Ryan O'Hara (Submitted photo)

Ryan O’Hara (Submitted photo)

DOBIE – The Diocese of Superior hosted an Advent Day of Reflection, Friday, Dec. 4, at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, Dobie.

Guest speaker Ryan O’Hara, director of mission resources for Saint Paul’s Outreach, a national campus ministry headquartered in West Saint Paul, Minnesota, gave three talks to the 50 participants and volunteers attending the daylong event.

“We’ve been doing this for several years … I think it’s probably around five or six,” said Chris Hurtubise, associate director of Catholic formation for the Diocese of Superior. “The different talks were about a half hour long each, and they were really, really well-received.”

“Christmas Matters,” the theme for O’Hara’s presentations, included reflections on personal identity, perceptions of God, improving one’s relationship with God and appreciating the gift of the Eucharist.

Ellie Brantner, 21, a student at UW-River Falls, went to deepen her understanding of Advent.

“I decided to attend the Advent Day of Reflection because I had been learning more about what Advent is about through Matthew Kelly’s “Best Advent Ever” program,” she said. “It kind of hit me hard that Advent is indeed a time of spiritual preparation and time for not only reflection but action in living our Catholic faith. I hadn’t ever taken Advent seriously, so I wanted to dig deeper and use this time for what it’s meant for.”

Brantner invited Sherrie Hoogland, 22, also a student at UW-River Falls, to attend.

“A couple of points from Ryan’s talk that I really identified with were the questions ‘Where do you find your identity?’ and ‘What is your compass in life?’” Hoogland said. “As a college student, I’ve been studying in pursuit of a dream career, which sometimes causes me to find my identity in my future job, or let fears (of failure or disappointment) be my compass. Ryan’s talk pointed out that our identity is as a daughter or son of God, with Jesus as our compass. If we strive to live out this fullness of truth, we will not be lead astray.”

“One of the points that Ryan talked about was our ‘compass’ or ‘true north’; is it our flesh, fears, feelings, or Jesus?” Brantner added. “This idea really hit a chord with me because I learned about what my ‘true north’ is in the different situations in my current life …. Through contemplation of this, I discovered how much each of these drives our lives and was especially surprised at how much fear can control us. I see now how choosing to follow my compass toward putting trust in Jesus is way simpler than being suffocated by fear!”

The event offered opportunities for reception of the sacrament of reconciliation and concluded with Mass concelebrated by Fr. David Neuschwander, associate pastor of the four-parish cluster, and Fr. Dave Oberts, retired pastor of the Dobie parish.