In keeping with our mission to form the future leaders of our Church and world, the Newman Center uses a system of student leadership called “Peer Ministry”.
Each year, 4-5 students are selected from a pool of applicants to work side by side with the staff in running the ministry. Housed in an apartment with individual rooms above the Newman Center, the Peer Ministers learn to balance school, ministry, and their personal lives in service to their fellow students. It’s a demanding year of sacrifice, but an extremely rewarding experience. In the end, peer ministers and the Student Council are responsible for the majority of the programming, innovation, and activity of the ministry. At any given time during the day, chances are you’ll find a peer minister roaming the halls, hanging out at the Newman table on campus, serving a Mass, or hosting an event at Newman.
Inspired by the success of former Newman Director Fr. William Dean Dooley OP (1948-1960) to use Catholic soldiers to catechize other soldiers during WWII, the program trains students to minister to each other. After a week of intensive training at the Dominican Institute of Student Ministry, peer ministers become Newman’s primary student leaders. They’re responsible for everything from planning the massive SEARCH retreat to cleaning the bathrooms!
Often times, students have a unique credibility with each other that community members, staff, parents, and even priests, don’t have. By training students to fill positions of leadership in the ministry, they’re given greater opportunity to relate to their peers and more effectively support them through the faith transitions common to college life. This ultimately leads newer students to realize that they should take their faith seriously, that there are other students out their struggling with the same things, and that there are answers to their most intimate and troubling questions. And that you can be Catholic and cool at the same time!
Since 1989, Peer Ministers have been some of the greatest advocates of the ministry, and each has left a profound impact on the lives of the students – not to mention the ministry as a whole. We continually thank all that have served. But as any peer minister will tell you, their gifts to the community are matched, if not surpassed, by the gratitude they feel for the transformative opportunity to serve their fellow Catholic Huskies.