Guest reflection:
Summit renews ‘confidence in God’s plan for me’

Detail from "St. Peter Walking on Water" by Alessandro Allori, circa 1590. (Public domain)

Attending the annual Summit conference hosted by the Diocese of Richmond has deeply influenced my walk with the Lord over the past three years. Each year, I have looked forward to the messages, time in fellowship, confession, and my favorite part – the remarkably beautiful Mass with the priests and seminarians.

This year, in particular, the theme of the weekend, “Take Courage,” especially touched my heart. As a senior who has had an incredible college experience at Longwood University, the thought of stepping into the unknown in a few months is frightening. However, this weekend served as a perfect reminder that all I need to do is have courage and trust in the Lord.

[Keynote speaker] Michael Gormley’s message about Matthew 14 resonated with me deeply. He urged us to, like Peter, take courage when stepping out of our boat of comfort and familiarity. Jesus says “Take courage! It is I. Do not be afraid” (Mt 14:27). When Peter stepped out and thought he was going to sink, Jesus reached out his hand to catch him and said, “Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt?” Just like Peter, we have to have courage to step out of our safe boat and out into what the Lord has for us, even if we’re afraid.

Similarly, Dr. Maura McFadden’s breakout session further emphasized the importance of courage in embracing the unknown. She defined courage as the willingness to endure suffering, pain, or fear for a higher good, because you know that good is difficult to achieve without the power of our Savior. She highlighted the significance of vulnerability before God, urging us to lay our fears and doubts at his feet so we can fully receive him and step into his will for us.

Matthew 6:33 says “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you.” When we turn our eyes to Jesus, there’s no season, situation, or place known or unknown that he won’t use for our good and his glory.

I’m leaving this weekend with a new sense of confidence in God’s plan for me.

As a busy college student starting this last semester, I have been caught in to-do lists and résumé qualifications, wondering what’s to come after I turn my tassel. At Summit, I had a beautiful encounter with Jesus and am now wondering why I ever doubted.

God hasn’t brought me this far just to leave me; his plans for me are greater than I could ever imagine! I’ve seen it and I believe it. While it’s hard to leave my safety boat of familiarity, Jesus will extend his hand to me as I step out and catch me if I fall, just like he did for Peter. All he’s asking me to do is take courage.

I’m so thankful for the way Summit has impacted my faith over the years. Each year, it lead me closer to God, my ministry, and allowed me to meet so many others! I leave with a renewed knowledge and purpose and am eager to take the newfound fire for the Lord back to my campus.


Rachel Kraft is a senior at Longwood University, majoring in elementary education. She is the president of Longwood’s Catholic Campus Ministry.

Read the full report from Summit and the Diocesan Youth Conference.


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