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I. History and Current Opportunities
A. History and Contemporary Developments
B. Current Challenges and Opportunities
II. Campus Ministry and the Relationship Between Church and Higher Education
B. The Contribution of Higher Education
C. The Contribution of the Church
D. Campus Ministry Described and Defined
III. Persons Who Serve on Campus
A. The Baptized
B. Professional Campus Ministers
IV. Aspects of Campus Ministry
A. Forming the Faith Community
B. Appropriating the Faith
C. Forming Christian Conscience
D. Educating for Peace and Justice
E. Facilitating Personal Development
F. Developing Leaders for the Future
Empowered by the Spirit: Campus Ministry Faces the Future
A Pastoral Letter on Campus Ministry Issued by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. Order copies of this statement at the online bookstore.
2. Our 1981 statement on Catholic higher education concluded by noting "the excellent intellectual and pastoral leadership of many Catholics engaged as teachers, administrators, and campus ministers in the colleges and universities which are not Catholic."1 We said at that time that "we hope for a future opportunity to speak of their invaluable contribution to the intellectual life of our country."2 In this pastoral letter, we fulfill that hope and turn our attention primarily to the ministry of the Church on these public and private campuses, where each year millions of Catholics are being prepared as future leaders of society and Church.3 We are mindful of our previous comments on the crucial importance of Catholic higher education, especially the distinctive task of campus ministry on Catholic campuses to call the total institution to spread the Gospel and to preserve and enrich its religious traditions.4 In addition, the suggestions for this document made by those who serve at Catholic institutions affirmed that all who minister in the world of higher education have certain common concerns and similar desires for cooperation. Collaboration among all colleges and universities within a diocese enhances the Church's ministry to higher education. Mutual support, joint sponsorship of programs, and sharing of resources improve the total efforts of campus ministry. Many of the perspectives, suggestions, and directions in this pastoral letter should be helpful to those who serve so well in our Catholic institutions of higher education.
3. Campus ministry is best understood in its historical, sociological, and theological context. Thus, the first section discusses our hopes for the Church on campus in the light of its previous history. The next section locates campus ministry within the relationship between the Church and the world of higher education, highlighting the need for renewed dialogue. Campus ministry derives its life from the persons who bring the Gospel of Christ to the academic world. Therefore, the third section focuses on the members of the Church on campus, emphasizing the call of all the baptized to collaborate in the work of the Church, as well as the special responsibility of professional campus ministers to empower others for this task. The fourth section examines six aspects of campus ministry that flow from the nature of the Church and the situation on campus. Here we state principles and suggest strategies for carrying out this ministry. The epilogue notes our own responsibilities as bishops to serve the Church on campus and calls the Church to an exciting new phase in the history of campus ministry in our country.
Issued by NCCB/USCC, November 15, 1985. Copyright © 1985, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Inc. All rights reserved.
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