Spiritual

Holy Hour at Hofstra University

Nick Castelli (center) with Hofstra Brothers Justin Usis (left) and Thomas O'Connor (right).

Nick Castelli (center) with Hofstra Brothers Justin Usis (left) and Thomas O'Connor (right).

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.

Guest Speaker Father Christopher Sullivan.

Guest Speaker Father Christopher Sullivan.

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.

Synagogue Receives Help From Duquesne University Phi Kaps

From left to right, Jake Nowark of Phi Kappa Theta, Greg Falvo of Sigma Nu and Nick Vottero of Phi Kappa Theta helped sell Pittsburgh Strong bracelets in the Student Union. Taylor Carr/Staff Photographer

From left to right, Jake Nowark of Phi Kappa Theta, Greg Falvo of Sigma Nu and Nick Vottero of Phi Kappa Theta helped sell Pittsburgh Strong bracelets in the Student Union. Taylor Carr/Staff Photographer

Borrowed from THE DUQUESNE DUKE
November 8th, 2018
Kellen Stepler, Staff Writer for The Duquesne Duke

It has been a little over a week since the Tree of Life shooting in Squirrel Hill, but support from the Pittsburgh community – and be- yond – has been abundant.

Groups and organizations on Duquesne’s campus are supporting the Tree of Life synagogue after the shooting in any way they can. The Mary Pappert School of Music donated proceeds from a concert to the synagogue, Duquesne sorority Alpha Sigma Tau (AST) donated leftover budget funds and Duquesne fraternities Phi Kappa Theta and Sigma Nu are selling Pittsburgh Strong bracelets to support the synagogue.

On Friday, Nov. 2, ticket sales from the concert, The Music of Billy Stray- horn, were donated to the synagogue. The concert featured the Duquesne Jazz Ensemble, directed by Mike Tomaro; Jazz Workshop, directed by Jeff Bush and Vocal Jazz Ensemble, directed by Kelley Krepin DeFade. Jane Cubbison, office manager of the school of music, and Steve Groves, manager of musical events, came up with the idea to make the concert a benefit for the synagogue. Billy Strayhorn, one of “Pitts- burgh’s greatest musical icons” according to Tomaro, was raised in Braddock and then Homewood from the age of five.

Seth Beckman, dean of the Mary Pappert School of Music, thought making the previously-scheduled concert a benefit for the synagogue was “a wonderful idea, especially considering that Billy Strayhorn – an internationally prominent musician who had a tremendous impact on his (and future) generations – was a native Pittsburgher known for bringing people together through his artistry.”

Beckman hoped that the concert could be a place for our community to come together and celebrate life through music.

Music is considered a universal language that, regardless of one’s own background, has the power to convey what words alone cannot do in any language.

“We hope that our musical offerings lift the spirits of those who have been directly or indirectly affected by this tragedy,” Beckman said.

The Duquesne Jazz Ensemble performed during the concert, The Music of Billy Stray- horn, on Friday, Nov. 2, which donated its proceeds to the Tree of Life synagogue. Olivia Higgins/Staff Photographer

The Duquesne Jazz Ensemble performed during the concert, The Music of Billy Stray- horn, on Friday, Nov. 2, which donated its proceeds to the Tree of Life synagogue. Olivia Higgins/Staff Photographer

“It is a proven fact the music has healing powers and so our concert seemed to be a great way to assist in this process,” Tomaro said.

Additionally, Duquesne Greek Life took action to support the Tree of Life synagogue and those affected by the shooting.

AST announced its efforts to help during its annual Miss Duquesne Pageant on Saturday, Nov. 3, which benefits the Make- A-Wish Foundation.

“Even though our philanthropy is Make-A-Wish, we did not feel right ignoring a cause that was so close to home. Many girls thought that we should contribute in some way to the Tree of Life synagogue to help this community,” said Kacie Flannigan, AST director of philanthropy and co-chair of the Miss Duquesne Pageant. “Bringing light to these victims is very important because this is our city, and we wanted to help in any way we could.”

