Fr Jerome Tupa, OSB, Chaplain and Director
The mission of Saint John's Campus Ministry is to present, foster and nourish the faith dimension of faculty, staff and students so that they are better prepared to witness to the kingdom of truth in the world. Furthermore, we are called to challenge the University to be true to itself and its mission in the light of our Christian, Catholic, Benedictine tradition.
So as to enable our students to achieve a "deeper understanding of their faith," we seek to enhance the three essential dimensions of Campus Ministry today: the spiritual, the ecumenical, and the evangelical. These three dimensions will manifest themselves in six discernable tasks:
FORMING THE FAITH COMMUNITY
Campus Ministry must actively call all members to share their various gifts and strengths with each other. Forming the faith community touches all members including students, administrators, faculty, staff, and the local community.
EDUCATING FOR JUSTICE
We aim to make the struggle for social justice an integral part of our mission by working within the academic structure to encourage courses, workshops, and special events that call attention to the plight of the disadvantaged and the oppressed of the world.
APPROPRIATING THE FAITH
As Campus Ministers, we accept the responsibility of promoting the richness of the Catholic tradition thereby empowering members of our community to achieve a deeper appreciation of their faith and its expression.
FACILITATING PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT
Recognizing that our relationship to God is of utmost importance, Campus Ministry will promote growth within and outside the academic setting encouraging broader vision, deeper insight, and active commitment to the common good.
FORMING THE CHRISTIAN CONSCIENCE
We intend to enhance the spiritual well-being of our community by teaching, encouraging, and modeling a gospel-centered morality that seeks to guide our faith community in making sound, value-laden decisions.
DEVELOPING LEADERS FOR THE FUTURE
Our ministry to this community will include the task of forming leaders for the church and the world who respect the tradition of our faith and the inherent goodness of all life.
What We Do
Campus Ministry is responsible for planning and implementing the primary student liturgy of the week, which is the 9:00pm Sunday Eucharist in the Abbey Church. This includes the training of liturgical ministers: musicians, cantors, lectors, Eucharistic ministers, and hospitality ministers, as well as the organization and formation of a student liturgy committee. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is always available by private appointment or a half hour prior to the Sunday evening Eucharist. In addition, communal reconciliation liturgies with opportunity for individual confessions are held during Advent and Lent.
Campus Ministry hosts a variety of retreats each year including the Couples Retreat, the Men’s Retreat and the Outdoor Retreat. We also serve as a resource for those who wish to plan their own retreats for clubs, residential floors or prayer groups.
Each semester campus ministry sponsors speakers to address particular topics of relevance to the young Christian.
Justice and Service
In collaboration with Campus Ministry at the College of Saint Benedict, we sponsor the Alternative Spring Break Service Trips with over 20 different programs around the country. The VISTO (Volunteers In Service To Others) program advisor is a member of our staff. Opportunities also exist for on-going service and justice projects such as the Urban Plunge, Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, and the Farm Crisis Panel. Several opportunities for foreign service in Uganda and Peru afford our students an international service experience. All of these events are aimed at raising consciousness on campus about the critical socio-economic issues of today.
Campus ministry, in conjunction with the Center for International Studies, offers to students the opportunity to discover faith in other cultures through pilgrimages. These opportunities are organized in order that students can visit centers of Christian faith and renew their own dedication to Christ. At present we have pilgrimages going to the Holy Land and other praying for a week at Taize, France.
Students who wish to join the Roman Catholic Church have a chance to study and prepare as a group for the sacraments of initiation that are celebrated during the Easter season. A member of our professional staff guides the catechumens and candidates through the process.
Christian Spiritual Formation
From time to time we sponsor activities designed to help students grow in their faith, such as prayer services, Bible studies, and “information nights” on topics like “What DOES it mean to be Catholic?” or “Catholic Social Teaching: The Church’s Best Kept Secret.” Many of these activities are sponsored in conjunction with the Vocation Project.
Campus Ministry provides a variety of resources for students interested in volunteering full-time after they graduate. These include detailed files on volunteer organizations, a searchable database of volunteer opportunities and publications such as Connections and Response. In cooperation with the Career Offices, we host a variety of national and inter-national volunteer organizations at a “Volunteer Fair” each semester for students to speak directly with representatives of these organizations.