Campus Ministry Update, Oct 2019
Campus Ministry Update - There’s No Place I’d Rather Be
From celebrating Mass in the Grass on Central Catholic’s front lawn, to teaching students in the classroom, to dancing with the student body at Discovery Days pep rallies, Fr. David Kidd says there’s no place that he’d rather be.
Central Catholic’s Priest Leader has only been here a month, but he already feels a part of the Irish family. Before he started, he was told that working at Central Catholic was the closest thing to Heaven on earth, and he definitely agrees.
“The Holy Spirit is alive and well at Central Catholic,” he said. “The students are so kind and respectful, and they are grateful for the opportunity to be here. When I got here, everyone said ‘Welcome to the Central Catholic family.’ I’d never heard a school referred to as a family before, but I truly believe that’s what we are here at CCHS.”
Joining Fr. Kidd is our new Campus Minister, Mrs. Julie McCourt. She has worked in pastoral ministry at Corpus Christi University Parish, Loyola University Chicago, St. Louis University, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, and St. Ursula Academy in Toledo before joining us at CCHS. “I am already in love with this place and am so happy to be serving at Central Catholic!” she said.
Finding Your Faith Direction
Central Catholic High School is known for its spirit and its faith, and Fr. Kidd wants to dig deeper into that faith. Each week he goes into the classrooms to teach, answer questions, listen to students, and give them hope. He teaches all the freshmen one week, then all the sophomores the next week, and so on, so that he gets to teach everyone at least one class per month.
He is finding that the students are open to going deeper, that they have a hunger for the truth of the gospel, and that they want to know why we believe the gospel message. He also helps them with spiritual direction, especially the seniors as they prepare to go out into the world. He wants to help them come to a greater clarity about what God is calling them to do.
“I want seniors to know it’s okay not to know what their plans are, and that they can ask God for help and for the right tools to find peace and spiritual direction,” he explained.
To illustrate his point, he has told students a story about being downtown to meet a parishioner for coffee. He got turned around when he came out of a parking garage onto an unfamiliar street and he felt lost. But suddenly a woman in tears came up to him and asked him to pray with her.
They prayed together right there on the street, holding hands, and then she thanked him and left. He didn’t know the woman and he never saw her again. He had felt lost, yet he was exactly where he needed to be at that moment.
Campus Ministry Goals
Mrs. McCourt’s role as campus minister is to offer presence and programming for students that encourages them to pray, rest, serve, and grow in their faith lives. She also teaches freshmen once a week in their religion classes.
She and Fr. Kidd want to help students take advantage of all the opportunities Central Catholic offers them to strengthen their faith, including Mass, retreats, and service.
“It’s so great to have Mass built into our schedule,” Fr. Kidd said. “I don’t know of any other Catholic school that has Mass four days a week, including the all-school Mass every Wednesday. People here understand how much that feeds into everything we do.”
Fr. Kidd and Mrs. McCourt are working together to make the faith lives of CCHS students, faculty, and staff a greater priority. They plan to create a more vibrant worshipping community through our Masses, develop a more robust retreat program, further develop a service and justice leadership program, and create more opportunities for student leadership.
In many ways, their goals for faculty and staff mirror their hopes for the students. They are working toward a more engaging worship experience during Mass, and they would like to see faculty and staff help lead initiatives for service and justice at CCHS and in our larger community.
Additionally, they hope to start small faith sharing groups and even short training or conversation sessions on issues that are important to faculty and staff.
Fr. Kidd explained that service to Central Catholic and to the community is essential to the teachings of the gospel. “We are called to love, but how do we love? Through our charitable acts. How do we live our faith? Through acts of service because they’re acts of love.”
Catholic identity is a huge part of life at Central Catholic, and it’s woven into everything we do. Fr. Kidd and Mrs. McCourt define Catholic identity as “the ways in which we honor and celebrate our heritage and character as specifically Catholic. In other words, we continue to ask how we pray, work, teach, serve, and play in a way that is infused with the prayers, wisdom, and rich culture of the Catholic Church. How do we know that we are a Catholic community from both the inside and the outside?”
Our Catholic identity is reinforced by the offering of presence, prayer, and programming that reflects it. It's important to learn about and celebrate who we are as Catholic in the classroom, on the field, in our homes, and in the community.
Central Catholic’s Campus Ministry is committed to showing up, remaining actively engaged in the life of the CCHS community, and reminding our community of who we are as Catholics.