To the Knights community, Bellarmine’s Campus Ministry is a place of refuge and safety where students can go to discuss concerns regarding God, other people, and themselves. Though the Covid-19 pandemic and quarantine measures present a challenge to Campus Ministry (particularly in regards to in-person discussions and gatherings for spiritual mass), those who work in the office have remained dedicated to serving the Bellarmine community and providing students with a place where their voices are heard.
Close to the start of the pandemic, when gatherings of large and small groups were heavily discouraged and interpersonal communication was considerably difficult, the office of Campus Ministry worked to roll with the punches and continue to help students feel like part of a community and not alone during times of isolation.
“When the pandemic broke out, we offered online spiritual services. For example, students could make an appointment online just to chat about their spiritual problems or any other problems – Then we did mass, holy mass, with the pictures of all the students because they couldn’t be there on Sundays, so we celebrated mass for them,” said Campus Minister Fr. John Pozhathuparambil. “So that’s what we, mostly I did for students, to make them sure that we are with them, we are praying for them, and if there was anything they could, at any time, contact us and talk to us.”
As Covid-19 and pandemic measures continue to place a heavy tax on mental and spiritual health, many Bellarmine students are grateful to have an organization on campus that is open to listen to their concerns and guide them through these untreaded waters.
Remarking on his time as a Bellarmine undergrad at the start of the pandemic, and how much of a positive force Campus Ministry was during such hard times, Campus Ministry Coordinator Anderson Reeves said:
“I was so relieved and so comforted by the fact that it did not mean anything different from what it did before. It was still home, it was still a place where I knew that I could approach…that I knew where I could ‘go’ whether that be a ZOOM meeting or call up Laura or Father John or anybody who works in the office and confide in those people with some of the biggest problems or just have a good cry. It represented, to me, where I felt at home on campus.”
For the Knights who enter the office of Campus Ministry with concerns specifically regarding the Covid-19 pandemic; troubled by the isolation, pressure and personal/spiritual doubts it forces on students and staff, Director of Campus Ministry Laura Kline has this to say:
“We are not living in normal times, and despite the return to a more ‘normal’ feel, it is absolutely understandable that someone would still be scared, exhausted, confused, and even questioning where God is in the midst of so much suffering.”
“God is walking with us and carrying us as we need it. God doesn’t want to see us suffer, and I believe suffers with us through these hardships. But we can also find hope for the future.”