Campus Ministry & Faith Formation
“Faith is the substance of all things……” Hebrews 11: 1
Mater Dei fosters a climate of appreciation for faith and spiritual values, and we offer our students encouragement and hope in their personal journey of faith. Mater Dei’s spirit of community is strengthened by coming together to celebrate nour faith and reliance on God.
Mater Dei’s students have countless opportunities throughout the school year to nurture their spirituality and to experience the joys and responsibilities of helping others by sharing their talents and time. Our Campus Ministry program involves the entire Mater Dei community in forming a faith community.
- We begin each day with prayer.
- We begin each class with prayer.
- We begin each school year with prayer.
- We prayerfully follow the liturgy of the Church throughout the school year.
Besides the “Opening of School” liturgy, we celebrate school-wide liturgies with our local community during the academic year on Holy Days and special Feast Days of the Church. These liturgies include All Saints’ Day, the Feast of the Ascension, and Holy Week. The Mater Dei Community also celebrates Mass during Catholic Schools Week.
Each week Mater Dei’s students have the opportunity to celebrate the liturgy in the School Chapel. In addition Mass is celebrated twice daily on campus in Mary, Mother of God Church.
Mater Dei students offer personal ministry in the following capacities:
- Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion
- Readers and Commentators
- Altar Servers
- Ministers of Hospitality
- Music Ministers
Our students also minister to the Mater Dei community by selecting and preparing the materials, creating prayer services, and customizing activities for the school’s spiritual retreats.
In addition to having opportunities to share Eucharist, the community of Mater Dei is offered opportunities for Reconciliation during Advent and Lent and anytime the need should arise.
Mater Dei was the first school in the diocese to institute a program modeled on RCIA to provide preparation for students who have not received all of their sacraments of initiation.
Each year a day is set aside for every class to explore faith-based themes. These days of recollection are usually planned and run by students working under the supervision and guidance of the Campus Minister.
The faculty also participates in an annual Spirituality Day when individuals from inside and outside the Mater Dei community facilitate opportunities for spiritual growth and reflection.
For many students the highlight of their faith formation experiences at Mater Dei comes during Kairos, a four day - three night retreat for students in their senior year. Kairos is a unique faith formation experience where senior students have a close encounter with God that is intense and extremely personal. This spiritual retreat offers a personal experience with God in community. It is an intense program, guided by a priest and led by students, where individual students examine where they are in God’s community.
The campus minister is available for counseling whenever a student feels the need. He offers perspective and guidance on matters of faith, and he supports Mater Dei’s students in their faith formation journey and its challenges.
In addition, he provides information and materials to the senior classes on long-term service projects available following graduation. He also assists students in preparing for their personal journey of faith after high school.
The community of Mater Dei invites participation in the sacred seasons of Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter creating an atmosphere which reflects the seasons, while providing opportunities for shared prayer. A board outside our chapel invites Mater Dei students and faculty to list their prayer intentions each month. As needed, the Mater Dei community is asked to pray in special ways for those facing surgery, for those who have died, those who are grieving, and those who especially need God’s blessings.
Christian Service is an integral part of the Mater Dei community. With a course in Christian Service, a Community Service club, food and clothing drives, as well as Christmas toy and Easter candy drives, run by the Student Activities Board, service permeates our school. Campus Ministry assists in coordination of these activities. In addition, opportunities are provided through Campus Ministry for “hands on” work in soup kitchens, after-care programs, nursing homes and food banks.
Mater Dei has been one of the top schools in supporting the Diocese of Trenton’s missions for more than twenty years, and it has led the diocese in seventeen of those years. Mater Dei was a leader among the diocesan high schools in giving to Catholic missions.
Mater Dei encourages students to consider religious life as a vocation. The numerous priests and religious alumni are invited to visit and are occasionally involved in retreats and liturgies. Through the different ministries and service opportunities, students are encouraged to explore this way of life.