Bringing Spiritual Development to Campus
by Nick Castelli
Hofstra University, ‘21
“Phi Kappa Theta actively develops men to be effective leaders who passionately serve society, fraternity, and God.” The spiritual pillar has continued to be the corner stone of the Fraternity that gives men the ability to become those passionate leaders.
Without spiritual development, gentlemen of Phi Kappa Theta cannot become men who serve effectively in leadership.
Spiritual development opens the mind in a way that other areas of development cannot. While many college communities lie asleep in indifference, the New York Alpha Omega Chapter at Hofstra University embraces the opportunity to ponder questions and be active in their spiritual development.
St. Thomas Aquinas said, “The study of truth requires a considerable effort - which is why few are willing to undertake it out of love of knowledge - despite the fact that God has implanted a natural appetite for such knowledge in the minds of men.”
The brothers of Phi Kappa Theta at Hofstra University have taken full advantage of fulfilling that natural appetite with the new spiritual development program, Beyond Belief.
Before the release of the new program, the chapter was still regularly active in their spiritual development. Former Vice President of Spiritual Development, Thomas O’Connor, regularly organized Spirit Talks. These talks were open discussions that allowed brothers to examine questions while reflecting on their relationship with the world around them.
On December 10, 2018, the chapter hosted a campus wide Holy Hour during the Advent Season, in collaboration with the Hofstra Newman Club.
The event was planned by Thomas O’Connor and Nicolas Castelli, the current Vice President of Spiritual Development. Roughly 60 college students came to pray before the Blessed Sacrament with live music provided by a joint Phi Kappa Theta-Newman Club worship band.
Currently, the chapter is continuing the Spirit Talks with the guidance of the new program. The talks have been divided into two series: Theology Talks and Spiritual Examination Talks.
So far, the chapter has held one of each. The first Theology Talk was about the philosophy of God and universal causes. With help from the school chaplain, Father Joseph Scolaro, the chapter examined excerpts from St. Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica.
The brothers discussed who God is and how we can rationally come to believe in God’s existence. Using the philosophy presented in the masterpiece, brothers were able to gain an insight on God that many had not explored before.
The first Spiritual Examination Talk examined the nature of love and discussed how we can define love. This discussion also opened new doors of understanding for the brothers involved. Brothers were able to discuss their experiences with all forms of love freely, while understanding the different thoughts, experiences, and perspectives brothers had on the topic.
Future topics for theology and spiritual discussions include: the importance of scripture and tradition, morality and virtue, meaning, post-death theology and an examination of the Catholic tradition of Phi Kappa Theta.
Currently, spring and fall retreats are being planned by the chapter’s spiritual committee. The New York Alpha Omega chapter at Hofstra University has always been, and continues to, embrace the value of spiritual development.