By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — As the new school year for St. Ambrose University is about to begin, the campus ministry team is firming up plans to welcome students.
Campus ministry team members Father Thom Hennen, chaplain; Tammy Norcross-Reitzler, director of faith formation; and Lauren Bollweg, director of music ministry and liturgy, went on a retreat last month to brainstorm.
A junior-senior retreat with a discernment focus is being considered, with an exploration of how young people live out their faith post-college rather than emphasizing a vocation to the priesthood or religious life, Fr. Hennen said. Service trips will continue, especially over spring break, as will Ambrosians for Peace and Justice, which has been in existence for decades.
Peer campus ministry, which began four years ago, remains a strong program, Fr. Hennen said. Through this initiative, a campus ministry student lives in each housing complex to provide opportunities to invite and talk with students about campus ministry. About half of the students who served as peer ministers last year will continue their roles this year.
Monday night eucharistic adoration, initiated last year, will resume this academic year. Participation in this devotion is growing, Fr. Hennen said. The Wednesday night 9:15 p.m. Mass also remains a popular staple of campus life. When the weather is nice, Mass is celebrated outdoors at the grotto near Ambrose Hall. Otherwise, Mass is celebrated in Christ the King Chapel.
Another successful initiative from the previous academic year will resume. The campus ministry team plans to invite the various sports teams and band to attend Mass as a team and to receive a blessing before the start of each season, Fr. Hennen said. The invitation was well received last year and encouraged some students to get involved in campus ministry. “About one-third of the students here at Ambrose are student athletes.”
Because the campus ministry staff is one person smaller than last year, a tweak needs to be made to “service Saturdays,” which were held weekly. “We might try once a month or a few times a semester,” Fr. Hennen said. But opportunities for service will abound at the university in general, he noted.
Campus ministry at St. Ambrose is open to anyone of any faith. “We have had people come on our retreats, service trips and even enter the faith from attending our programs,” Fr. Hennen said.