Catch of Faith
By Chris Anderson
Recently I attended GOFISH put on by the OSU Newman Center. After 2 terms of college I was slowly getting involved in the Catholic community on campus and I was looking for a good way to meet people and get involved. When I was invited to sign up for GOFISH I immediately thought it would be a great opportunity and it fulfilled my goal ten times over. I have been on a dozen Catholic retreats, some more spiritually intensive than others, and since GOFISH was advertised as a getaway rather than a spiritual retreat, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I didn’t expect to come home a very different Catholic.
As the weekend approached I started hearing more and more people saying they were going to too and sure enough, there turned out to be over 150 students, with at least one or two representatives from each of 16 Oregon Schools (Go Beavs). There was no shortage of people to meet. Strangers, acquaintances and friends alike all became family. GOFISH was the type of event where you could be excited to see and have a good time with anyone. Most notably, we got to bond with the missionaries and see what they are like outside of mass. Sister Teresa dazzled us with her (Christian) rap skills, Deacon Juan-Pablo entertained us with some Argentinian dancing, and Fr. Ivan wore street clothes for much of the weekend. Even two weeks later that feeling is still true. One of the key factors that redefined my faith was entering into that fellowship that is so important to staying on track as a Catholic. I now realize I am not a small island of faith in a large university, sentenced to defending my faith to the masses who don’t share it, but rather now I understand what it means to be part of the body. I have become proud of my identity as a Catholic like someone who is proud to be a patriot to their country.
GOFISH wasn’t just a social, however. The theme for the weekend was exploring the different levels of happiness and how each fits into our lives. In the last month, priorities in my life have been changing. I have been evaluating priorities around career goals, interests, relationships, even dreams, even some I have held my whole life. Learning about the four levels of happiness at GOFISH was the biggest influence that led me do redefine my priorities in life. I find now that I would rather spend an evening playing board games at Newman instead of partying all night tempted to dance on the line of things I should and shouldn’t do. I have been set on becoming an engineer since I was 11 years old, and things like how much money I will make, where I will live and what kind of lifestyle I will have were always important to my pursuit of happiness. I don’t care about those things anymore because I have learned how true happiness comes from doing the things we love and following God. My commitment to following Christ had always been a part of many parts of my life, but now it is the center of my life and all other things are a part of it.
For me, GOFISH was a life changer. I am aboundingly grateful to all the volunteers who put in the effort to making it what it was but it wasn’t human effort that led to GOFISH changing my life. GOFISH just happened to be exactly what I needed and God made it happen.
Chris is a first-year Industrial Engineering Major. He was born and raised in a Catholic home and attended a non-denominational Christian School for most of his Pre-College education. He is the type of person who likes to make friends with everyone and get involved in as many things as he can.