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Monday, March 4, 2024
The Observer

Notre Dame Campus Ministry features variety of groups

Notre Dame’s Campus Ministry program is one of the largest in the country, so its staff is always preparing events and meetings for students on campus to further their faith.

“Campus Ministry is committed to cultivating the faith of all Notre Dame students,” Tami Schmitz, associate director of student ministry, said in an email. “Campus Ministry ministers faithfully and fervently to all students, regardless of denomination, faith tradition or level of education.”

Some of the programs Campus Ministry sponsors include musical groups and undergraduate ministries. Within the undergraduate ministries, Campus Ministry has a wide variety of options for students already engaged in their faith or interested in exploring the Christian faith further.

“Campus Ministry creates an atmosphere where our students feel cared for, supported and empowered to reach their full potential. We also try to offer a variety of programs and events in an attempt to meet a variety of students wherever they are on their journey of faith,” Schmitz said.

Kayla August, the assistant director of evangelization, oversees several Campus Ministry programs, such as weekly adoration in the chapel; the Catholic Identity Association, which supports Catholic student groups on campus; the Muslim Student Association and the Jewish Student Association.

August also works with Iron Sharpens Iron, an interdenominational group that meets weekly for praise and worship and to hear witness talks, and the Compass Freshman Fellowship, an opportunity for freshmen to meet and discuss Christ.

“These programs help students of varying faiths find a true relationship with God,” August said in an email. “College is often the first time students are away from home. In college, they discover who God is to them instead of just who he was to their parents. … Each encounter is a gateway to a relationship with God. Each experience and encounter reveals who God is and invites them to share in life with Him.”

Another Campus Ministry program open to undergraduate students is Jamii, which is hosted on the first Sunday of every month at 9 p.m. in the St. Andre Room of the Coleman-Morse Center. The meetings are hosted by the African and African American Ministry and feature Bible study, prayer and community-building activities.

Imanne Mondane, a senior and Campus Ministry multicultural ministry Anchor intern, said she thinks all students should participate in Jamii.

“No matter what stage of your faith you would consider yourself at, no matter what religion you identify with, no matter your knowledge or background of the Bible of Christianity, there is something here for you,” Mondane said. “There is someone you can connect with and share your story. We really believe there is power in sharing your spirituality and spiritual journey with others, and when we gather together, something incredible happens: We are able to encounter one another in the most pure form possible.”

Mondane said Jamii allows students to build relationships with others as well as themselves and God, which is why she enjoys participating.

“I love having the chance to foster my relationship with God in such an open and nonjudgmental setting, and also being able to learn more about myself and new ways to grow as a person and child of God,” she said.

Brett Perkins, the assistant director of sacramental preparation and catechesis, runs a separate Campus Ministry program called Christ for the Curious. The program runs four times each year in three- to five-week sessions.

The current session started Thursday and will run for four Thursdays from 7 p.m. through 8 p.m. in the St. Andre Room. The sessions can stand alone, but collectively they will explore crucial moments in Jesus’ life, such as his birth, baptism and last supper. The meetings include food and a reflection from a campus “leader-in-faith,” such as a rector, priest or sister.

“Christ for the Curious is perfect for individuals of any faith background or level of faith experience, or none at all; all that’s required is an open mind and heart,” Perkins said in an email. “Regardless of one’s faith, I think nearly all would agree that Jesus has got to be one of the most intriguing people who ever lived.”

Perkins said some students attend Christ for the Curious to help with their theology studies on campus, others are international students and others are life-long Catholics looking to reengage with their faith.

Combined, the Campus Ministry programs offered during the semester allow students to encounter their faith in various ways, no matter their faith background.

“Campus Ministry provides experiences, tools, and opportunities to help students grow into the people God created them to be,” Schmitz said. “These opportunities not only help students deepen their own faith lives, but also they often help develop deep, meaningful friendships.”