Madigan's Outreach Efforts Touch Students
What originally drew me to campus ministry was the opportunity to share and teach the Catholic faith on many different levels with young adults. I was able to bring my own life experiences to the students I would be serving.
Growing up, I attended Mass every Sunday with my family, received all my sacraments and went to CCD every week. As a teenager, I began searching for the meaning and purpose of life, trying to fit in and pondering the questions: Who am I? Why did God create me? Is it possible to be happy in this life? Does God really care about every aspect of my life?
What inspired me most at the time was hearing other people talk about their "relationship" with Jesus. I remember thinking, "I want to know Him and hear His voice too!" This desire changed my life. As this was taking place, I was struggling to understand what it meant to be Catholic.
Before graduating from high school, I considered leaving the Catholic Church because of my uncertainty regarding the Church's origins and my unanswered questions. There was a disconnect between my relationship with Christ and my understanding of the Church.
I decided to attend Franciscan University of Steubenville, OH-the first Catholic school I had ever attended. It was an incredible experience. I never understood the fullness, richness and beauty of the Catholic Church until this stage of my life. My faith journey was coming together.
In the fall of 1997, I was offered a position by the Archdiocese of Newark to be the lay campus minister at the Newman Center, Newark, serving Rutgers-Newark, New Jersey Institute of Technology and Essex County College. It was an exciting challenge to be working for the Church and serving in this capacity.
Members of the Archdiocese of Newark's Campus Ministry team are grateful to Archbishop John J. Myers for his ongoing support and guidance to formulate our mission. Our Web site (www.ccm-nj.com) contains the mission statement as well as the vision that we pursue. The Campus Ministry staff is composed of dynamic, dedicated priests, lay campus ministers and Sisters who strive to build a faith community. They look to do this on and off campus, where students have an opportunity to grow in their own Catholic faith and relationship with Christ. Many lives have been transformed because of this ministry.
The team covers 10 public, private and state colleges and universities and technical schools within the Archdiocese of Newark. These schools include: Rutgers-Newark, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Essex County College, University Medical and Dental School of New Jersey, Montclair State University, Ramapo College, Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, Kean University, New Jersey City University and Stevens Institute of Technology.
Many of the campuses we serve are experiencing tremendous growth in the number of students involved with Campus Ministry. We have seen an increase of students coming back to the Church and sacramental life. Faith-based activities include eucharistic adoration, weekly rosary, the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), spiritual retreats, discerning religious vocations and outreach efforts to the poor and imprisoned. Many students also are seeking to learn more about their faith and build new friendships (see related "Montapo" story on page 1).
Cardinal Newman, a convert to Catholicism, began an outreach to college students at secular colleges and universities in the 19th century. He encouraged students to truly live their Catholic faith and integrate it into their studies. He stressed that our intellectual development needs to be understood in the light of faith and reason.
Members of the Campus Ministry staff pray our students will invite Christ into every aspect of their lives. We hope they will share in the life-giving love of the Trinity, receiving all that God has for them, so they will live in freedom.