The Division of Volunteer Efforts presented the “Are You Ready?” event, featuring a speech from a former NFL all-pro player about how to get into spiritual shape on Sept. 29 in the McNulty Amphitheater.
Former New Orleans Saints player Danny Abramowicz spoke about his career and battle with alcoholism.
He informed students that although he was always a spiritual person, growing up with the fame and glory of his career caused him to push away not only from his family, but from Christ.
After being traded to the San Francisco 49ers, Abramowicz said that by “worldly standards” he was a success because he had money, a house, cars and popularity.
Yet, while he was still a practicing Catholic, Abramowicz said he mostly went to church hung over and sat near the back for an easy exit.
“I woke up one morning, I’d been out, and something was different,” Abramowicz said. “This time I looked into the mirror into my eyes down to my soul and I said, ‘I hate this person, if this is life, life’s not worth living, this is the big shot, you’re on a roll, the guy who had it all.’ I could not stand myself.”
Abramowicz explained how in this moment he knew he needed help, which he sought through the Church, prayer and AA meetings.
Growing in faith, Abramowicz said he learned how to do things for Jesus instead of himself.
Abramowicz stressed the importance of prayer, Eucharist, Confession and chastity to students.
He said that it is essential learn how to not be selfish and to do things for Jesus instead of one’s self.
He ended his speech by describing his experience of having a near fatal heart attack, and how having Jesus in his heart made him ready to accept his own death.
“Did I want to go? No. But I was ready,” he said. “You never know, if that was you on that table, are you ready?”
The reaction among students who attended Abramowicz’s speech was in general quite positive.
Elizabeth Lange, a varsity Catholic missionary with Campus Ministry said she thought Danny did a great job.
“(Abramowicz) really addressed the issues that college students are facing today in a real and practical way that they can take into their daily lives,” she said.
Sophomore Luca Battaglia who is majoring in Catholic studies and philosophy said he thought Abramowicz addressed the issue on how to be a Catholic man.
“It was a very good review of what I have to do as a student to keep on living my faith, and it really encouraged me and made me excited,” Battaglia said.
Sophomore Martin Hipkins, a student in the St. Andrews College Seminary, said that Abramowicz’s willingness to share his experiences has encouraged him to open up more to his own friends.
“I think this is one of the few people who isn’t afraid to tell it how it is, who isn’t afraid to meet college students where they are,” Hipkins said.
Abramowicz was asked to speak at Seton Hall by Campus Minister David Peterson who saw his previous speech at a Newark men’s conference last semester.
“I think he’s a different approach then what students usually hear on the Catholic faith. I think he is coming from a sports background which gives him some credibility to students,” Peterson said.
Abramowicz played in the NFL from 1967 to 1974. He now discusses Catholic issues for men on the EWTN series, “Crossing The Goal.”
“It’s in the area of men because of my sports background I can relate,” Abramowicz said. “I felt called and I’m not afraid to speak up for the Lord, I’m not ashamed of it.”
Carolyn Maso can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.