By Abbey Schuhmann
For the past several years the Diocese of Jackson has partnered with the Newman Connection in an effort to help connect our high school seniors with a Catholic campus ministry program at their chosen college, university, or community college. The Newman Connection is a non-profit organization that provides structure and support to dioceses, parishes, Catholic high schools and Catholic campus ministry programs across the nation free of charge.
Newman Connection is focused on strengthening today’s Catholic young adults in the faith during their college years; they work with nearly 50 dioceses to help connect as many young people as possible. This program fits in very well with our renewed diocesan mission and vision and supports the priority to facilitate life-long formation of intentional disciples.
How to get connected? High school seniors at our parishes and Catholic high schools will be asked to fill out a brief information card from Newman Connection that includes their name and school they plan to attend in the fall; that card is then collected by the parish or high school and mailed back to Newman Connection. This program is completely free for participating parishes and schools and what a great way to help keep our young people engaged with their Catholic faith as they begin this new adventure into college life.
A senior Mass, banquet, or Baccalaureate are great opportunities to have your students fill out the information cards. The Newman Connection enters the information into their database that will then reach Catholic campus ministers at more than 400 campuses around the United States. Catholic campus ministers will then know who the incoming freshman are, what diocese they are from and can reach out to them and encourage them to get involved in the Catholic campus ministry program.
The staggering fact is that “80 percent of students stop practicing their faith at some point during college, while only 15 percent look for a campus ministry on their own.”
But together, we can change this. Let us get connected and stay connected. Newman Connection packets have been sent to all parishes and Catholic high schools in our diocese and information cards should be available. You may also go on the Newman Connection website, www.newmanconnection.com and “connect” individually or to find out more about the Newman Connection program and other resources available.
Please contact Abbey Schuhmann in the Office of Youth Ministry if you have any questions about the implementation of the enrollment process with Newman Connection. Abbey.Schuhmann@jacksondiocese.org or 601-949-6934
(Abbey Schuhmann is the coordinator for youth ministry for the Diocese of Jackson.)
By Abbey Schuhmann