. And I’ve learned that growing together helps us all to grow closer to God.”

Lansing Catholic High School 2020-21 Scripture Theme: “You are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.”(Eph 2:19)