Students find ‘a sense of awe’ and ‘newness’ in returning to Mass

Ebberwein: ‘Leading up to communion, I couldn’t stop smiling’


Cameron Pascal and Christian Sponsel are among the students who found joy in attending Mass again.

By Anna Engel, Flyer Staff

Since the ban on attending church services has been lifted, Bishop Carroll students Grace Ebberwein, Christian Sponsel and Cameron Pascal  have had the privilege to participate in Mass once again.

They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder, and how applicable this expression was for the Church body throughout the stay-at-home orders due to the corona virus outbreak. After weeks of only watching Mass online, students were recently finally able to fully participate and receive the Eucharist.

“Leading up to communion, I couldn’t stop smiling. I was so happy to be back,” Ebberwein said.

This profound joy was not exclusive only to the parishioners.

Pascal said, “The priests were so happy we were back in the Church, to actually look at people and not empty pews.”

This made the parish family feel welcomed home. “That made me feel so special; we are actually needed in the Church,” added Ebberwein.

Although time apart from the sacrament was difficult, it did not stop students from persisting in the faith and holding on to Christ.

“Quarantine really forced me to pray in different ways and so I started going on walking rosaries and doing reflections more every day,” Ebberwein said.

Pascal added, “In a way, prayer became this need. I just needed that time to take a step back and just be with God. It made me realize how much more I need prayer and how much more I need that relationship in my life.”

This period of reflection revealed a “newness” when the time came to return.

“It really helped me increase my longing for the Eucharist. It helped me reflect and to lean into that desire,” Ebberwein said. 

“I realized how much it’s purely for our sake,” Sponsel explained. “He doesn’t need to come down every single Mass, but he does, and he gives that to us. It’s a sense of awe, a refresher in my mind how much he humbles himself and what a gift it is.”