By Mariah Allison
Campus Ministry is an important part of the Bellarmine community. Students can share their faith and learn from each other about different faith-based practices as well escape from the stress of studies. Campus Ministry is still very active during the pandemic, offering in-person and virtual events and activities for students.
Students can still meet with leaders and peer ministers in the office. Peer ministers and students can also meet by Teams, Zoom, or phone. Some directors also offer in-person meetings with students, who must fill out the COVID screening on One Bellarmine before going into the office.
Anyone can go to the peer ministers to discuss faith, and one great way to connect with them is through an Agape chat that students can book here https://tinyurl.com/cmoappt. The word agape means “the highest form of love.” The office wants to create a way for students to connect on a deeper level, so peer ministers offer this chat experience so they can talk about faith from all different backgrounds.
The project collects stories to demonstrate how faith is alive on campus and how the Bellarmine community finds and/or demonstrates agape love for the divine and for one another in tangible, everyday ways.
There are peer ministers for any religion, including atheist. One peer minister, senior Grace Michels, said she is spiritual but not religious and is looking at the Episcopalian faith.
“It’s a really cool process when you’re in it because you don’t really talk about religion casually with people, especially some of the deeper stuff,” Michels said.
Events are also still taking place amidst the pandemic with certain guidelines and restrictions. Pop-up events in the Campus Ministry office are limited to nine people. Bags of popcorn are provided, and it is held during free period each Tuesday. There is a virtual option for the pop-up events, which can be accessed on Engage.
One annual event that continued to take place was The Blessing of the Animals on Sept. 30. Students and faculty brought their pets to be blessed by campus minister Father George Munjanattu.
Sophomore Abby Rosys who attended said it was “a chance to reconnect.”
Retreats are also planned this year. The first retreat happened on Oct. 3 and 4 at Red River Gorge. It was an outdoor retreat of hiking and self-reflection with a small group of attendees. The theme of the retreat was learning from a tree hosted by campus minister Father John Pozhathuparambil, who’s known simply as Father John on campus.
Another retreat is the year-round Creative Spirit retreat. It is a virtual retreat where students engage in six arts activities architecture, creative writing, dance, drama, music and visual art. The retreat asks how students can engage people in interfaith dialogue with themselves and others through the arts. Graduate intern Anderson Reeves does the groundwork for interfaith programming, specifically the Creative Spirit dialogue.
Reeves said: “It is meant to be the ultimate busy person’s retreat, and you can come back to it at any time. It is an event for students to be ready to consider the possibility of the fine and performing arts in this area.”
To start Creative Spirit activities, click here: https://tinyurl.com/bucreativespirit
Mass is still held on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. The campus ministers hear socially distanced confessions outside the chapel instead of the standard confession rooms. Father John hears confessions in-person or virtually.
He said: “Ministry is going well. This is the time we need more root in faith.”
Campus Ministry director Laura Kline said students can stay grounded during the pandemic by finding a practice or activity that gives them a sense of peace and hope and be intentional about it.
To connect with Campus Ministry, visit Engage or its website: