In recent years, Catholic faith-life has taken some new directions on campus. Here are three:
Eucharistic Ministry to the Sick
Campus Ministry began a eucharistic ministry to the sick in 2005. This year, about 20 students are consistently involved in visiting the residents of the nearby Carroll Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center each week to deliver the Body of Christ to them.
“It’s very life-giving and I think that’s why people do it,” says Jessica DePrizio, associate campus minister for liturgy and worship. “We bring the Eucharist to people and at the same time, we experience Christ through them.”
Over the past four years, a CUA student group devoted to spreading a message about chaste love has been growing. Last year the 25 members of Chastity Outreach met weekly and spent weekends talking with junior high and high school groups in the D.C. metropolitan area about the importance of remaining chaste.
Angela Pometto, moderator of the Catholic Life Community at St. Mary of Sorrows Parish in Fairfax, Va., invited members of the CUA outreach initiative to speak to her girls’ group last year. “The teens had heard the message of chastity before, but it meant a lot more coming from three ‘cool’ college gals instead of us older adults. The CUA students were very knowledgeable about the subject and were confident in sharing as well as answering questions.”
The men and women of the group have also focused their efforts on campus peers. Last year, groups of up to 15 CUA students gathered in residence halls to hear presentations by members of Chastity Outreach.
Although small prayer groups have been a longtime tradition across the campus of Catholic University, RENEW prayer groups have taken the university by storm. In only two years they have become one of the most popular group commitments on campus, with more than 200 members during the spring 2008 semester. During the third week of each semester, members of each group make a covenant to pray together weekly.
“It has grown because it’s student led,” says Rev. Andrew Santamauro, O.F.M. Conv., assistant chaplain for faith development. A core group of leaders who have previously participated in the program lead groups of no more than 12 students in prayer each week. The small-group approach works because “in larger groups the wallflowers, they stay on the wall,” says Father Santamauro. “Smaller groups allow intimacy, so introverts feel comfortable sharing.”
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