Campus Ministry offers spirituality and service

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Campus Ministry at Saint Louis University seeks to help students form and harbor healthy relationships while increasing spirituality in students’ daily lives. Campus ministry aims to help build a college student’s life through service, prayer and reflection.

“Campus ministry connects me with people that challenge me in a beautiful way,” senior Morgan Seier said. “They will pose questions like, ‘Why do I believe the things I do?’ Through this type of question and others, one gains a better understanding of how they think, and with that results a better understanding of God and a person’s relationship to him.”

Currently, Campus Ministry includes many different faith denominations for student involvement. From many different Christian denominations and Jewish, Hindu and Muslim faiths, Campus Ministry said it helps to promote spiritual development and personal guidance as it pertains to a student’s relationship to God.

Many of the programs that Campus Ministry offers include retreats, mission trips, service opportunities and personal reflective prayer. According to senior and Campus Ministry Student Worker Brad Couch, the two most popular are the Encounter Retreat and the Nature Retreat.

“The Encounter Retreat is my favorite, and is for taking a step back and analyzing who you are as a person, to look at one’s relationship with God and with family and friends,” Couch said. “It helps you to think a lot about who you would like to become as a person.”

According to Couch, both retreats have benefits for students, including prayer sessions and group discussions about where people see themselves in their lives and with their relationships with God.

Marguerite Hall Campus Minister Patrick Cousins speaks at the All Saints Mass at Our Lady's chapel on Nov. 1. (Yuqing Xia / Photo Editor)

Couch said that retreats, mission trips and service opportunities are usually the biggest events that Campus Ministry will lead on campus.

This year, the Catholic Mass has undergone translation changes to the prayers, songs and responses to bring the Mass closer to the original Latin meaning. Campus Ministry has been tasked with educating the SLU community on the upcoming changes that become effective Nov. 27.

According to Campus Minister and Liturgial Coordinator Abby Braun, the reasoning behind the translation changes result from Vatican II, during which the Latin version was changed into many different dialects very quickly. In some cases, the changes were inaccurate.This new translation was an effort to bring it closer to the original Latin text.

The most noticeable change will be in the response “and also with you.” The appropriate response is now “and with your spirit.” This translation is closer to most of the translations in liturgies around the world, and is also the accurate translation from Latin. With the changes to the translation of the Mass, Campus Ministry will have multiple educational sessions and worship aides in the pews of St. Francis Xavier College Church. According Braun, in the Catholic tradition, the liturgy is the central celebration of faith.

“The liturgy helps create space for students to help come and create a community nourished by the word of God,” Braun said. “People come to receive the body of Christ and then to go out and live that in the world. Yet, with the new changes it will take time for people to adjust.”

According to Campus Ministry Director Lisa Reiter, SLU currently has 13 campus ministers, 13 student workers, two graduate assistants and two under-graduate interns. With direct student involvement of more than 800 students last year, the organization hopes to be available to students from various religious backgrounds.

“Through my experience at SLU, the campus ministry has shown an utter dedication to students,” Couch said. “Through ministers’ involvements in residence halls or Sunday masses and their availability to talk about personal issues, they recognize they are needed and they make themselves available.”