For Runde, faith continues to grow

By Jeff Kurowski | The Compass | January 3, 2014

Participation in retreats helps Kaukauna youth discern possible vocation

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]LITTLE CHUTE — Nate Runde subscribes to a couple theories that help shape his spiritual life. The Kaukauna High School senior feels that he needs to go on at least two retreats a year as a means to refocus. He also believes in stepping out of his comfort zone once a day.

Nate Runde (Jeff Kurowski | The Compass)
Nate Runde (Jeff Kurowski | The Compass)

“I think if you get out of your comfort zone and impact someone in a certain way and have that positive experience, you are more likely to share your faith,” he said. “Sometimes that’s harder to do than other times. If (sharing your faith) is done the wrong way, it can be a negative pressure. It has to be centered on the Holy Spirit. Listen to God’s will.”

Runde has grown considerably in his faith over the past seven years. When he was in the fifth grade, his family became members of St. John Nepomucene Parish in Little Chute after previously attending an Evangelical Free Church. It marked a return to the Catholic Church for his father, Rod, who serves as a faith role model for his son.

“We have a really good relationship,” said Nate. “At around fourth or fifth grade, he started taking me hunting with him. We would sleep in the camper and would have good spiritual talks. He was a good mentor for me. We would always pray a decade of the rosary or a divine mercy chaplet. He really facilitated my prayer life and helped me learn the teachings of the church.”

Nate, the third of four sons in his family, also points to his mother, Stephanie, as a faith example. She entered the church through the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) process and is an active member of the parish, including serving as a leader for Christ Renews His Parish.

Participation in Catholic Youth Expeditions (CYE) and Steubenville Conferences has helped fulfill Nate’s retreat experience need. A moment from his first Steubenville retreat in St. Paul, Minn., as a freshman helped him discover the Eucharist more deeply.

“We were doing active adoration,” he explained. “We had music going and the priest was processing around. He stopped in front of our pew and I was praying, ‘Lord, show me your heart, just show me.’ As he came by, the priest held Jesus. I got chills down my spine. My prayer changed to ‘Jesus take my heart’ instead of ‘Jesus show me your heart.’”

During a Steubenville retreat to St. Louis, Nate served as a core team member. The team met for formation prior to the trip to discuss ways to evangelize.

“We tried to engage people who maybe were not into it as much,” he said. “We just tried to bring people in. God had given me joy throughout the retreat and I tried to share that joy with people. It was mostly about reaching out.”

Nate also serves as a leader of Edge (Eternally Driven by God’s Example) with Aaron Hietpas and Alex Hietpas, a ministry by teens for teens that meets on Sunday evenings at St. John Nepomucene Church. He met Aaron at his first Steubenville Conference.

“We sat next to each other on the bus,” explained Nate. “We just started connecting on a spiritual level. We developed this friendship. I remember how this kid was so excited to be there. He was high-fiving people and was so happy. He really demonstrated to me how to be in love with God.”

Like many high school students, Nate balances a busy schedule, including athletics. Unfortunately, he missed the football season due to shoulder surgery.

“I filmed and prayed with the guys before games,” he said. “It was a good role for me to have, not being able to play. It was God’s will. I ended up being at peace with it.”

Nate is also a powerlifter and is hoping to advance to state this year in track and field as a member of Kaukauna’s 4 x 200-meter relay team. He is also a member of the National Honor Society.

Next fall, he plans to enter the seminary. Nate began discerning the priesthood after his first Steubenville retreat experience.

“I’m at the point where ‘God, I’m going, but if you don’t want me to go, you have to send me a huge sign,’” he said. “If I become a priest, that’s God’s will and I’m super excited to do it.”

Fr. Daniel Schuster, vocation director, and Fr. Quinn Mann, associate vocation director and founder and spiritual director of CYE, have served as positive role models in discernment, he said.

“(Fr. Schuster) really helps me with any fears,” said Nate. “He helps me calm down. He tells me, ‘You are alright, keep moving forward.’ Fr. Quinn is really helpful and a cool guy to hang out with. You can see Christ in them. I can go to them with spiritual questions.”

Nate admits that he struggles with his faith at times, but he will continue to put his trust in God.

“The more I dive into the church, the more I love it,” he said. “The fullness of truth is right here. You’ve got Jesus.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_message color=”alert-info”]Your Catholic Neighbor

Name: Nate Runde

Parish: St. John Nepomucene, Little Chute

Age: 18

Favorite saint: Pier Giorgio Frassati

Words to live by: “Pray, hope and don’t worry.” — St. Padre Pio[/vc_message][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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