Catholic Gators Blog

Inquietum Est Cor Nostrum


October 2016

The Catholic Gators Coalition Wants YOU to Help Venezuela

As students at UF, most of us can relate to late night pajama runs to the nearest Provisions on Demand (POD) Market to grab a few “essentials,” like the totally necessary Ben and Jerry’s ice cream tubs. As residents of the United States, most of us can’t relate to waiting six hours in line outside the nearest grocery store to grab a few essentials, like a carton of milk. According to the LA Times, Venezuela has been facing an economic decline that has led to the world’s highest inflation rate. Producing domestically has become obsolete since factories have been shutting down at dramatic rates and previous successful industries such as the automobile and sugar industries have deteriorated, resulting in the loss of millions of jobs.

Who is suffering the most? Venezuela’s citizens. Basic necessities like toilet paper, sugar, and toothpaste, are experiencing shortages throughout the country, with most of these products having to be imported. However, with oil prices plummeting and productivity scarce, importing these goods has become costly and too expensive for the government to purchase internationally. Venezuelans then must wait long hours each day to even have the slightest chance at obtaining these overpriced goods most of us take for granted. The country is also facing shortages in medicine, leading to healthcare that is not only unaffordable but also unattainable. With shortages in medicine and food, crime has increased at an alarming rate, according to statistics by the OVV.

Photo by: Rufino

Mothers have to pick out their daughter’s burial dress instead of their First Communion dress. Fathers have to protect their sons from getting violently attacked after school for the shoes on their feet. The sick have to wait for medicine that may never come. The Venezuelan people are facing horrors every day that are unimaginable yet preventable.

 As residents of the United States, we have a calling to help less fortunate countries who are struggling. As students at UF, we have the opportunity to help those struggling right now. How? A campus-wide effort encompassing the Venezuelan Student Association (VENSA), PorColombia, Hispanic Student Association (HSA), Hispanic-Latino Affairs (HLA), Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), and the Catholic Gators Coalition, specifically Nueva Alianza and Restless Heart Communications, have started a campaign to donate items to Venezuela’s citizens and spread awareness on the perils Venezuelans face. The campaign is called Gators for Venezuela

This week, Gators for Venezuela Initiative will host several events that are both extremely fun and extremely charitable. On Monday throughout the day, students heard directly from members of VENSA as they tabled in Turlington to learn more about the campaign, its events, how they can contribute, and they took photos with a sign sporting the hashtag #GatorsforVZLA. That night, people went to Hurley Hall to play good games for a good cause. There was also a donation potluck where people were encouraged to bring food items to send to Venezuela. On Tuesday night, the campaign not only moved to help Venezuelans but also moved to fresh salsa beats. The featured event was Gator Salsa, where guests were encouraged to not only bring their best dancing shoes but also items to donate.

On Wednesday, students will have a range of events to attend.  Students will be able to once again speak to members of VENSA at Turlington from 10 am-2 pm. Students will also be able to munch on some chips and salsa at 8:30 pm before the Holy Hour and prayer vigil at 9:15 pm. On Thursday, the nighttime featured event will be hosted at Omi’s Tavern. All donations will go toward the Medical Drive. Live music, open mic night, great food, and the chance to help Venezuelans also experience an enjoyable, carefree night? Sign me up!

On Friday, a FIFA and Smash Bros. tournament at 5:30 pm will be held at 111 NW 16st St Apt. A-24. There will be a three-dollar entry fee for one game and five-dollar entry fee to participate in both games. On Saturday, the final event will be a pool party from 12pm to 5pm in Gainesville Place Apartment Complex. Bring donations and your swimsuits to send off the campaign in charity and style!

Photo by: tux0racer

 Venezuela needs our help, and this campaign will allow students the opportunity to aid the country’s civilians while also providing fun activities all can enjoy. The campaign encourages everyone to be #GatorsforVZLA and to start making late night runs not only for the totally “necessary” Ben and Jerry’s ice cream tubs we so direly want, but also for the extremely necessary donations the people of Venezuela so direly need.

Written By: Stephanie Sanchez

Featured Image By: Royce Abela, Restless Heart Communications


A New Meaning for “Catholic Gators”

Every morning as I walk to my 10:40am class, I pass a murky, green pond next to Little Hall.  This is no beautiful body of water, in fact I would never have paid any attention to it if it wasn’t for the strange sound I heard coming from it one day.  A deep croaking noise emanated from the water.  I stopped for a second, then simply walked on.  It was an ordinary, forgettable thing.  It became extraordinary when I noticed this sound almost every day.  Soon, I was stopping and staring at this insignificant pond daily.  No one else seemed bothered by the noise besides me.  Regardless, every time I heard the peculiar noise, my eyes would scan the area, but I could never see anything but some plants and some cloudy water.

I thought I was going crazy.  Finally, in a last ditch attempt to salvage my sanity I walked with my roommate to the pond.  When we heard the noise together she told me it was an alligator.  She said it so casually, yet I was in shock.  I didn’t know that alligators made noises and why had I never seen the alligator?  My roommate couldn’t spot the alligator either, so least I wasn’t that crazy.  Yes, this is a true story and I still hear the gator almost every day and I still look for it.  I cannot tell you why, but this evasive gator is on my mind all the time.  I have not succeeded in spotting it yet, but I know that it is there and I desperately want to find it.

Then I started thinking.  I heard a sound and I felt a presence.  I knew something was there and I sought it out constantly.  In my confusion and doubt, somebody told me the truth of where the sound came from and now I listen more closely and search more ardently.  God does the same thing for us.  Each human being on earth has the potential to know God.  God speaks to all of us.  Many of us pass by God, like I originally did with the gator.  Some search to hear the voice of God without knowing who He is.  But, once we know it is Him our search becomes guided, purposeful, and zealous.  Though we cannot see, we are not blind.  What a beautiful thing it is to know that it is God!  How important it is for us to spread His Word!

So many people go through life hearing an alligator croak here or there, never being enlightened to know what it is.  Our curiosity and anguish due to not knowing the source of the noise encourages us to search.  Searching is tedious and not easy, however, and many of us will give up.  That is why those who have the gift of this truth, must spread the Word.  We must share the joy of what our faith tells us: you are not crazy, yes there is a sound, yes I cannot see it the alligator either, but yes I am sure it is there.  Yes, as Saint Augustine says, “our hearts are restless,” and yes I crave the presence of God as much as you do, and yes we will see Him one day if we continue our search.

And yes, I got all of this from an alligator, but is it not humbling to think that God intended this metaphor to unfold before my eyes?  Originating from such a mundane thing, God told me so much and we all have the potential to see God in the ordinary things. This gave “Catholic Gators” an entirely new meaning for me.  He also reminded me of the most basic pillar of our Catholicism.  Faith.  I still haven’t found the gator, but I am pretty sure it is there.  Of course, I sometimes wonder if my mind is playing tricks on me, but don’t we all?  It is true, God reveals Himself to all of us in different ways, but having faith is fundamental in knowing that God is with us.  But, if we still have doubts, which many of us do from time to time, He might just stir your “restless heart” with an alligator croak.

Written by: Kayla Thurber, Restless Heart Communications

Photo by: Trista Rada




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