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Editor’s Note by Emma Newgarden

Welcome back from winter break to the entire Seton Hall community! We at The Heart of the Hall hope that this time off provided a joyous holiday season and a well-deserved rest; already, spring break seems just around the corner. My co-editor-in-chief, Bridgette Favale, and I are so honored and excited to be taking on leadership of Heart of the Hall this semester. For me at least, the new role has been a humbling experience, realizing the amount of hard work and dedication needed on all sides to run a publication. We look forward to continuing to build the publication so that it can grow in its mission to touch hearts and minds at Seton Hall with the truth and beauty of the Catholic faith.

Already, steps taken toward this goal of growth have been fruitful. We are proud to introduce Jessica Kelly, our social media chair who will be taking charge of the publication’s FaceBook page and new Instagram account @shuheartofthehall.  Additionally, several staff members attended the annual Augustine Collective conference this January and returned with more ideas and inspiration to further develop the publication’s scope of influence.

Clearly, the winter thus far has been extremely busy and exciting for Heart of the Hall. In a way, this mirrored the busy-ness and joviality of the winter calendar- a sequence of holidays crammed into a few short months, each demanding its own slew of celebrations. Many of us likely spent winter break bouncing between gatherings of friends, relatives, and various social groups.

Still, in the lulls between parties, there are also pockets of reflective down-time that only the season of winter provides- moments when the pensive stillness of the world outside settles over our minds like a blanket of quiet snow. The cold that drives us to huddle indoors likewise draws us to wonder, what else, besides bad weather and festive occasions, brings people together in fellowship? What more is there that turns a meeting of individuals into a true community?

Certainly, for our writers, winter has proved to be thought-provoking in this vein. The conclusion drawn from their collected work is quite fitting given our most recent winter holiday- that it is love, love for God, our neighbors, and ourselves, that binds society together, regardless of changes and developments over time. In fact, “love” underlies all this issue’s prominent themes, those of thoughtfulness, continuity despite change, and awareness of the simple things in life that often hold the most meaning.

First, Sarah opens with a discussion on mindfulness in speech as a form of loving others, calling college students to resist the temptation to gossip from “behind the screen” that modernity has enabled, and instead reclaim the purity of our childhood in awareness of words’ power to hurt or to heal.

Next, Jess takes us right to the source with a Valentine’s Day special. Tracing this holiday’s development from its Christian origins to its present-day stereotypes, she reminds us where the “true love” we all seem to search for can always be found.

Following that, Joe gives us the inside scoop on Seton Hall’s very own Chapel of the Immaculate Conception, in honor of its recent celebration of 150 years since construction. An accompanying interview with Dr. Quinn, conducted by Bridgette, offers his further insight on the chapel’s history and continuing role as the epicenter of the university’s spiritual and community life.

Finally, Jose reflects on his exploration of the relationship between faith and science, and through recounting his own personal journey, forges a path for those struggling with the same long-perceived conflict to find clarity and deepen in love for the one who loves us.

Thank you for sticking with Heart of the Hall as our own theme of “change and continuity” plays out. Bridgette and I cannot wait to share what this publication has in store, striving to remain, as ever, a beating heart for the Seton Hall community. We  hope you enjoy this edition and stay tuned for our next issue coming this Spring.

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