The Mission and Philosophy of Campus Ministry
Campus Ministry is not a social club or organization, but, rather, we are a Leadership Lab forming our students to serve as leaders in Church and Society. Campus Ministry, of course, encompasses the entire campus community and involves a myriad of community and individual services and initiatives, ranging from daily liturgy and the sacrament of reconciliation to appropriate devotional and service opportunities and faith based confidential counseling with members of the campus community as requested.
Campus Ministry is informed by the Documents of Vatican II on The Church, the Liturgy and the Laity, and, of course, the documents of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops on Lay Leadership and Young Adult Ministry, including: “Sons and Daughters of Light” and “Empowered by the Spirit” which serve as treasured foundational sources and guideposts on the journey into fuller integration of life and faith.. Certainly, too, our efforts in Campus Ministry are guided by our own University Mission and Core Values and we are guided spiritually by Salesian, Nazareth and Ignatian Spiritual traditions. All of the above documents and others which more fully explicate Catholic Social Teaching, such as Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Exhortation “Christifideles Laici” Christ’s Faithful Lay People and Pope Francis’ most recent Encyclical “Laudato Si” On Care for Our Common Home, serve as a solid basis for prayer, reflection, discussion, planning and implementation of Campus Ministry initiatives.
Our highest outcome, in truth, is a combination of spiritual formation and leadership development within members of the Campus Ministry community. As stated above, Campus Ministry itself exists as a Leadership Lab for students to be formed spiritually and experientially as leaders through actually leading virtually all of the campus ministry activities and initiatives with proper preparatory mentoring and coaching from Fr. Mac New and volunteers from faculty, administrators, professional staff and dynamic young alumni who support Campus Ministry. Campus Ministry initiatives and weekly meetings are open to all members of the campus community and these activities include everything from daily mass and the sacrament of reconciliation to the Bear Mountain Hike trip with mass on the summit of Bear Mountain, the trip to Wash., D.C. to participate in the National March for Life, on campus Busy Persons’ Retreats and off campus service projects in support of Catholic Social Teaching and the New Evangelization. Every Campus Ministry initiative is intended and directed to the glory of God, love of neighbor and the care of our common home in fulfillment of the six dimensions of campus ministry articulated in the Catholic Bishops’ Pastoral Letter on Campus Ministry “Empowered by the Spirit.”
The above Campus Ministry activities and weekly meetings are posted on the University web page under Student Life and on the Facebook Campus Ministry web page. In addition, frequent e-mail announcements are sent as appropriate, to the faculty-staff list, and to both to the Campus Ministry membership list and to the entire student body through Student Activities via the Director to publicize Campus Ministry initiatives. In 2012 the Campus Ministry program was blessed to have been featured with the cover story on the University’s own “Holy Family” magazine. Campus Ministry also takes responsibility to provide the “Mission Matters” column in the “Tri-Lite” University newspaper.
The Campus Ministry community runs as a collaborative community in which members are encouraged to offer suggestions about possible initiatives for the Campus Ministry team meetings and activities. We begin from the above identified formal Church documents in shaping the Campus Ministry program and desired outcomes and we then proceed with candid, open input from community members at all levels, as judged feasible and practicable for us to attempt. In truth, we are unable to pursue every suggestion, so we try to collaboratively distill incoming opportunities in terms of what is honestly manageable for us to implement. Members of the Campus Ministry community are members of various faith traditions and this diversity ensures suggested input from Catholic and non-Catholic media sources, and, of course, we consider suggestions based on successful initiatives at other colleges and universities, beginning with our SEPCHE core and moving outward.
Campus Ministry receives ongoing weekly verbal feedback and input from all levels of membership at our weekly meetings. We do also ask for written feedback from participants in campus ministry activities and initiatives with some frequency. Some of the instruments used to solicit input and feedback are informal instruments designed, in effect, for rapid dissemination and collection in such a way as not to be disruptive for students and others who gather for given activities or meetings. Other instruments for assessment invite more lengthy and reflective feedback in written form and some of these more formal instruments are designed in collaboration with the University Office of Institutional Research, our on-site experts in data gathering and processing. The challenge is ALWAYS to strive to gather data for assessment from participants in the least obtrusive way such that the process of requesting assessment data from participants does not, in itself, become disruptive to the spiritual, educational, professional and social goals of the given activity itself.
In truth, several of our Campus Ministry initiatives and activities are paramount to our Catholic identity and to our Mission and Core Values. Certainly it is essential that we offer the sacraments of the Church daily. Certainly it is essential that as a Catholic University we participate in the annual National March For Life in Washington, D.C. On campus, our weekly meetings foster and build community among students and our on campus activities and initiatives generate lively interest and dynamic participation. The “Jesus All Nighter” is eagerly anticipated by members of the campus community at all levels. The night rosary evenings have grown into enjoyable evenings of prayer in fall and spring semesters. Faculty retreats have been very well received over the years. In effect, each Campus Ministry meeting and initiative proclaims and celebrates our Catholic identity as well as our Mission and Core Values. The challenge, across the campus community, is to achieve similar commitment to our Mission and Core Values at every level and from every organization and from every component of the University community.