I’m at the Frank J. Lewis Institute which is for first-time campus ministers (I’m giving the Thursday keynote on technology) at DeSales University just outside of Allentown.

Last night we talked much about the history of Campus Ministry. Including a bit about Cardinal Newman. Barbara McCrabb representing the USCCB spoke about attending Newman’s beatification and a general sense of Campus Ministry’s history.

Newman’s idea was that Catholics should be engaged in academic pursuits, that it should be central to Catholic experience. Many people, even today, associate Catholicism with a loose anti-intellectualism, an unfair and even false sense of what Catholicism really is. Catholics have always been involved in intellectual pursuits.

How might universities and campus ministry better interact with one another? Aren’t we interested in the same things? The intellectual life is really about conversations. But it is also about helping people form their own personhood, becoming men and women for others. Isn’t that the goal of any university as well as Campus Ministry? If so, then why can we not work closer together?

I know that is what happens on my campus and that the openness that has existed at UB has been remarkable, especially at a secular university. But that can always get better and conferences like this prod even the best campus ministers to think more creatively about intellectual life and how that relates to Catholicism.

What different intersections might there be on your campus? Who might you engage with so you might be be more active on campus? Who do you hang out with and how might they help you be a better minister and how might you help them retain students for the university?

It’s an exciting time to think about what the new semester might bring.

What hopes might you have for a new semester?