.- Every morning during Lent â Monday through Saturday â teams of Bishop Carroll Catholic High School in Wichita, Kansas students gather in the schoolâs auditorium for their spiritual workout. This Lent marks the God Squadâs fifth anniversary.
Initiated by Father Jarrod Lies, the schoolâs chaplain, the squadâs intent is âto take the training for spiritual life as seriously as music, sports or other things.â He based the idea on 1 Timothy, 4:7, which encourages us to âtrain yourself for devotion, for while physical training is of limited value, devotion is valuable in every respect, since it holds a promise of life both for the present and for the future.â
Because Fr. Lies is so involved in sports at the high school, he adopted sports terms for the God Squadâs activities. There are âcoachesâ (chaplain and teachers) who assist in organizing and arranging God Squad events, and âcaptainsâ (students who facilitate small groups) who lead prayers and discussion.
Sunday is referred to as âgame day,â and the âarenaâ or âcourtâ is free will. âStudying the playbookâ means meditation on scripture. Other translations include âdoinâ ropesâ (praying the Rosary), âscrimmage (daily Mass) and âhuddlesâ (student led discussion groups).
Team designations carry metaphors as well.
To be on the varsity team, a student must attend âtraining daysâ (daily activities) 80 percent of the time. Junior varsity members must participate 50 percent of the time, and C-team members participate without specific accountability. Itâs even possible to âletterâ in God Squad. Winning a Liturgy and Spirituality letter signifies that the student has made the varsity squad two consecutive years.
Senior Rachel Stanley, a captain, has been on the God Squad for four years. She does it âbecause it makes such an impact on me and my spiritual life,â she explained. âIt would be beneficial to continue while I had the opportunity.â
Printed with permission from the Catholic Advance, newspaper from the Diocese of Wichita.