Posted: Tuesday Mar 13, 2012
January 3, 2012
Students at a Catholic college expect that Campus Ministry will offer daily and Sunday Masses and other religious services for students who wish to participate. But Campus Ministry at Saint Vincent College is much more than that. It is at the center of student life in providing social, spiritual, service and educational activities in a unique religious and historic setting founded by the Benedictine monks of Saint Vincent Archabbey in 1846 – the first in the United States.
Saint Vincent Campus Ministry provides 13 Masses per week in the Mary, Mother of Wisdom Student Chapel located in the Robert S. Carey Student Center, next to the Shack snack bar, including two Masses on weekdays and three on weekends at times that are convenient for student schedules.
The chapel is also open for students who are seeking a quiet place for prayer or reflection, Compline (Night Prayer of the Church) or Eucharistic adoration. Opportunities are provided for students who want to participate as lectors, cantors, extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist, ushers and other ministries.
There are also prayer groups, retreats, a Bible study group, and a Benedictine spirituality group. Campus ministers network with pastors of area churches of all denominations for students who want to attend a service off-campus. Campus Ministers are also available for private discussions with students who are seeking guidance.
In addition to a liberal arts college, the campus is also home to a seminary, a large community parish that worships in the historic Saint Vincent Basilica, one of the largest Benedictine monasteries in the world, the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media, the Sis and Herman Dupré Science Pavilion and the Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve – all combine to provide an excellent setting for serious academic study as well as the mature development of a student’s faith commitment.
“Saint Vincent students are serious about living their faith not only by their participation at Mass and services, but they are also generous with their time and talent in helping those in need,” commented Fr. Killian Loch, O.S.B., Director of Campus Ministry. “Students annually organize Sports Friendship Day for individuals with intellectual disabilities, visit nursing homes, conduct blood drives, feed the hungry through Meals on the Boulevard in downtown Pittsburgh, participate in an alternative spring break service trip to Brazil as well as service trips to Appalachia, Rome, Alaska and China. Students enjoy these opportunities to serve others.”
An important aspect of being part of a faith community is the friendships students develop through social activities. Campus Ministry provides numerous opportunities throughout the year for developing deeper connections with other students or building new relationships. These include informal discussions, Halloween pumpkin carving, Christmas ornament making, and playing ping pong. Fr. Killian noted. “Campus Ministry has a newly remodeled lounge that provides a comfortable setting for so many of our activities as well as serving as a place for students to come on their own for relaxation and healthy socializing. The lounge has new furnishings and a large screen television that is a magnet that draws many students to watch football and basketball games together.”
“Campus Ministry invites guest speakers throughout the year and offers small group discussions such as Breakfast with Benedict and Koffee with Killian for students to learn more about their faith and about the 1,500 year tradition of the Order of Saint Benedict,” Fr. Killian continued. A wide variety of activities are offered to provide students with opportunities for developing in their faith understanding including Tapping Theology and Late Night Catechism (both held off-campus at local restaurants), Knights of Columbus (for young men to become part of this prestigious national organization), RCIA preparation and others.
New this year is a Campus Ministry Advisory Council that gives students an opportunity to provide input into the focus of activities. Recommendations include having more informal discussion groups and more activities take place in the residence halls.
Fr. Killian, in his first year as director, says that he is “enjoying the assignment very much and that students are making me feel young.” Other members of the Campus Ministry team include Fr. Jean Luc Zadroga, O.S.B., Fr. Anthony Grossi, O.S.B., Jodi Marsh, Mary Ellen Lang, director of liturgical music, Shawn Machia, minister for social outreach, and Dr. John Aupperle, campus minister.
Further information about Campus Ministry at Saint Vincent is available by calling 724 805-2350, writing to 300 Fraser Purchase Road, Latrobe, PA 15650-2690, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting their website at
www.stvincent.edu/campusministry or their offices in Alcuin Hall.
Photo: Fr. Killian Loch, O.S.B., center, director of campus ministry at Saint Vincent College, with students, from left, Mike Yusko, a freshman mathematics and engineering major from New Florence; Rachel Zaffina, a sophomore elementary instruction major from Scottdale; Jay Yusko, a sophomore mathematics and engineering major from New Florence; and Hannah Poponick, a freshman psychology major from Latrobe.