Chat Tuesday – Andrew Kebe, S. Paul Outreach

Face Forward: Connecting Catholic Youth Time For Chat Tuesday! Tonight we’re chatting with Andrew Kebe of St. Paul’s Outreach at Ohio State. Welcome Andrew!

Andrew Kebe Hi! Glad to be here! Thanks for having me!

Face Forward: Connecting Catholic Youth Chat Tuesday ? To Andrew Kebe: How did you get involved in Saint Paul’s Outreach?

Andrew Kebe While in high school, I became best friends with a guy from Minnesota while doing a couple mission trips in rural Honduras. We kept in touch and he told me about this great leadership development program put on by a group called Saint Paul’s Outreach (SPO). I had experienced a pretty huge awakening in my Catholic faith and really wanted to do anything that I could to make an impact for Christ on my campus, OSU, so I went up there that summer. I was blown away by the way that the college students in SPO were filled with so much joy and life and the way that they loved God, had incredible relationships with each other and were so passionate about being lights for Christ. I knew that I wanted my life to look like that. So I started talking to the leaders about how we could start SPO in Ohio and they helped me be a part of the founding of SPO that next year. It was quite the adventure – one that only God could orchestrate!

Face Forward: Connecting Catholic Youth Chat Tuesday ? To Andrew Kebe: As you figured out what path to follow in life and before you realized God was calling you to become a leader in SPO, did you consider the priesthood?

Andrew Kebe Actually, this was something that was on my mind and part of my prayer for a long time during my college years. When my faith was really coming alive as an 18 year old, there was a lot of grace for me to want whatever God wanted for my life. There was something in me that I just knew that I wanted to be a missionary. Naturally, I knew that a great place that I could be a missionary was as a priest. So, after Mass one Sunday, I went up to a Fr. David Sizemore, who was at my parish, St. Catharine, and told him that he inspired me to be open to God’s call in my life. He invited me to grab dinner and a year and a half I finally called him! We had a great time talking about the life of a priest and over the next number of years, I spend a lot of time praying and talking to Fr. Sizemore and some other priests to discern this call. As it turned out, God had something different in mind – still being a missionary, but as a married man! I am truly grateful for this time of discernment because as I look back I see that it was such an annointed time to grow in my relationship with God and prayer life, to grow in my character, and to serve – which ended up being the start of SPO!

Face Forward: Connecting Catholic Youth And not just newly, happily married but…

Andrew Kebe Also expecting a little one in July!

Face Forward: Connecting Catholic Youth So you’re a Father after all!

Face Forward: Connecting Catholic Youth Chat Tuesday ? To Andrew Kebe: You mentioned a conversion and coming alive in your faith … did your Catholic education prior to OSU have any role in that?

Andrew Kebe Yes – I was actually home-schooled in grade school and then I went to St. Charles for high school. My mom and dad are two of the holiest people you will meet and I learned so much from them on so many levels through out school and family life. And being at St. Charles, it was such a blessing to be at a Catholic school where we had regular prayer and the sacraments were readily available – I remember being able to go to Mass every Wednesday and confession often too – and I know that God was working to keep me close to Him and laying foundations for the future.

Face Forward: Connecting Catholic Youth Chat Tuesday ? To Andrew Kebe: You played lacrosse at St. Charles … have you played since?

Andrew Kebe I loved playing lacrosse and missed it so much when I graduated! But at OSU, I did get to play club Lacrosse and we actually won the National Championship of club teams! That was a blast. I also got involved back at St. Charles coaching the JV. I loved being around the game even more as a coach because seeing the guys’ hard work pay off in the games was totally awesome! I still get out the gear every once in a while to play with my brothers that are at SC now – so that is a blast.

Patrick Young What position did you play in Lacrosse?

Andrew Kebe Middie! Do you play?

Patrick Young Yes I play middie too!

Andrew Kebe oh – and I played long pole at OSU for the club team

Patrick Young kool- I play short stick and do the face-off

Andrew Kebe Faceoffs are the best – I loved them – I still do them with my brothers sometimes

Patrick Young haha yeah there awesome

Andrew Kebe What team do you play for?

Patrick Young karrer middle school

Patrick Young in Dublin

Andrew Kebe cool – do you know where you are going to go to hs

Patrick Young maybe watterson or St. Charles

Andrew Kebe Watterson has lacrosse now right? My brothers go to st charles. Aaron will be a freshman there next year and will play lax

Andrew Kebe maybe you guys will face off against each other!

Patrick Young haha thats a possiblty

Face Forward: Connecting Catholic Youth Chat Tuesday ? To Andrew Kebe: So, did you start the first SPO household at Ohio State? What is an SPO household all about?

Andrew Kebe Yeah – starting SPO really started with the first Household, “Fort Zion” in the fall of 2004. Household is an absolute blast and the best thing that ever happened to me as far as teaching me how to be a holy man. Household is a group of men (or women in the Women’s Household) that live together with a purpose: to become holy, to grow in brotherhood, and to be on mission to be a light of Christ on their campus. The members of household commit to each other to get together regularly to pray a couple mornings a week, have dinners a couple evenings a week, and be a part of a small group. They also are putting on most of the programs that SPO does on campus and hosting tons of social stuff at the house. It was so amazing to live with so many different guys and get to know them and build strong friendships while always pursuing a life of virtue – it is constantly a place of inspiration and challenge to strive for holiness and I loved that.

Andrew Kebe But at the same time, some of my greatest memories were the random crazy adventures that we would have while pulling an all-nighter or trying to build a giant human pyramid or human dominoes down the stairs…there was always a new idea and we loved being together!

