As John Carroll adjusts to remote learning for the remainder of spring semester, students involved in the Campus Ministry department have also transitioned to virtual platforms to foster spiritual development.
The daily programs planned include reflections, prayer, discussions and other activities that aim to create a sense of community and normalcy during these unprecedented times.
Brianna Chlosta ‘20, an active member of the Campus Ministry department and the leader of their transition to online platforms, explained the purpose of the sessions. “Maura [Wallace] and I connected with an alumnus who called [John Carroll] the special Jesuit sauce. I’ve kind of adopted that into my thinking of John Carroll. That is what we are trying to hold on to: that special thing — and we can’t put our finger on what it is — and we had to say goodbye to it prematurely.”
Chlosta explained that being away from campus can take a toll on students, and these programs are meant to restore a sense of community. “You aren’t with the people who keep you grounded. That is where this ‘God on the Go’ idea came from.
“[We want] to give people some structure. People are feeling frazzled with Zooming and then just watching Netflix all day, so we are trying to have programs every day. We want to create structure and give people an outlet to talk about their thoughts or find some positivity,” she continued.
The week begins with “Reflections on Gratitude” at 2 p.m. on Monday with Kelly Robinson ‘20, Vinnie Giovannitti ‘20 and Maddie Lough ‘20. They will host interactive reflections on gratitude. All three will discuss their personal thoughts on what they are thankful for and then encourage discussion.
“[We want to] shift the attitude from sorrow and despair to something positive,” said Giovannitti.
Tuesday will feature “Reflections on Speedbumps” with Julie Booth ‘20 at 10 a.m. Tomi Korsa ‘20 will host “Tea time with Tomi” at 2 p.m., where he is discussing the book “Beautiful Hope” by Matthew Kelly as well as having a “What’s the Tea” segment where people can celebrate positive moments in their day and find hope in God. The night concludes with Brendan Sieber ‘20’s “Examen with Brendan,” in which Sieber will read the examen, a prayerful reflection that helps people to find God in their daily life.
On Wednesday at 2 p.m., Maura Wallace ‘20 and Matthew Thomas ‘20 will open the session with a discussion on Mary and then pray the rosary. At 9 p.m., Nick Hupka ‘20 will post photos of the chapel along with reflections on the Gospel reading. The Resident Ministers will also post reflections on the Gospel readings on IGTV, just as they would during Murphy Mass.
“Voices of Justice” will give students who have been on immersions the platform to discuss their experiences. Thursday’s 9 p.m. session will take multiple forms, such as individual reflections and videos from several people’s perspectives.
Friday is a reflection on Ignatius’ First Principle & Foundation. Mark Grabowski ‘20, Mo Reilly ‘20, Booth and Giovinnitti, who were the Manresa 41 co-leaders, will be hosting this reflection at 9 p.m. Each Friday they will discuss a stanza and allow others to journal and share their thoughts and what lines resonate with them.
Liz Marcelli ‘20 will stream “Saturday with the Saints” at 10 a.m. She will discuss how lessons and examples from the lives of saints can apply in today’s world.
Sunday will feature “Mass Reflections.” Calvin Chmura ‘20 and John Desmarteau ‘20 hope to screen-share a recording of Gesu’s mass. Following mass, Chmura and Desmarteau will discuss the readings and answer questions, such as how to navigate mass on an online platform and how to grow closer to God during difficult times.
Those involved with creating and hosting these programs explained why going virtual is so important to them.
“Keeping that special Jesuit sauce in my life is important. [I am able] to see the people I used to see every day and to get closer to God during this time where we can’t go to mass or be in that community. Trying to have that virtual community is one of the reasons I was super eager to get involved,” said Chmura.
“The Campus Ministry department has meant so much to all of us, and it is nice that even though we are not on campus we can still engage with the department,” Korsa said.
Sieber even mentioned an unexpected benefit. “Getting involved with Campus Ministry has never been easier. This whole process is streamlined. Students who might not go to mass can just see these positive, inspiring messages. I don’t think Campus Ministry has ever been this readily accessible to students. It is a blessing in disguise.”
Chlosta said that the programs are getting a positive response, as the announcement video received over 1,000 views; approximately 50 people watched the rosary session; and the Instagram page gained about 20 followers.
In addition to the programs, there are other daily activities that students can engage with, such as “Question of the Day” and “Daily Bop” on Campus Ministry’s Instagram. Jillian Schaefer ‘20 has begun a letter-writing campaign so students can write thank-you letters to healthcare workers. Those interested can contact her at [email protected]. All of the daily programs will be streamed on Campus Ministry’s Instagram story or through Zoom. Zoom links will be included in the daily Speedbump emails and linked on Campus Ministry’s Instagram. Reach out to Chlosta with questions at [email protected].
“The whole point and purpose is ‘Connection. Community. Campus ministry,’” Chlosta concluded.