'Fiat' provides faith, fellowship at O'Connell

Members of Fiat, a club for young women at Bishop O'Connell High School in Arlington, strive to inspire their peers to follow Christ according to the Blessed Mother's humble example. Through Fiat, girls come together to experience the joy of prayer, friendship and community and are encouraged to live by Mary's model of virtue to strengthen their relationships with Jesus.

"Through Fiat I have not only been introduced to amazing young women, but I have also expanded my knowledge and appreciation of Catholicism by going to a bioethics conference and the Mount 2000 retreat," said junior Caroline Mitchell. "Fiat has given me the opportunity to strengthen my relationship with Christ by allowing Him to be more active in my everyday life."

Fiat also seeks to witness for Christ. Group discussions take place, stories are shared and meetings conclude with a prayer. Junior Kristina Colevas said, "We are able to learn about our peers and their experiences with Christ. I have loved the group and gotten to know people I wouldn't have known otherwise."

Even in small ways, the girls demonstrate their love of Christ. "I love Fiat. I have not only grown in my faith but have grown in it with a great group of girls," said junior Mary Frances Vorbach.

Fiat is truly blessed by the adult role models, as well. Anne-Marie Funk and Immaculate Heart of Mary Sister Tracey Uphoff exemplify their commitment to Christ by encouraging the girls to follow Jesus in truth and virtue. Funk inspires the girls with stories of faith, and Sister Tracey enlightens Fiat members on vocations.

"Ms. Funk and Sister Tracey help guide and show us all what it's like to live out faith in our daily lives," said senior Julia Bailey. "They add enthusiasm and enjoyment to the faith, just as Mary had."

"I am always inspired by the young women of Fiat," said Funk. "Whether we are hiking, praying, going to a local parish for Mass, at Sunday brunch, ice skating, on retreat or just catching up in the middle of a busy day, they make my day every day."

Sister Tracey also added her praise: "When I first came to Fiat back in October, I thought that I would come once, talk to the group and then carry on with the rest of the school year. After that first meeting, I fell in love with the group and wanted to take a larger role in it. … I've learned so much from the Fiat girls ... much more than I could ever give in return."

Though many will encounter difficulties in life, Mary's fiat encourages everyone to take up their cross and follow Christ. As St. John Paul II said, "Like Mary, you must not be afraid to allow the Holy Spirit to help you become intimate friends of Christ."

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2015