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US Marist Campus Ministers and Religious Educators

05/10/2006: United States

Chairpersons from Campus Ministry and Religious Education departments of US Marist schools gathered at the Marist Brothers Retreat House in Esopus, New York from September 17-19 to discuss the findings and implications of the National Study of Youth and Religion conducted by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This was the first in a series of “Sharing Our Mission” sessions offered by the Office of Marist Evangelization and Vocations.

This study, conducted between 2001 and 2005, included interviews with 3,370 English-speaking and Spanish-speaking 13-17 year olds. of that number, 816 identified themselves as Catholic. The National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry served on the advisory board for the study, and, because the number of Catholic young people included in the study was so statistically significant, the NFCYM was given the raw Catholic data to analyze further. That data was the basis of the presentation “Will Our Faith Have Children?” presented to our Marist Educators by Mr. Michael Theisen of the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry.

While the study shows signs of life and hope among Catholic teenagers, it also presents a number of significant challenges confronting parents, religious educators, campus ministers, and parish youth ministers.

Our US Marist educators gathered to discuss the study and its findings and to begin to answer two questions: What are the implications of the study for my individual Marist school? and What are the implications of the study for our US Marist schools?

The group will continue its dialogue through electronic means during the 2006-2007 school year and will gather again in the 2007-2008 school year to continue charting the direction of religious education and campus ministry in US Marist schools.

Participants at Sharing Our Mission included Mr. Michael Theisen from the National Federation of Catholic Youth Ministry, Mr. Ron Russo and Sister Terry Gauvin (Central Catholic High School; Lawrence, Massachusetts), Father Richard LaMorte, Brother Robert Clark, and Brother Michael Williams (Marist College; Poughkeepsie, New York), Mr. Frank Gambino and Mr. Michael Germano (Archbishop Molloy High School; Briarwood, New York), Mr. Donald Van Bomel and Mr. Michael Borges (Mt. St. Michael Academy; Bronx, New York), Father Jamie Bono (Marist High School; Bayonne, New Jersey), Mrs. Maureen Hagan and Mr. Jay Bauer (Roselle Catholic High School; Roselle, New Jersey), Dr. James Dugard (Christopher Columbus High School; Miami, Florida), Mr. Andrés Novela and Mr. Jeff Sanchez (Msgr. Pace High School; Miami, Florida), Mrs. Julie Knowles and Deacon Eddie Blanco (St. Brendan High School; Miami, Florida), Mr. Vince Andiorio and Mr. Tom Samonski (Marist High School; Chicago, Illinois), Mrs. Paty Daniels and Mr. Chuck Lamphier (St. Joseph Academy; Brownsville, Texas) and Brothers Hank Hammer, Steve Milan, and Al Rivera (Office of Marist Evangelization and Vocations).

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