By Abby Samaha, Clarion Herald Contributing writer
Every Wednesday when the 10:30 a.m. bell rings, the students of Mount Carmel Academy embark on an encounter with Christ in one of the most intimate ways – through their “Come, Lord Jesus” sessions.
Once inside a designated classroom, students are greeted by their leader with a candle, a Bible and a smile. Their only worry: What if they run out of time before they talk about everything?
The Come, Lord Jesus program at Mount Carmel Academy is a biweekly gathering of small groups who read, analyze and apply the upcoming Sunday’s Gospel to their busy lives.
It is not only a pause in their responsibilities and worries, but it is also a time of intimacy with their classmates and with God.
Throughout her five years at Mount Carmel, each student will get to experience the Gospel through the perspective of someone new.
Eighth, 10th, 11th and 12th graders are led by either one of 43 faculty members or one of 48 community members who volunteer their time to spread the Good News.
Freshmen are led by 104 members of the senior class. These senior leaders are divided among several small groups and seek to help their “little sisters” discover the subtle yet substantial presence of Jesus in their lives.
The atmosphere of a Come, Lord Jesus session is unique. In each room sits a small circle of people, Bibles in hand, surrounding a candle, which represents the ever-present light of Christ.
Each week, sessions begin with prayers of thanksgiving/petition during which the girls and their leaders are invited to share their triumphs and troubles with one another.
Continuing in prayerful contemplation, the group reads the Gospel aloud, and then a conversation – guided by discussion questions and activities – encourages students to discuss the importance of the Gospel in their individual lives.
The communal worship that happens within that small circle ultimately becomes a catalyst for friendships rooted in the spirit of Christ.
School weeks are often buried in stress, which can distract students from remembering what matters most. Come, Lord Jesus sessions ensure that the girls at Mount Carmel Academy never forget who grounds them.
The discoveries and memories made during each 45-minute session help provide the peace each girl needs and yearns for.
Come, Lord Jesus is more than the discussion of a Gospel reading – it is a judgment-free environment where real problems are solved and where young women gain the confidence they need to take on daily challenges. The beauty of this program is that it seeks to bring Jesus to the forefront of every girl’s mind to help her discover her unique role in the body of Christ.
Abby Samaha is a senior at Mount Carmel Academy in New Orleans.