New campus ministers aim to increase student participation in ministry
October 2, 2014
God is good, all the time. Archbishop John Carroll, don’t pray for us? The morning announcement tradition that students are so used to is no longer being said. With the start of the new school year and the change in campus ministry staff, new JC ministry traditions are coming to life in the community.
After former Campus Minister Patti Murphy-Dohn retired in May, JC hired two new full-time campus ministers instead of one. Gary Meyerl and Michelle Sullivan, both with children at JC, were hired to maintain active student involvement in JC’s Catholic mission.
Additionally, both new ministers teach religion classes. Sullivan teaches Social Justice to seniors, and Meyerl teaches The Mission of Jesus to sophomores as well as a class of international students. “[It is a] great combination of teaching and being ministers,” Religion Department Chair Joseph Gallen said.
According to Gallen, having two campus ministers, rather than one, is beneficial in that it is “combining talent and experience.”
Morning announcements revised for student participation
Part of the new ministers’ “vision for campus ministry” is that “it needed to be student driven,” Sullivan said.
Meyerl went to his daughter, senior Emily Meyerl, for advice on how to increase student involvement in ministry. “Emily told me that advisories are [JC’s] greatest untapped resource,” Meyerl said.
With this in mind, Meyerl and Sullivan decided that every week students from two advisories would lead the school in the morning prayer and pledge. This gives the new ministers the “opportunity to meet students,” as well as “involve more than half of the school” in ministry, according to Meyerl.
Not only are students able to read prayers on the announcements, but they also have the chance to share their original work. “Prayers have been written by students,” Meyerl said, though not every student has chosen to do that. “Our goal is to publish a book of original prayers,” he said.
While the new ministers have started a new morning announcement tradition, they have kept part of the old. Students still respond “all the time” when the announcer says that “God is good.” However, they no longer pray for Archbishop John Carroll’s intercession. The decision to change this was not made by the campus ministers. Rather, “it’s being in compliance with the Canon Law,” Meyerl said.
Catholic Canon Law 1187 states: “Only those servants of God may be venerated by public cult who have been numbered by ecclesiastical authority among the Saints or the Blessed.” This means that, while individuals can pray for the intercession of John Carroll, we cannot continue the tradition of praying to John Carroll as a group unless John Carroll enters sainthood.
“In order to publicly call on the intercessions of an individual, they have to have started the process of becoming a patron saint,” Meyerl said. According to Meyerl, the process to sainthood is a three step process, and “[John Carroll is] not a patron saint yet.”
This rule is “rooted in the Church tradition,” Sullivan said.