Fraternities Phi Kappa Theta and Sigma Nu began selling black-and- yellow Pittsburgh Strong bracelets from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 2, and will continue to do so through Friday, Nov. 9 on the third floor of the Union. The bracelets cost two dollars.

In addition to these dates, the bracelets will be sold on Nov. 10, during the men’s football and basketball game and on Nov. 12 at the men’s and women’s basketball doubleheader.

Jake Nowark, philanthropy chair of Phi Kappa Theta, and his roommate, Zach Laros of Sigma Nu, came together with the idea to create a joint effort between the two fraternities.

Nicolas Jozefczyk, president of Phi Kappa Theta and A&E writer for The Duke, said, “The idea to raise money after this tragedy seemed only natural.”

Nowark said that the goal of the fundraiser is “to raise money and awareness for this tragedy among Duquesne’s campus, and it has turned into something more than we ever thought it would.”

“We hope to raise over $300 as a tangible goal, but more than that we hope to aid in creating a culture of brother and sisterhood to the point where people know that there is always someone to help them in their time of need,” Alex Burns, president of Sigma Nu, said.

A larger event is in the works for the future. David DeFelice, president of Duquesne’s Jewish Student Organization (JSO), is currently planning an event tentatively set for March 18, 2019, that will tackle the issue of anti-Semitism and the First Amendment.

“We will ask questions like, what is hate speech? What can be censored? And what can we do to stop anti-Semitism, while maintaining free speech?” DeFelice said. “We will have representatives from the ADL, Jewish Federation and a few academics on constitutional law.”

DeFelice adds that while the Jewish community in Pittsburgh is already rather close-knit, he thinks that this event will bring them even closer.

“Our Duquesne community will continue to rely on one another and help the larger community heal in any way we can,” DeFelice said.

The Jewish Law Students Associa- tion and the JSO co-hosted a candle- light vigil in remembrance of the victims on Wednesday, Nov. 7, on A-Walk, followed by a dinner in the campus ministry.

Supporting others through events like this is just another part of Duquesne’s mission.

“Our institution and Spiritan Fathers have always valued community and community engagement. This is as true today as it was when our institution was founded,” Beckman said. “Our new university strategic plan reinforces this fact as well, detailing an imperative that stresses the significance of deepening authentic alliances throughout our community — including other faith-based entities.”

##

Download a PDF of the THE DUQUESNE DUKE

SEEK 2019

Phi Kap College Students Develop Spirituality

by Kathy Jonas
Indiana University, ‘78

“It was formative for me because I learned how to pray and have a relationship with God.”

– Aaron Siehr, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Thousands of college students, including Phi Kappa Theta brothers, will head to Indianapolis during Christmas break to follow the teachings of Matthew 7:7: Ask and it will be given to you: seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

SEEK is an every-other-year conference organized by the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) to provide outreach to college students looking for answers to life’s big questions.

“It was formative for me because I learned how to pray and have a relationship with God,” says Chapter President, Aaron Siehr (University of Wisconsin-Madison), who attended SEEK 2017 in San Antonio, Texas.

“Everybody gets something different from it,” according to TJ Kessler (University of Nebraska-Lincoln), Vice President of Spiritual Development. “It makes you more confident to grow in your faith on campus.” Kessler attended his first SEEK conference in Nashville, Tennessee, as a freshman and went back to San Antonio, Texas, two years ago. He plans to travel to Indianapolis in January.

“My personal opinion is that every good relationship has a spiritual component.” Kessler adds that this philosophy coincides with the Phi Kappa Theta pillar of Spiritual Development. The conference, attended by approximately 17,000 two years ago, provides an opportunity for Phi Kaps in attendance to explore and develop the spirituality aspect of the fraternity’s mission. Kessler says that in 2017 about half of the brothers in the house attended the conference.

