Prayer and community play vital roles in the formation of nearly one dozen Christ the King members now living in the former Phi Delta Theta house.

“The desire here is to live, to ask questions about our lives that might provoke us and help us to aim for greatness,” CTK campus minister and house director Adam Trufant said.

The fraternity house became available after Phi Delta Theta was removed from campus following the death of freshman Max Gruver last fall.

Trufant and CTK Rev. Andrew Merrick had prayed for a home for students to live in community before Gruver’s tragic passing. The national Phi Delta Theta chapter expressed some interest in CTK’s presence in the house and after following up with the owners, the new residents moved into the home in August.

Now three months into the project, Gruver’s memory remains close to their hearts.

“We pray often for Max,” Trufant said. “We did not seize an opportunity that was presented as a result of Max’s passing. These intentions to have a house and a community existed beforehand.”

In keeping Gruver’s spirit alive, the residents look to the building’s namesake, Karol Wojtyla – better known as Saint John Paul II – for guidance.

Accounting and entrepreneurial senior Daniel Ellender said living in the Saint John Paul II house has helped him dive into his faith life through prayer and journaling.

“It’s been a great environment for me personally just to develop personally as a man and to be surrounded by people who support me in my endeavors,” Ellender said.

Ellender said he has also lent a hand to improve the LSU community.

He’s specifically taken an intentional approach to Greek life.

“Even in some of these fraternities and sororities, I have a lot of friends in them who are in leadership positions,” Ellender said. “I’m really close to them, and I’m able to connect with them on a real level.”

The students also get together once a week for a family meal where they catch up and share about their lives.

For Trufant, he wants to continue to make improvements and tweak the overall vision of the house.

“I think the goal of this house isn’t merely to provide a place for guys to sleep and rest, but truly to examine the value of our words, our lives, our actions to see what we can do to surrender that to God’s will so he can truly help make us great,” Trufant said.

CTK’s sublease is set to expire at the end of 18 months, but the church plans to renew it if things continue to improve.