Formation in Faith

May 29, 2024
Purcell Marian religion teacher Joey Groeber and Class of 2024 graduate Carson Hall.

Senior year of high school is full of decisions for students. What’s their next step? Where should they attend college? What will they study? For one Purcell Marian senior, the final year on Hackberry was highlighted by an entirely different kind of choice.

Carson Hall ‘24 made the significant decision to be confirmed in his Catholic faith, a choice influenced by a journey of personal and spiritual growth at Purcell Marian. Despite having attended Catholic grade school and receiving the sacraments of Baptism, Reconciliation, and First Communion, he found himself disconnected from his faith.

Now, after graduating as part of the Class of 2024 and on the cusp of embarking on his college journey, Carson reflects on the transformative experiences and renewed connections given to him at the Castle that have reignited his relationship with God. Through prayer, personal exploration, and the supportive guidance of his teacher and Confirmation sponsor, Mr. Joey Groeber, Carson embraced this sacrament with a profound sense of purpose and commitment as he transitions into a new chapter of his life.

Carson and Mr. Groeber sat down to answer some questions about their journey together.

Q: As a senior in high school, what led you to decide to be confirmed in your Catholic faith as you approach graduation, and starting college? Why now?

Carson: “I went to a Catholic grade school and had gone through other sacraments, Baptism, Reconciliation, First Communion. In my 8th grade year, I was on track to get Confirmed, and because of a few different situations in my life, I really lost touch with God and did not make my Confirmation with my classmates.”

Q: What has the time between 8th grade and now done for your relationship with God to prepare you for this next step?

Carson: “I am pretty happy that I waited until now to get a better relationship with God through prayer and personal exploration before I made that decision. I had a good friend who invited me to Mass a few times at the beginning of my senior year and I attended Confession for the first time in years, and it just opened a whole new realm of emotions and reflection. I wanted more. I wanted to be Confirmed before I left home for college to secure my faith as I step into a new world and to keep me grounded.”

Q: How did this connection come about?

Mr. Groeber: “I teach Senior World Religions and met Carson on the first day of school and he’s very bright. But, I felt like Carson and I connected during Kairos [the senior retreat]. There were lots of good conversations and reflections there. During break time, I noticed Carson was reading a Buddhist mantra book, and I was so intrigued. It clicked for me that Carson really cares about introspective thought and developing his own mind, body and spirit.”

Carson: “There was a reflection moment and activity on Kairos, and I had a conversation with Mr. Groeber where I realized that

God’s grace was not limited and at any moment, I can step back into that grace.”

Q: What does being a sponsor mean?
Mr. Groeber: "Being a sponsor for any candidate is a huge honor that I don’t take lightly. It’s a lifelong commitment, just like being a godfather. For me and Carson to walk together, to support him in anything he needs spiritually, as a religion teacher, it’s awesome and I’m excited about being a part of his spiritual life.

Every sacrament is the opportunity to experience the grace of God and He is bound to show up in these sacraments.  Getting to walk Carson through this, and be there for him, is truly awesome, and a great opportunity for me to minister for God”

Carson: “That is something I really appreciate. Having someone to walk with, I can’t say how thankful I am to have a role model like that.”

Q: What advice would you give someone considering exploring their faith more deeply?

Mr. Groeber: “Don’t be afraid of the vastness that God has to offer. Let God lead you. Give Him that small yes every morning.”

Carson is a member of our first IB Diploma Candidate Cohort. He will attend the International University of Monaco next year to study International Business.

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