Ben Franzone ’26
Agape Latte is an event held by the Student Government Association (SGA) to foster conversations in the community about faith.
The first of several Agape Latte events was held on Tuesday, November 8th at 7:30 PM at Cool Beans and was organized by SGA Director of Spiritual Life Edwin Ryan ‘25.
“Agape Latte is actually taken from Boston College… It’s been a tradition there for a long time that they take in some faculty or staff member and they tell a story about faith to students,” Ryan said.
The event, which originally began in 2006 at Boston College out of an initiative called The Church in the 21st Century, has been extended to several Jesuit institutions including Holy Cross, and usually takes place over coffee and pastries.
“I think that this particular initiative… that having people tell their stories of deep faith is what [Boston College] thought could get people excited [about the Church] again… it’s the faith journey that we are all on together,” Professor Peter Fritz said.
Both Fritz and Ryan noted the importance of bringing together everyone’s faith journey in a way that highlights the uniqueness of individuals’ faith stories in the church.
“When [speakers] come in, we usually have them tell a story about their faith in some way that it can pertain to college students so it’s more relevant to what everyone else is experiencing,” Ryan said.
College is often a major time of transition in people’s lives, as Ryan noted. With a newfound independence, students are often able to make choices for themselves independent of family and friends back home. Ryan thinks that this independence allows Agape Latte to have an even greater impact on the faith journey of students at Holy Cross.
“Going through the period of transition and having that new independence… presents a nice opportunity for something like Agape Latte to actually impact the way students participate,” Ryan said.
This year, Ryan expects to revamp the Agape Latte speaker series after COVID-19 limited their ability last year. He plans on having three speakers each semester, the first of which was hosted by Professor Peter Fritz from the theology department who is currently teaching two sections of his Montserrat class: Theology of Making.
Ryan noted, “From being in his Montserrat last year… I knew [Professor Fritz] was someone that spoke well and I knew that he could relate to college students in a very unique way that not all professors [can].”
When selected to speak at the event, Fritz said he wanted to share a story that college students might be able to relate to or at least able to take some positive values out of his conversation.
“I brainstormed a few different stories and I wanted to say something that was personal to me that I thought would be helpful and relatable to [college students],” Fritz said.
Fritz was able to look back to his earlier years of development and particularly noted his art teacher who he had taken lessons from as a kid and an adolescent as being someone who had a profound impact on him.
He continued, “I remember this story that she told me about the artistic life as relating to God… I thought that telling a story that can foreground growth, development, and discernment is really important for [college students].”
Fritz promptly noted his favorite part of the event was the question-and-answer portion following his talk. He loved having the time to connect with his audience and build a deeper understanding of them.
“First of all, it’s a real gift to a speaker to receive questions back, when you’ve said something, because it shows that not only did people hear you, but they listened and it moved something within them and they were curious,” Fritz said.
One question in particular from a student struck Fritz, noting “[the student said] in college we sometimes try being someone that maybe we don’t know if we quite are and we try and figure out what our identity is.”
Fritz responded, “I urge patience with the whole [college] process because it’s important. Even trying on something new is not fake, it’s part of growing. When you try out different roles or you try on different cloaks, and you see what comes of it,” he said.
Ryan made note of what he most remembered from Fritz’s talk saying, “the thing I enjoyed the most about the event was how similar it was to the way he teaches his class… through the story of his art teacher and learning how to be an artist himself, was really eye-opening to me and it made everything else that I learned last year and all the ways he approached classes last year click,” Ryan said.