Thursday October 22, 2009

Campus Ministry Excellence

The University of Dayton's campus ministry program will receive a national honor for a program that brings together students, faculty and staff to discuss faith and life issues.

The Catholic Campus Ministry Association will recognize a University of Dayton program that brings together students, faculty and staff to discuss faith and life as one of the best campus ministry programs in the nation.

The Perspectives on Faith and Life series will be honored as an "Exemplary Campus Ministry Program." Archbishop of Cincinnati Dennis M. Schnurr will accept the award on behalf of the program during the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops annual meeting Nov. 17 in Baltimore.

The series is being honored in the Appropriating the Faith category for its success in shaping the discussion of religion and faith and making it applicable to students, staff and faculty in their everyday lives.

"These discussions really get people thinking about their faith and duties as citizens. Some people bring expertise; others bring an experience with or passion for the particular topic," said Crystal Sullivan, director of residence life ministry and series coordinator. "The series has been able to facilitate civil dialogue and host respectful, sometimes life-changing conversations."

Each year, the series hosts five dinner discussions on various issues. Past discussions have included religion and violence, the intersection between political issues and faith, sustainability, evolution, Islam, relationships and dating, and even sports. The evening begins with dinner and a faculty presentation on the selected topic, followed by student facilitated table discussions and a question-and-answer session. Between 50 and 80 students, faculty and staff members typically attend each session, according to Sullivan.

"The award is an acknowledgment of the program's success over the years," Sullivan said. "It lifts up our work as a model for the kind of programming and activities campus ministries at universities can foster."

The series was launched in 2005 by a joint effort between University divisions including student development, the Program for Christian Leadership and campus ministry.

The next dialogue, entitled "Finding the Moral Center," will take place at 6 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 11, in the McGinnis Center. The topic will be Catholic social teaching and the healthcare reform debate. Students, staff and faculty should RSVP at

Crystal Sullivan at 937-229-2574 or

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