This year’s gathering in Indianapolis features well-known speakers and entertainers. It builds in free time for socialization and opportunities for attendees to explore the city’s attractions. Indianapolis, for example, is home to 11 professional sports teams, is the “Racing Capital of the World” and is home to the Executive Office of Phi Kappa Theta. Indianapolis successfully hosted the 2011 Super Bowl at Lucas Oil Stadium and is well equipped with hotels rooms, museums and restaurants – all in walking distance.

“Today’s culture tells us we need power, we need to feel good and we need to be happy,” says Siehr. “Those are not always bad things, but they are not an end in themselves. Faith allows us to get outside of ourselves and believe in something bigger. It is not easy. But it is a way to better understand ourselves rather than just blending in and following.”

Main Image: Colorado State University, University of Nebraska and Bridgewater State University Brothers at SLS 2018 in Chicago, IL.


FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) will have three main events for Greek students throughout the conference as listed below. The lunch events will feature a short talk followed by time for fellowship. The FOCUS Greek Bid Day is an opportunity to welcome all Greek students in attendance to the FOCUS Greek community and allow them to meet brothers and sisters from their respective chapters all over the country.

Friday, January 4

FOCUS Greek Lunch #1
“FOCUS Greek Lunch with Fr. Victor”
Hall IJK
12:15 pm – 1:15 pm

Friday, January 4

FOCUS Greek Bid Day
9:00 pm – 10:30 pm

Sunday, January 6

FOCUS Greek Lunch #2
“FOCUS Greek Lunch with Mallory Smyth”
Hall IJK
12:15 pm – 1:15 pm

Trying New Things and Making a Difference

A Look at How One Small Decision Can Impact the Lives of Thousands

by Jared Grieve
Kansas State University, '19

News-Blog18D.jpg

"My advice is to take chances in your life, no matter how little, because you have no idea where you might end up."

Jared Grieve
Kansas State University, '19
2018 Phi Kappa Theta Executive Office Intern

I have lived in Kansas my entire life, so if you told me I would have a chance to live in a big city over 600 miles away, I would have just laughed and called you a liar. This past summer I had the best opportunity to do just that.

This is my story, from a small town in Kansas to making an impact around the country.

Growing up, I was what some people might call your average Midwest kid. I played football, basketball, baseball and golf. Although, I was never the star athlete or the smartest kid on the block, I knew that some day I would have an opportunity to make a positive impact on the world around me.

After graduating from high school in 2015, I decided to attend college and pursue a mechanical engineering degree. During my senior year of high school, I decided to start looking at colleges to attend. Because I have never lived out of Kansas, and probably because I was too scared to leave, I decide to narrow my search to only schools in Kansas.

Growing up, I thought the University of Kansas would be where I would end up. But the minute I walked onto the campus of Kansas State University I knew that this was the place where I wanted to live.

Bill Snyder, Hall of Fame coach, and current coach of the K-State football team said, “We came to Kansas State because of the people, stayed because of the people and returned because of the people, and that remains unchanged.” I can’t say how true this was for me.

News-Blog18C.jpg

“Family” is a word used all the time at K-State and to tell the truth, I really had no idea what it meant to K-State until I arrived on campus. Manhattan, Kansas, is truly one of the best towns in the Midwest, consistently ranked as one of the “Best College Towns in America” and I am so happy to have called this place home the past few years. The people are truly the ones that make the difference. And the people here have really helped me learn what being a servant leader is all about.

During the spring of my senior year all I could think about was how excited to move into my dorm and start college. But then I saw a letter about Greek Life at K-State. I have never considered myself to be someone who would join a fraternity, but I was interested in the idea.

Throughout that spring I attended many different recruitment events at many different fraternities. While I did receive bids from other chapters, I knew there was something different about Phi Kappa Theta.

When I joined the Kansas Iota Chapter, there were about 40 members. During my first year, I loved most of my experiences, but good things don’t always come easy. Throughout my first year, I could tell that the chapter was having some issues. There were groups forming in the house and many different visions of what a Phi Kap should be.

After the end of my freshman year a change had to be made. Unfortunately, that was a membership review, which took our chapter down to seven members.

