For Immediate Release: August 24, 2012
Providence College’s New Campus Programs to Support Catholic, Dominican Ministry
Faith Works to Introduce Freshmen to Service, City
Faith Works student coordinators are from left: (back row) Kevin Peloquin ’13, Heidi Fraitzl ’14, Emily Corr ’13, Kerry Fleming ’14, and Ryan Paranal ’13; (front row) Courtney Clerkin ’13 and Coleen Curry ’13.
Providence, R.I. – Providence College is advancing its Catholic and Dominican mission by introducing three new programs for spiritual growth to the PC community.
Part of the College’s Strategic Plan, the new programs aim to achieve a fuller integration of faith in the lives of students and alumni.
Faith Works aims to increase service opportunities among incoming freshmen class members and to increase the number of faith formation programs.
Faith Speaks is an outreach program that includes seminarian interns and a post-graduate residential service program.
In the Footsteps of St. Dominic is an international travel-pilgrimage program that allows participants to visit places of historic Dominican significance.
Rev. Joseph J. Guido, O.P., vice president for mission and ministry, explained that 1,800 members of the College community shared their experiences and understanding of the College’s mission through interviews, open forums, questionnaires, and a survey last year. They also reviewed the religious trends in the United States and at colleges and universities specifically.
“Among the things we learned is that many people at Providence College want to know more about the Catholic and Dominican mission, and to experience it more genuinely and at a greater depth, and that many students are coming from backgrounds where their exposure to, or education in, the faith has been limited,” he said.
Campus minister Richard Lumley is overseeing the first Faith Works service immersion program that will take place from Saturday, August 25, to Wednesday, August 29. More than 25 students have registered to participate.
There are seven student coordinators for the program: Courtney Clerkin ’13 (Breezy Point, N.Y.), Emily Corr ’13 (Commack, N.Y.), Coleen Curry ’13 (Wall, N.J.), Kerry Fleming ’14 (Newton, Mass.), Heidi Fraitzl ’14 (Bedford, N.H.), Ryan Paranal ’13 (Manalapan, N.J.), and Kevin Peloquin ’13 (Milford, Mass.).
They will work with the participants at service sites in the Diocese of Providence, including Emmanuel House, a day shelter for the homeless; the St. Martin de Porres Center, a senior service center; and the diocese’s Office of Life and Family, as well as Immigration and Refugee Services. Students also will tour facilities at the Rhode Island Department of Corrections to learn more about the chaplaincy services that are provided.
As students learn more about the relationship between the Catholic Church and the City of Providence, the program allows them to establish relationships of service and solidarity with Catholic agencies, student leaders, and with one another, Lumley said.
“Here our hope is to build upon students’ desire to serve others by joining it to contemplation of the Gospel,” Father Guido said.
Sharing the fruits of contemplation
The other two initiatives – Faith Speaks and In the Footsteps of St. Dominic – will begin in 2013.
Faith Speaks will bring diocesan seminarians and Dominican brothers preparing to be priests to campus. They will offer opportunities for retreats, Bible studies, faith-sharing groups, and notable speakers who can address major religious topics and challenges to faith to members of the College community, and students specifically.
Furthermore, Father Guido explained that this program includes a community of recent alumni who would give a year of service to Campus Ministry and act as mentors to undergraduates.
In the Footsteps of St. Dominic will begin in the summer of 2013. The first trip will allow trustees, faculty, administrators, staff, alumni, and students to visit Dominican sites in southern France and Rome.
“Our hope is that by being exposed to the very places where St. Dominic lived and worked, and supported by daily prayer and lectures on Dominican history and spirituality, participants will grow not only in their knowledge of the Dominican mission but in their experience of it as well,” Father Guido said. Planning and fundraising are under way for all three programs.
“If we are successful, it will not only be the participants in these programs who will benefit but the whole PC community,” said Father Guido.
“Growing in one’s own faith is important, but sharing what we know and believe with others is equally important,” he added.
Faith Works is also part of Faith in the City, a series of programs including Habitat for Humanity and the NOLA (New Orleans) Service Immersion Trip, that seek to help students live the College’s call to a life of service. The programs also provide an opportunity to share the fruits of their service as well as to reflect on it. Through their participation, students learn that to maintain their commitment to service they must develop and sustain an inner spirituality.