We embrace fidelity to the magisterial teaching of the Catholic Church. Our mission and vision for young adults takes shape through the following areas:
• Providing spiritual, moral, and intellectual development as lived and taught by the Catholic Church
• Inviting the students into a deeper sacramental life
• Developing formation in catechetics, the spiritual life, leadership skills and peer ministry. Such formation would include leading Scripture studies, providing faith formation talks, designing a regimen of leadership formation for volunteer/intern staff and student leaders, and organizing and presenting retreats throughout the year on a variety of topics related to Catholic Christian discipleship
• Nurturing and encouraging students to prayerfully discern what state of life God is calling them to (marriage, priesthood, religious or consecrated life.) Providing ongoing support in the discernment process
• Raising consciousness within the university community concerning the issues of faith and culture in our society by cooperating with and developing programs responsive to these issues
• Developing an ecumenical/interfaith working relationship with other religious groups in Campus Ministry by meeting and visioning with them on a regular basis
• Coordinating social justice outreaches and service opportunities for the faith community
• Discerning ways of collaborating together with the faculty, staff and administration of our campus community with the intent of building up the ministry and representing the Church
• Developing effective ways to nurture and educate students on issues pertaining to the culture of life
Our presence on campuses within the four counties of the archdiocese includes Rutgers-Newark; New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT); Essex Community College, Montclair State University; Ramapo College; Stevens Institute of Technology, Fairleigh Dickinson University (Teaneck/ Hackensack Campus); Kean University; University Medical Dental School of New Jersey and New Jersey City University.
We offer an array of challenging activities and special events to engage students with the Gospel message of Jesus Christ and His Church. It is our goal to engage every student we come across on campus—from the committed Catholic to the skeptical atheist. In addition to working with Catholic students, we enjoy the opportunity to carry on dialogue with students and groups representing other world religions.
Christian leadership training is at the heart of campus ministry catechesis. Our fall and spring ministry training conferences, our winter conference on developing a prayer life, our vocations retreat in the spring, and finally our weeklong, summer-break conference on Long Beach Island all helps us to lead students toward these objectives.
We also offer students an opportunity to serve in the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Christian pastoral and evangelistic training helps our students grow in their ability to administer spiritual works of mercy such as teaching and counseling other students. Some of the campus ministry teams offer spring break and summer immersion projects in urban ministry to educate students in Catholic social teaching and to give students a chance to meet the needs of the poor.
Campus ministers at the various colleges and universities work closely with their own Catholic core group to integrate the mission and vision of Catholic Campus Ministry that is tailored to the particular needs of that campus. As campus ministers, we discern with prudence what modes of communication to use as tools of evangelization. The search for “community” is number-one need of many college students.
Having daily visibility on campus is another way we gain opportunities to connect with our students. This is a ministry of evangelization and hospitality—always inviting and encouraging students towards a deeper conversion. One example of this visibility and outreach is the arrival of two campus ministers from the Community of Apostolic Sisters of St. John, Burgundy, France at Montclair State University (see The Catholic Advocate, Sept. 5).
Archbishop John J. Myers has led the restructuring of Catholic Campus Ministry during the last nine months. Father Jack Baron, the former archdiocesan director of Catholic Campus Ministry, made great contributions to the work of Campus Ministry. Under his leadership Catholic Campus Ministry enjoyed tremendous growth in recent years.
As the Catholic Campus Ministry team pursues its vision, the Lord continues to harvest the lives of many outstanding students. One example is Rutgers-Newark alumnus Brian Honsberger, who graduated in 2006 and has since given much of his time as a volunteer campus minister with the Newman Center in the University Heights section of Newark.
Honsberger is pursuing his vision of establishing a non-profit outreach ministry to the poor. He will be work with Rutgers and NJIT students this year to launch a relief ministry for Newark's University Heights neighborhood.
Please continue to pray for our students and for all those who serve in the mission field of our college campuses.
(Editor's note: Maureen Madigan is the director of the archdiocesan Catholic Campus Ministry department. Travis Lawmaster works as the campus minister at the Newman Center at University Heights in Newark, serving Rutgers and NJIT. Madigan is based at Stevens Institute of Technology and can be reached by phone: (973) 518-2920 or via e-mail: email@example.com.)