Campus Ministry Introduces new Peer Ministry Program; Transitions From Hall Chaplain Program

A new student Peer Ministry program is being developed as Campus Ministry transitions from the old Hall Chaplain program by fall 2011, while retaining many of its well-known activities and events.

The student Peer Ministry program is a student leadership opportunity at St. Thomas, sponsored by Campus Ministry, and is a response to the Gospel's call to love and serve our neighbors. The primary responsibility of the peer minister is to live out the Gospel message through outreach to the student body.

Student peer ministers will seek to extend the reach of God’s love by offering welcoming, guidance, compassion, and faith-filled support for their peers during the journey of college life. They will provide a safe place for the soul to question, ponder, explore, grow and develop an understanding of self and a life of faith.

Student peer ministers will be integral to the work of Campus Ministry. They will be a hospitable and welcoming presence to their peers, and reach out to the community by offering and inviting students to opportunities for prayer, faith sharing, and involvement in spiritual and religious programs and activities. Student peer ministers will assist in promoting and fostering the spiritual development and faith awareness of students who are a part of the campus community.   

Student Peer Ministry is about befriending the stranger. Peer ministers will be motivated to serve their peers out of heartfelt compassion and concern because they are passionate about their own faith and about God’s people. They will be positive role models and a witness to a life of faith. Student peer ministers will be trained in their listening and pastoral care skills so they can be present to those who need someone to talk to and able to direct them to the correct resources beyond their capabilities. 

A team of eight student peer ministers will be selected during the 2010-2011 academic year and begin their ministry in fall 2011. Applications will be available later this fall through the overall student leadership selection process, and interviews will take place in early spring. Student peer ministers will receive compensation of a shared room and a meal plan in exchange for their service. Although the peer ministers will live within the residence halls, their ministry will reach beyond where they live to the larger campus community.     

The new Peer Ministry program supports the mission of Campus Ministry at the University of St. Thomas, which is to reflect and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ in this community. Campus Ministry affirms the dignity of all people and calls others to do likewise by working for justice and peace.

Rooted in the Roman Catholic tradition, Campus Ministry worships as a Eucharistic community and offers opportunities for liturgy, worship and prayer. Marked by faith, hope and charity, Campus Ministry respects and welcomes those of other faith traditions and strives to instill social responsibility in each person and to foster an environment that supports the spiritual formation of all. Campus Ministry is eager for all students to grow in their faith while at St. Thomas and encourages all students to embrace their relationship with God and others. 

Programs and services within Campus Ministry at the University of St. Thomas are designed to help all students, regardless of their religious experience, grow in their faith while encountering the vitality of the Catholic faith tradition. Through Campus Ministry, students have the opportunity to explore and discuss faith and spirituality, join together in prayer, discover community, and take action to transform the world.

The shift from the Hall Chaplain program to the Peer Ministry program supports a new initiative within Campus Ministry to engage and empower students to be leaders in the life and work of Campus Ministry and the church. As Campus Ministry transitions to the Peer Ministry program during the 2010-2011 academic year, resident outreach ministers will be available for students.

Resident outreach ministers are a team of four adult campus ministers (Dominic Bruno, Billy Dodge, Rocio Montalvo and Katie Schaitberger) who live in the resident communities and mentor to students. They encourage spiritual growth by facilitating faith-centered programs and retreats, modeling an active and integrated Christian life, and supporting all students in times of joy, struggle and crisis.

The hope is for the Peer Ministry program to continue many of the well-known and successful Hall Chaplain and Resident Outreach Minister programs such as the Life & Love & Why talks, evening prayer, Men’s and Women’s Conference, and other faith and social events students have enjoyed.   

The Peer Ministry program will differ from the Hall Chaplain program. Peer Ministry will be student-led leadership and the ministry will not be restricted to the residence halls. It will give students the opportunity to further develop leadership skills and responsibility, and gain ministry experience.

Peer ministers will be less focused on programming and more focused on outreach to their peers as the primary task. Peer ministers will encourage students to partake in the abundance of faith-related opportunities already happening and walk with one another in their spiritual development and college life. The new program will provide peer-to-peer support, friendship, witness to an authentic life of faith as a young adult, and volunteer opportunities for students to also engage in ministry.

For more information about the student Peer Ministry program, please e-mail Molly Bird, coordinator of Peer Ministry, or attend an information session.

 Information session dates:

  • Sunday, Oct. 3 – 8-9 p.m., Room 152, Murray-Herrick Campus Center
  • Thursday, Oct. 7 – noon-1 p.m., Room 152, Murray-Herrick Campus Center
  • Tuesday, Oct. 12 – 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Campus Ministry information table, lower quad
  • Wednesday, Oct. 20 –  6-7 p.m., Room 152, Murray-Herrick Campus Center
  • Wednesday, Oct. 27 – 3:30-4:30 p.m., Room 152, Murray-Herrick Campus Center
  • Tuesday, Nov. 9 – 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Campus Ministry information table, lower quad