Terry Cahalan Household is one of the best things that has ever happened to me!

Face Forward: Connecting Catholic Youth Chat Tuesday ? To Andrew Kebe: With many high school seniors getting ready to graduate and head off to college, what advice would you give them? What’s it like to be out in the world on your own these days?

Andrew Kebe Great question – college is a lot different than high school because this is the first place that we are really on our own and completely free to make our own decisions. And there are a lot of opportunities to get involved with stuff that starts to compromise our faith. That pressure can get to the best of us and so the best advice is keep close to God in the sacraments and keep close to or find friends that are going to support you in being the kind of person that you want to be – which means that they are aiming for the same goals that you have.

Andrew Kebe Another thing is that there is so much to do and so many choices – so you really have to learn how to prioritize what are the most important things. I think that OSU, there are about 1000 student groups and there are hundreds of them that I would have loved to be involved with. So, here I would advise to get a good balance of things that are going to help you grow in your faith, things that will set you up well for your career, things that allow you to use your talents and time to help others and also some time to do something fun or new.

Face Forward: Connecting Catholic Youth Chat Tuesday ? To Andrew Kebe: Obviously SPO is a great way to stay connected to the Catholic faith while studying at college, but how else can a student stay connected?

Andrew Kebe I would again stress that keeping close to God in the sacraments is the most important thing that we will do and this really needs to be supported by spending our time around people that are going to influence us and support us in our goals. SPO is a great place to do this, but not the only place. There are lots of other good campus ministries, pro-life groups, social service groups, mission trips, etc. that help with these goals of staying close to God and surrounding ourselves with friends that support us.

Face Forward: Connecting Catholic Youth Chat Tuesday ? To Andrew Kebe: What events does SPO have coming up?

Andrew Kebe SPO has a lot of social events, retreats, sports, men’s nights and women’s nights, but I wanted to invite anyone in college or their senior year of high school to come check out our program that happens on OSU’s campus twice a month, One Gospel. This is a night of praise and worship and where someone will give a talk on the life changing message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. There is always a great crowd and we have a blast. These are on Thursdays at 8:30 – including this Thursday in the Ohio State Union in the Interfaith Room – Nicole Floetker will be speaking on faithfulness! Come check us out on facebook (Saint Paul’s Outreach – Ohio), or contact me at Andrew@spoweb.org to get on our mailing list to hear about other future events!

Katherine Fisher I love One Gospel! My first SPO event was a One Gospel and it really encouraged me to get involved with SPO and live my life fully for Christ. I can’t stress enough how great it is to have a group like SPO and a community of college students who are supporting me everyday! I hope to see some new faces on Thursday!

Face Forward: Connecting Catholic Youth Thanks Katherine!

Face Forward: Connecting Catholic Youth Chat Tuesday ? To Andrew Kebe: With SPO located at 20 campuses this fall, how can someone get SPO going at other schools?

Face Forward: Connecting Catholic Youth Chat Tuesday ? To Andrew Kebe: With SPO located at 20 campuses this fall, how can someone get SPO going at other schools?

Andrew Kebe Before SPO came to Ohio in 2004, it only existed in Minnesota. Since it has spread to these other campuses in other states. The most common way that this happens is how it happened with me in Ohio: college students come to our training program in August, the School of the New Evangelization and get practical ministry training and formation (And these are the 11 most packed days of the summer: courses, prayer, sports, BBQs) and go back to their campuses to make an impact there. What has happened is that they actually have been starting SPO chapters on their campuses! So, no matter where you are going to college, SNE would be a great end to your summer to both equip you spiritually to go back to make an impact on your campus and maybe even start planting seeds to start a SPO Chapter there someday!

Micheal Hawn I can’t wait for SNE. For the past four years, those 11 days are the most amazing days of my life.

Face Forward: Connecting Catholic Youth Chat Tuesday ? To Andrew Kebe: How would you describe SPO in one word?

Andrew Kebe Relationships

Andrew Kebe I see that more and more people are tending to have more and more superficial friendships and fewer and fewer meaningful relationships. I think that we can sometimes tend toward isolating ourselves and just hanging out with people that are like us. But learning to love and be in communion with God is really closely connected with how we can learn to love the people around us. And you can’t love someone that you aren’t close to. SPO is all about building environments where strong relationships can be built both to invite people into a fuller life of Christ, but also for us all to grow closer to him by learning to love one another.

Andrew Kebe I always think back to high school – I sponsored a child in Columbia with my lawn mowing money and it was WAY easier to love that young girl by sponsoring her than it was to love my sister that lived down the hall by treating her with respect every day!

Alicia Yunker I agree! Iron sharpens iron. When you are in relationship with holy men and women they are going help you grow deeper in relationship with the Lord!

Face Forward: Connecting Catholic Youth Great example!

Face Forward: Connecting Catholic Youth Chat Tuesday ? To Andrew Kebe: Last question … who is your favorite saint?

Andrew Kebe Can I have a tie?

Andrew Kebe St. Paul definitely – My middle name and the patron of our ministry who tirelessly worked and struggled through all sorts of trials and persecutions to preach the gospel

Face Forward: Connecting Catholic Youth You bet!

Andrew Kebe But I also really love St. Francis Xavier who heard the the call to do mission work in India and went there and was part of bringing thousands of people into the Church

Andrew Kebe They are both an inspiration to me every day

Face Forward: Connecting Catholic Youth This ends Chat Tuesday! Many thanks to Andrew Kebe for being our guest this evening! Chat Tuesday is taking a break over for Holy Week and the week after. See you back here on May 3!

Andrew Kebe Thanks again for having me on! Have a great holy week everyone and a happy Easter!

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