Marist School’s Catholic identity is at the heart of all we do, and Campus Ministry guides students on their faith journey. While Campus Ministry has made some adjustments to offerings as a result of the pandemic, this distinctive element of the Marist educational experience remains the same.
From student-led retreats, community service, prayer services, and Masses to Eucharistic Adoration in Esmond Brady Memorial Chapel, Campus Ministry provides multiple opportunities to help students build the spiritual foundation and strength of character they need for Christian service and leadership in college and beyond.
Student-led retreats provide opportunities for sharing, reflection, prayer, and ongoing spiritual growth. Campus Ministry Director Mr. Brian Freel said, “We have adapted by holding retreats on campus and eliminating the overnight aspect. The centerpiece of Marist retreats is the student-led small groups which remain intact, and we are able to function well with mask-wearing and social distancing.” He added, “Of course it is different from being off campus at a retreat center, but our loving God is present, and students are able to strengthen their relationships with each other and with our Lord.”
While requirements for community service remain intact, Campus Ministry does not require direct (in-person) service at this time. Coordinator of Student Community Service Mrs. Mary Ujda connected with the home visitation ministry at the Cathedral of Christ the King so that Marist students could prepare cards for Cathedral parish members who are homebound. When the parishioners are visited, they are given these cards written by Marist students. Some students have received responses from the recipients, which has brought tears to the eyes of more than one.
In addition, every grade level at Marist takes a turn providing meals to the Central Presbyterian Night Shelter and My Sister’s Place, either through meals purchased from the Marist cafeteria service or through direct donations.
In planning for summer mission trips, Campus Minister Ms. Caroline Belden ’12 and Theology Teacher Mrs. Erin Paul ’92 are working together to provide an opportunity for Marist students to serve through local agencies, work from Marist School, and sleep in their own beds, solving social distance problems related to bus transportation and 100 students sleeping in a gym.
Since the pandemic began, Marist’s school prayer services and Masses had been virtual until December 8, when the Marist School community came together both in person and virtually to celebrate Mass for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Mass also included the commissioning of 33 seniors as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion.
These seniors and their parents attended the Mass in person in Centennial Center’s Young Gym, while other students and teachers remained in their classrooms to view the Mass via livestream in order to maintain social distance. After the seniors were commissioned, they served communion to their parents before fanning out to 33 different locations across campus to serve communion to teachers and fellow students.
On Friday, January 22, Campus Ministry invited students, faculty, and staff to come together to pray in Adoration, a devotion in which the Eucharist is exposed on the altar in a monstrance (a vessel). Campus Ministry plans to offer the campus community additional opportunities for Adoration during upcoming Activity Periods.
Students themselves are actively involved in living their faith as exemplified by the efforts of the Students for Life Club, which hosted a diaper/baby supplies drive and participated in a virtual March for Life as well as the 9 Days for Life novena.
Through these Campus Ministry offerings and other school activities, we live our faith at Marist School, even during the pandemic, and provide students with the spiritual foundation they need to lead and serve with compassion, integrity, and a sense of purpose.