Peer Ministry Formation Program
Overview and Purpose
Campus Ministry for the University of Saint Francis offers a directed and supervised peer ministry formation program to students who wish to gain invaluable ministerial skills and experience while serving their peers.
Through their service, peer ministers contribute to Campus Ministry’s outreach to all students, which stems from and is shaped by the University of Saint Francis’ Catholic-Franciscan mission, identity, and ethos. Namely, Campus Ministry
- aspires to foster an inclusive, welcoming, hospitable, and close-knit university community
- wherein it cultivates the faith of all students, faculty, and staff,
- and connects that faith to service.
Accordingly, Campus Ministry joins with all in the university to build and strengthen our community and, in turn, provides the university community with opportunities for:
To help facilitate a holistic embodiment of faith in daily life, Campus Ministry sponsors integrative faith and service groups. Finally, it offers innumerable resources available at and beyond the University Saint Francis.
Context of Service
Peer ministers serve as positive role models with and among their peers by living in a way that is consistent with the gospel and the Catholic-Franciscan mission, identity, and ethos of the university. Moreover, they provide leadership in living out the university’s Franciscan values:
- Reverence the unique dignity of each person;
- Encourage a trustful, prayerful community of learners;
- Serve one another, society, and the Church;
- Foster peace and justice; and
- Respect creation.
The witness of peer ministers is inviting and welcoming to others (e.g., not heavy-handed or judgmental). They respect others’ religious commitments and, as such, do not proselytize.
Peer ministers receive formation to cultivate and integrate their faith in daily life and to develop ministerial, leadership, and engagement and facilitation skills. Moreover, the program offers spiritual mentorship, peer support, and evaluation to peer ministers.
This formation begins with the Peer Ministry Spring Formation Meeting near the end of the academic year prior to the year of service as a peer minister (noon to 2:30 pm on April 24, 2015). The Peer Ministry Formation Retreat (August 14-16, 2015) and the university-wide Student Leadership Training and Development program (August 17-20, 2015), which includes particular sessions for peer ministers, follows this and takes place just before the fall semester commences. At the beginning of the spring semester, peer ministers also partake in the university-wide Student Leader Retreat, which includes particular sessions for peer ministers.
During the fall and spring semesters, peer ministers meet once monthly for an hour and a half for prayer and faith-sharing, further formation, and planning. Throughout this time, student leaders are required to meet once monthly with an approved spiritual mentor to converse about their spiritual growth and integration, along with life challenges and opportunities.
Finally, all peer ministers are required to participate in one Koinonia retreat before or within their first year of service as a peer minister.
Given their formation, and with supervision and clear expectations, Peer Ministers specifically assist Campus Ministry staff with (minimal expectations):
- the planning and celebration of Sunday night Masses (participation in weekly Sunday night Masses in the St. Francis Chapel during the fall and spring semesters is required);
- food and fellowship (e.g., Agape Latte and Fair Trade Coffee House) following Sunday night Masses (participation is required—at least a half hour);
- the planning, leadership, and participation in one of the following integrative faith and service groups:
(NB: peer ministers may belong to multiple groups as a member; however, they may only serve as a leader or a facilitator in one group);
- and one of the following:
Peer ministers are encouraged to help with or partake in other Campus Ministry events as they are available and interested (e.g., Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament for Adoration, Rosary, Stations of the Cross during Lent, Open House, Halloweenie Roast, Mardi Gras Party, Easter Sundae Bar, Living Nativity, SCAN Easter Baskets, and Alternative Spring Break Trip). They are also encouraged to collaborate with and partake in offerings of USF religious and service groups, such as Legacy and Cougars Care.
The university bestows a financial grant each semester to peer ministers who do not already receive art, athletic, or music grants. Currently, $500 is deducted from tuition or room and board bills each semester.
Application and Selection
Students of any and all faith traditions are welcome and encouraged to apply for peer ministers positions through USF’s common student leadership application. Applications, including recommendations, for the 2016-17 academic year will be available on Monday, December 7, 2015 and must be received by 5 pm on Friday, January 29, 2016. Interviews of applicants will take place throughout the month of February. By Friday, March 4, 2016, applicants will be informed as to whether they have been selected for positions or not (right before Spring Break).
Terms of Service
Peer ministers must be in good standing academically and behaviorally (as determined by the Dean of Students). They are not employees of the University of Saint Francis (e.g., they are not Campus Ministry staff members), nor are they or the university bound to any contractual or financial agreement. All students partake in the Peer Ministry Formation Program at the sole discretion of the Director of Campus Ministry and the director’s superiors (i.e., the Assistant Vice President for Mission Integration, the Vice President for Academic Affairs, and the President).