Our chapter decided that everything we do should always live out our mission that “Phi Kappa Theta activity develops men to be effective leaders who passionately serve society, Fraternity and God.”

To make an impact on the lives of our members, this is what had to be done. That November, I was elected to the position of Chapter President.

During the second semester of my sophomore year I started to really look at what my future had to hold for me, and really, I did not like what I saw. I knew that I could be a decent engineer, but something was missing.

Through arguing with myself, I decided to change my major to Organizational Management. I knew this was a great decision from the first day. With this new major I could really see how I could make an impact on the people around me.

That summer I had the privilege to represent our chapter at the Phi Kappa Theta Biennial Convention in Washington D.C.. During the convention I learned about the open positions on the Undergraduate Advisory Committee (UGAC).

When I heard about this, I knew that this was going to be where I can start to make a major impact. After being elected to represent the Midwest Province, I was also elected as Chairman of the UGAC. With this, I also serve as a member of the Phi Kappa Theta Board of Trustees.

Through this position, I have been able to travel to the chapters in my Province assisting with things from recruitment to governance models. With this, I started to really make a positive impact on those around me.

This most recent summer was my chance to live out of Kansas for the first time. I was offered an internship with the Executive Office of Phi Kappa Theta, which meant I would be moving to Indianapolis. To say I was excited would be an understatement, but going from a population of 5,000 to 900,000 is just a little intimidating.

Facilitating at the University of South Dakota.

After getting settled, I was ready to get started. I worked on many different aspects of the Fraternity, some of which I had no idea were even a part of the operations of a not-for-profit organization. Most of my work was focused on member engagement and chapter operations, spending a lot of my time developing resources for our collegiate leadership.

With resources that we already had, I compiled and developed a day-long recruitment workshop. Not only was I able to develop the workshop, I traveled to the University of South Dakota to be the facilitator of the new program. I received great feedback from the chapter and I could tell when I left that I have made a positive impact on their chapter and possibly hundreds of members to come.

Another project that I got to work on was the planning and logistics of this summer’s national conference, IMPACT18 in Orlando, FL. The work of Dr. Michael Brown, his team of coaches, the national staff and all alumni involved made this experience an unforgettable one.

The theme of the conference was “Live Beyond Yourself” which is our fraternal commitment to servant leadership and our passion to “Give, Expecting Nothing Thereof,” Luke 6:35.

2018 Phi Kappa Theta Executive Office Staff.

This conference was extremely beneficial to everyone who attended, especially myself since servant leadership is such a major part of my life.

As I return to school I take back more skills and inspiration to make an even bigger impact on the world, investing in that which will outlive myself. I also take time to reflect on how all of this would not be possible if when I was in high school I just threw out the letter about Greek life.

My advice is to take chances in your life, no matter how little, because you have no idea where you might end up. My one small decision to even consider Greek life has made a life changing experience on my life. With this, I have left an impact on thousands of people around the country.

I have to say, I am truly blessed to have been given these great opportunities to make a difference in the lives of many. Probably the most important people who have really shaped who I am today are my parents. They are my biggest role models in my life teaching how to be loving, generous, humble and are the main reason I am able to do the things I am doing today.

I will end with a few things Dr. Brown explained that will happen if you live your life as a servant leader. Your impact will outlive you, your final days on this earth will be without regrets and your example will be emulated by others who follow.

Visit myfraternitylife.org for more information on the #myFraternity initiative raising awareness of fraternities that build better men.


About Jared:

JGrieve18A.jpg

Jared Grieve is an undergraduate student at Kansas State University. Brother Grieve is also the Chapter President for Phi Kappa Theta’s Kansas Iota Chapter at Kansas State.

He grew up in Paola, Kansas, and graduated from Paola High School in 2015. Brother Grieve is currently a senior at Kansas State University, studying business management.

He serves as Chairman of the Undergraduate Advisory Council for Phi Kappa Theta Fraternity, representing the Midwestern Province, which includes chapters in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota. Through this position, he also serves on Phi Kappa Theta’s Board of Trustees.