Campus Ministry and Social Action Work Together

by ALEXA SCHMIDT, Features Editor

The Campus Ministry and Social Action Suite has worked year-round to offer service and reflection opportunities at Manhattan College. Through the work of Conor Reidy, Kathleen von Euw and Jacquie Martin, the Lasallian values are implemented through different programming workshops.

Conor Reidy is heavily involved in Campus Ministry as the leader of the Lasallians in Faith Together, or L.I.F.T. retreats, the Peer Ministry program and Agape Latte.

Currently, the senior retreat is approaching on the weekend of Feb. 9 and 10.

“That’s a retreat where we really come together as a class, reflect on our four years here, and what kind of lessons they learned that they want to bring forward and how they can bring forces of good in the world afterwards,” Reidy said.

In addition to the senior retreat, Reidy will lead the Lenten Retreat, which is partnered with Serviam Gardens, a home for senior citizens who live in the Bronx. The first weekend of March is the Urban Plunge Retreat, which is service and faith-based.

“We analyze how we can reflect while also being of service. We will take students to Camden, N.J., which is the poorest city in the U.S. where we spend a weekend visiting homeless shelters, doing street clean-ups, going to after-school programs, and kind of learning about the situation in Camden and how we can see it and reflect on it through a Catholic and social justice lens,” Reidy said.

Reidy will also lead the Hiking Trip, which was postponed last semester due to weather conditions. In this retreat, students will learn how spiritual wellness and physical wellness are connected. The most popular retreat is the Kairos retreat, which will occur in April, and brings students together for conversation and reflection.

Reidy also runs Agape Latte, and hopes to get the Peer Ministry program off the ground.

“The idea is that we want to create small communities on campus where just students can have informal but intimate conversations about the intersection of faith and their life, and how faith and religion and spirituality can influence their decisions and their thoughts and how they see themselves,” Reidy said.

Sophomore Meggie Osorio got involved last semester. “We’re trying to plan a program where we’ll have a group of peer ministers and then participants who will come every two weeks we’ll have discussions about spirituality and faith, and have a fun time,” she said.

In the Social Action Suite, Martin and von Euw are leading the way for social justice awareness and activism. They run the Lasallian Outreach Collaborative Program, or L.O.Co., is a weekly community service program within the Bronx. The office also runs the Lasallian Outreach Volunteer Experience, or L.O.V.E. program, which links a travel experience with social justice and immersion.

In addition to those opportunities, the office does Service on Saturdays, Activism Excursions in New York City and the Mission Month Day of Service. Civic participation is one of their key ideas, so voter registration forms can be found in the suite.

“We’re here to help you make it happen. We want you to vote. If people aren’t sure, it’s good to check voter registration statues. Sometimes if you haven’t voted in a couple of cycles, they might take you off the roles, so sometimes it’s good to check to make sure you’re on there, or if you need to vote by mail,” Martin said.

She continued.

“Especially in terms of voting and activism, it’s really important to make your voice heard, and continue to try and create change, especially in our world today because there’s so many issues and problems going on,” she said.

The CMSA program is offered for everyone. “While not everyone identifies as being Catholic, I think the Lasallian values can really be seen. It’s really more of a philosophy and way of being and living your life, and I think that’s why we have this office and why we do this work. It’s part of being a good citizen in the world,” Martin said.

“We love to see students get more involved in this work, so they can be more aware of what’s going on. And continue to challenge themselves. We try to meet students where they’re at. Some students who walk in our doors, it might be the first time they’re ever thinking about their own identities, and power and privilege. We try to help them along their journey,” Martin said.

Osorio is not religious, but she values spiritual connection.

“When I first came to Manhattan, I was like ‘I’m not getting involved with CMSA, I’m done with Catholicism,’” Osorio said.

“But everyone was really nice in that group, and it’s more so about connecting with people, and I can listen to their Catholic teaching and listen to the specifics. They’re also very inclusive, and focus on interfaith and applying your own beliefs, so that’s what I do. I’m more focused on the Lasallian values that I share with that mission. The values are very relatable. I don’t think you have to be religious at all to feel a connection with the Lasallian values at all. It’s all important,” she said.

“Of course we always partner with our friends in the social action suite and everything that we do is a combination,” Reidy said. “We’re always supporting each other and really I believe personally that to do social action you have to reflect, and you have to be looking at things through a lens of reflection and oftentimes for people that’s through a lens of spirituality, religion and faith,” Reidy said.

“But if you’re really reflecting, you should be doing it in the right way. You should be moved to action, and you should be the two feet of social justice. Walking and praying with your feet together, so that’s why I think it’s one department,” Reidy said.