Ana Lucia "Luci" Gutierrez Gomez reflects on the National College Preaching in Action Conference
My experience at the preaching conference in May 2023 was an enjoyable experience that helped me grow spiritually. When Sister Cathy Buchanan invited me to participate in this conference, it seemed like it was something I was destined to do because it seemed like I needed some time to go away and be alone with God, with incredible people, and with myself.
One of the activities that I liked the most was meeting St Dominic de Guzman, Saint Catherine of Siena, Saint Martin de Porras, and Saint Rose of Lima. I really liked learning about different saints, and what I enjoyed most was identifying with Saint Rose of Lima; it reminded me a lot of home, especially my grandmother Rosa Maria. It reminded me a lot of when my grandmother collected clothes to give them to those most in need. And until now, Santa Rosa de Lima has motivated me to continue doing good. Our call is to welcome, to speak the truth of the roots of our own immigrant nation, and to advocate for just immigration policies and practices. We had several presentations and I attended “The Wall, the Immigrant, the Church and Me” by Fr. Brendan Curran, OP and “Unmasking Racial Microaggressions” by Sisters Marcelline Koch and Mila Diaz Solano, OP. I learned a lot from both of them, and we touched on topics that are hard to hear, but conversations that should be talked about. The best was that not only was information provided but they also gave us the resources to support and learn even more about these topics. It changed my view of studying! There's too many ways to apply study to things that we like, and we don't like. And it's amazing to see how one person can make a difference.
Sister Gina asked us to think about the gift that we were going to bring to this activity. At first I thought that my gift was that I love helping others, that I had a little experience in nutrition, and that I could help a little with that. But God had other plans…
We also did some community service, and I chose the Community Food club! This is a non-profit organization, and they help the community by having a member base grocery store. Low income members pay between $11-15 for a 30-day membership. And we help to stack shelves. Before going to our community service, Sister Gina asked us to think about the gift that we were going to bring to this activity. At first I thought that my gift was that I love helping others, that I had a little experience in nutrition, and that I could help a little with that. But God had other plans… I helped at the cash register, where some customers were Spanish speakers struggling to say their addresses and spell their last names. Once I started talking to them in Spanish, you could see relief on their faces. In conclusion, I learned a lot about community and not only learning but also experiencing it. This time, I was the shy one on this trip, and I learned a lot about different leaders. It was something that I brought back, especially with my friend club, as an orientation leader, at work, with my friends, and with my Family.
I think this preaching conference was something that I didn't know that I needed. But if you remember that at the beginning I mentioned that it's impressive how much the impact of a single person can make? Well, I'm on the way, or just one small step away from starting to make a change in my community.
Ana Lucia Gutierrez Gomez
Albertus Magnus College, New Haven, CT