Lifelong friends can be found in campus ministries. Photo courtesy of Orianna Bertucci

Higher calling: six things to know about campus ministry

  • October 25, 2015

Editor’s note: this is an edited version of a blog entry Oriana Bertucci, director of Ryerson Catholic Campus Ministry, shared about what campus ministries offer to students in the Archdiocese of Toronto. It originally appeared at

University campuses represent the fertile landscape of our society, nurturing culture and giving root to our future world leaders. This is where research and technology develop and emergent ideas flourish. And today, it’s a place in desperate need of the life-giving water of the Gospel message.

The need to reinforce social and moral values in our students cannot be forgotten.

Over the past decade, the Archdiocese of Toronto has expanded its efforts to ensure the Good News is present on university campuses in the GTA. Six campus ministries are partially or fully funded by the archdiocese: Ryerson University, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, all three University of Toronto campuses and York University. These campus ministries are busy sources of faith, fun and fellowship. Here are six things students find when they explore campus ministry:

1. We do church… and sports, and art, and video games

We go to Mass, we pray together and we challenge each other to lead holy and faithful lives as daughters and sons of Christ. But we also seek to develop the athletic, cultural and artistic aspects of our students.

2. The Five Ws: Who? What? Where? When? Why?

We ask more questions than Jeopardy! Campus ministry is a place of ideas and discussion. We’re in the business of asking the big questions: Who am I? What should my priorities be? Where am I going in life? We want students to ask the tough yet important questions about religion, politics, ethics and society. We’re not here to assign a grade; we’re here to journey with them.

3. A campus ministry melting pot

Campus ministry offers the opportunity to meet people from every academic discipline, diverse nationalities and cultural backgrounds. Learning from others’ experiences and knowledge can help students grow in ways they might not expect, complementing their classroom experience. We also offer opportunities to get involved in the community, on campus and in the archdiocese. We believe in getting to know our neighbours and sharing our gifts and talents with those around us.

4. Been there, done that!

Campus ministers and missionaries have been in students’ shoes. We survived first-year Micro-Economics and fell asleep in fourth-year Philosophy. We’ve lived with nocturnal roommates and found friends that we actually wanted to live with for more than a month. We’ve changed our majors and tweaked our resumes more times that we’ve updated our iPhones. The best part is that we loved our college and university experience so much that we decided to make it our life’s work! We’ve been in those shoes and we’re here to support students through whatever comes their way. Trust us… a Tim Hortons’ donut and a nap can solve just about anything.

5. Food. Food. Food.

There are always snacks around. What better way to meet new people or to explore the role of faith in politics than by sharing carrots and celery or chocolate chip cookies? Hungry students and campus ministry go together like peanut butter and jelly.

6. A home away from home

Whether they are commuting from home or living in residence, students are probably going to spend more time on campus and in class than at home during their post-secondary career. Campus ministry offers students a place to rest in between classes or when the library is full. It’s an opportunity to connect with people who have shared interests and values. It’s a safe place to explore new ideas, understand how lessons from the classroom apply to the real world and make lifelong friends.

The archdiocesan commitment to campus ministry challenges a society that defines success with dollar signs and titles. We want students to define success through their holiness and relationship with Jesus. Post-secondary education isn’t just about higher education; it’s about a higher calling.

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