LTE: A Letter From Campus Ministry to Students

In response to Carolyn Freeman’s Heights article this past Monday, Feb. 12, 2017, “University Must Support Student Activists”, Campus Ministry would like to share the resources it’s making available to students affected by recent political events, especially in this time of angst, uncertainty, and even, sadly, ongoing threat of personal safety.

Recognizing these circumstances, and with a passionate grounding in the Ignatian ideal of cura personalis ( or “care of the whole person”), Campus Ministry is fiercely committed to ensuring, as the Jan. 30 letter to the Boston College community from University President Rev. William P. Leahy, S.J., Executive Vice President Michael Lochhead, and Provost David Quigley states, that “all … feel safe and valued.”

This year Campus Ministry has created the dedicated position of a pastoral counseling campus minister. I’m privileged to hold this role, which adds another way for any student at BC to access counseling services, with general respect to BC’s Jesuit faith context, and with specific respect to each person’s unique spirituality, faith tradition, or other ways of meaning-making.

Our common efforts to live side-by-side and affirm each other’s experiences happens at a University that has Gospel compassion and societal contribution woven into its culture. It’s with this in mind that Campus Ministry offers this counseling service to all students with concerns for both an “outer” world of justice and an “inner” world of peace. We all need and deserve both.

As always, all 12 Campus Ministers are also available to talk with students individually in their offices during the day, as well as around campus. Anyone can drop in to Campus Ministry or make an appointment by contacting the main office, or any of us individually. The same goes for Resident Ministers in various Residence Halls.

Campus Ministry also supports students on a programmatic and organizational level. On the first Sunday after the election, Rev. Michael Davidson, S.J., on behalf of Campus Ministry, organized “Infinite Hope: A Post-Election Debrief.” Campus Ministry also supported the Muslim Student Association’s Feb. 3 event in protest of the recent executive order on immigration. These creative, collaborative, student-centered events are examples of the kind of organizationally responsive and proactive support Campus Ministry is committed to.

Campus Ministry is possibly most widely associated with its ongoing student programming, from retreats and student groups to service/immersion experiences. Especially now, Campus Ministry encourages students involved in its programming to talk with peers to listen, share, and understand each other’s unique experiences and perspectives. So while institutional support in the form of programming and mentors is important, students supporting each other is the real foundation.

It may be that in the encouragement to prayer, both communal and individual, that Campus Ministry offers the greatest support. In prayer, we remind ourselves that we stand for a vision of love, which puts us inevitably against any visions of discrimination.

Ms. Freeman rightfully points out the uniqueness of our time, and that in our response, we shouldn’t have to stand alone. Together, let us see that at BC, we don’t. Campus Ministry looks forward to hearing from you.

Rick Rossi, Campus Minister for Pastoral Counseling and Care