USCCB Campus Ministry Initiative
April 2023

Campus Innovation Report

2019 Qualitative Study

Follow-up to National Study on Catholic Campus Ministry

The 2017 quantitative survey that examined the state of Catholic campus ministry in the United States shed light on many aspects of Catholic ministry within higher education. However, it also raised further questions. As is often the case with close-ended instruments like surveys, those examining the data at the 2017 Notre Dame symposium raised questions of underlying meaning, sought nuance, and wanted to better understand unexpected findings. It became clear that a follow-up qualitative study could more closely examine a smaller population of Catholic campus ministers through interviews, which would be extraordinarily helpful for a fuller understanding of the data from the original quantitative survey.

Full Report

Quantified Responses

National Study on Catholic Campus Ministry Calls for Innovative Growth, Cooperation and On-going Formation to Enhance Efficacy

On the Feast Day of Blessed John Henry Newman, patron of Catholic Campus Ministry in the United States, USCCB Secretariat of Catholic Education has issued a report highlighting the key findings from the National Study on Catholic Campus Ministry. The Secretariat commissioned the study seeking to advance Catholic identity in higher education and to rejuvenate the vision of Catholic campus ministry nationally.

Based on the data gathered, the report offers practical suggestions to develop and enhance Catholic campus ministry. According to Auxiliary Bishop Fernand Cheri of the Archdiocese of New Orleans and Episcopal Liaison for the Catholic Campus Ministry Association, "the Church must be intentional and campus ministry must be accountable in every way possible to enrich the character and formation of the whole community; taking into account the ethnic, social and spiritual diversity of each campus and its surrounding community." He goes on to say, "Our ministry must center on people, for we are forming men and women to be people that reflect Christ to each other and to the world."  

Official Report

V National Encuentro: Recommendations from Delegates 

Higher Education

  1. Called for Church leaders within the diocese, parish and Catholic schools to raise awareness, assist in the discernment about higher education and to investment in pathways that guarantee some success in the education of Hispanics. Delegates believe it is imperative to begin this work early – with parents and grade school children.

  2. Requested assistance for parents through the parish, the diocese and other ecclesial structures to prepare for college by helping parents understand the process of applying for, attending and completing college, motivating parents to encourage and support their students to attend and complete college, educating parents on the importance and necessity of higher education and orienting and accompanying parents through parish, diocesan and other ecclesial structures.

  3. Suggested the Church accompany students by beginning early, considering mentorship, and equipping non-Hispanic staff to better understand and serve Hispanic students.

  4. Encourage Catholic higher education to develop outreach and support for Hispanic students as a way of building up the Catholic community.

Campus Ministry

  1. Call for greater understanding of the Hispanic identity among college and university students.

  2. Investing more funds in t Hispanic students.

  3. Catholic Campus Ministry Association must understand the importance of prioritizing Latino students, especially at the top of its leadership.

  4. Hiring diverse professional ministers and encouraging vocational discernment.

  5. Better accompaniment of Latino students.

  6. The Church to pay greater attention to Campus Ministry at state schools where most Catholic students attend.

  7. Building bridges between youth and young adults ministry.

  8. Focus on the needs of the Hispanic community.

  9. Collaboration with parishes and high schools.

Campus Ministry Marks the Crossroad of Church and Higher Education

“Thus, the Church seeks to help higher education attain its lofty goal of developing a culture in which human beings can realize their full potential.”

—The Church of the University Pope Speaks vol 27, #3 Fall 1982: 252

“…cooperation between these two great institutions, Church and university, is indispensable to the health of society.”

—To Teach as Jesus Didastoral Message on Catholic Education #63

“Campus ministry can be defined as the public presence and service through which properly prepared baptized persons are empowered by the Spirit to use their talents and gifts on behalf of the Church in order to be a sign and instrument of kingdom in the academic worlds. The eye of faith discerns campus ministry where commitment to Christ and care for the academic world meet in purposeful activity to serve and realize the kingdom God.”

—Empowered by the Spirit: Campus Ministry Faces the Future #21


Six Aspects of Campus Ministry

3 4 5 6

Persons who serve

"We (the bishops) know it is important to find dedicated persons for this ministry who have a solid faith, a love for the academic world, and the ability to relate well to both inquiring students and educated faculty. They need proper training, which includes personal development, practical experience and theological study."

—Empowered by the Spirit: Campus Ministry Faces the Future #108

The Frank J Lewis Institute. . . orients new campus ministers to the specialized ministry within higher education. National standards, known as the Code of Ethics, provides a framework for certification. . . .


Programs and Resources

The Campus Ministry Leadership Institute provides campus teams, of student leaders and campus ministers, the opportunity to work collaboratively on program development and implementation. Participants learn and practice valuable leadership skills through project planning, networking with campus leaders from across the country, and acquiring a practical understanding of Catholic Campus Ministry based on Empowered by the Spirit. Empowered: PDF Version.

The Alliance for Campus Ministry helps to establish and implement a national campus ministry agenda through meaningful dialogue between bishops and campus ministry representatives.  In addition the Alliance serves as a vital communication link among national campus ministry organizations: fostering discussion about issues of mutual interest, creating opportunities for collaborative projects and assisting with national programming.