09:46 AM

Joyful Christian Witnesses: UST Students Ailyn Carbajal and Oscar Luzardo Participate in Paradisus Dei’s Joyful Mysteries Video Series

Campus Minister Pat Gunning University of St. Thomas-Houston's Campus Minister Patrick Gunning had an epiphany. After connecting with a local company, Paradisus Dei, Inc., to utilize their Mysteries of the Rosary - Sorrowful Mysteries video series for his Lenten Busy Student Retreat, he noticed the student testimonials in the podcasts mainly featured people from the Diocese of Steubenville, Ohio, and students from the Franciscan University in Steubenville.

That realization led Gunning to offer the witness of UST students for the planned Mystery of the Rosary – Joyful Mysteries video series. Paradisus Dei’s answer was a resounding "Yes!"

Ailyn CarbajalMark Hartfiel, vice president for Paradisus Dei, Inc.and host of the series, coordinated with two students, Ailyn Carbajal, a graduate student graduating in May 2024 with a BBA/MBA in Accounting, and Oscar Luzardo, a senior graduating in December with a B.A. in Psychology, to participate and evangelize in the upcoming Joyful Mysteries series.

Summing up the experience, Gunning said, "It is especially inspiring for UST students to see fellow students in this evangelistic effort," Gunning said. "Knowing that our students are being viewed via the Internet at all ends of the earth to make disciples is a beautiful testament of their faith and the faith community we are building here in Campus Ministry and at UST."

Oscar LuzardoLuzardo was humbled by the experience to “share a treasure of the Catholic faith for the greater good.” During filming, Hartfiel asked him three questions:

1)      What are your experiences in life from praying the rosary?

2)      What does it mean to be joyful?

3)      How does meditating on the joyful mysteries, the rosary, establish a joyful attitude in your life?

About the Joyful Mysteries Video Series:

Paradisus Dei describes the video series “Mysteries of the Rosary (The Joyful Mysteries” is a seven-episode series highlighting the Mysteries in the life of Christ as outlined in the decades of the Rosary. Mysteries of the Rosary integrates deeply reflective insights into the life of Christ, theological truths, and captivating stories with breathtaking scenery, illuminating sacred art, and inspiring music. By filming on location in the Holy Land, our filmmakers aspire to make the Rosary come alive in the hearts and minds of the viewers. Encounters with Christ in the episodes and discussions will help lead to deeper encounters with Him in personal prayer and contemplation."

Episode 1: The Fullness of Joy was released earlier in September on YouTube or the Paradisus Dei video platform here. Each video lasts approximately 30 minutes.

Carbajal appears in Episodes 1 and 2 and Luzardo appears in Episode 7.

In Episode 1, Carbajal comments on our society's need for instant gratification and the joy of waiting for Jesus. Host Hartfiel talks about the need to slow down and be still in this passage. 

"Our spiritual lives depend on it… Hey Siri, Hey Alexa, play ‘Lord, I Need You by Matt Maher’…

Hartfiel asks his friends, "What is the epitome of Instant gratification in our culture? And they respond, "It is posting a picture to social media, and if they don't get enough likes fast enough, they delete it. They need instantaneous results. It is safe to say we have been duped. We are addicted to pleasure at the expense of joy. The need for instant gratification is the greatest tragedy that has infiltrated our prayer life and relationship with God. We treat him like a vending machine: put your dollar in, say your prayer, and now God you answer, and yet, the scripture tells us, "Those who wait for the Lord, renew their strength…"

Hartfiel says, "The Rosary is an antidote, a cure, a stillness, a silence, a rewiring of our hearts and minds. We no longer seek pleasure for ourselves, but we set our mind on things above, and there we will find unending joy."

Carbajal comments, "Waiting isn't fun. You can pray for so long for things, but sometimes it doesn't come. But waiting on Jesus is worth the wait. I think now people like instant gratification, but people forget that that feeling is temporary, it is never lasting, and they are always longing for something more … but Jesus, with his love and joy, is forever, the same Jesus who died on the cross is the same God today."

The source of joy is Jesus Christ himself. We aspire to rediscover the power of the Rosary in light of scripture. We would enter Christ's mysteries and let them transform us from the inside out. The greatest fruit of our contemplation will be our transformation. And as we experience this joy, we will go out into the world and share this joy with other people.

Watch the Complete Series on Saturday, Oct. 7

Please visit https://www.therosaryseries.com/ to watch Episode 1 NOW and sign up for full access when the seven-episode series is released on Sat., Oct. 7, the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.

Joyful Mysteries Series:

Episode 1  |The Fullness of Joy

Episode 2 The Annunciation

Episode 3 | The Visitation

Episode 4 | The Nativity of Our Lord

Episode 5 | The Presentation in the Temple

Episode 6 | The Finding in the Temple

Episode 7 |The Sweet Exchange

"The joy of the Lord is my strength." (Nehemiah 8:10)