Saint John's University Campus Ministry
Spiritual formation has always been a part of the life and mission of Saint John’s University. In the earliest days, students shared in many aspects of the monastic life, especially common worship and common dining. In recent years Saint John’s Campus Ministry has focused on the spiritual development of young men, complimenting the College of Saint Benedict Campus Ministry’s focus on the spiritual development of young women.
Lead by the United States Catholic bishops’ pastoral letter, Empowered by the Spirit: Campus Ministry Faces the Future, our mission is to enable “members of the community to achieve a deeper understanding of their faith so that they are better prepared to witness to the kingdom of truth in the world.”
We facilitate this by emphasizing the values found in the Rule of Saint Benedict, which animate the monastic community’s life. Student campus ministers work collaboratively in the various tasks we undertake, taking counsel from one another, listening to one another, and being alert to the whisperings of the Spirit. Working within the Benedictine tradition, campus ministry forms a community of students grounded in the Rule, and serving the spiritual needs and formation of the student body.
Among the activities of SJU Campus Ministry, the celebration of the Sunday Eucharist holds pride of place. Students participate in the planning of the liturgy and many students throughout the University and the College of Saint Benedict serve as altar servers, musicians, readers, Eucharistic ministers, ushers, and in other capacities.
Theology on Tap is a program where students and faculty get together to discuss various theological topics in an informal setting. Jesus, Pizza, and Me offers students in the residence halls the opportunity to explore scripture in small groups in the dormitory communities.
We offer a variety of retreats which feature scripture-based prayer. Some focus on silent listening, others offer guided lectio divina. The First Year Retreat Experience (FYRE Retreat) helps develop a sense of community among first year students. Monks are often invited to offer their insights in the retreat program.
Monks have always been involved in campus ministry, sharing with the students the fruits of their lives in community. Most of the campus ministers today are students, both men from Saint John’s University, and women from the College of Saint Benedict. Through their work they not only serve the larger university community, but also explore for themselves a possible vocation to serve the church in some form of ministry, supported each year through a retreat for all of the campus ministers, focusing on what ministry is.