The Evangelical Catholic
Inspire, form, support, sustain
The Evangelical Catholic (EC) reaches and engages college students with the love of Christ and the truth of the Catholic faith.
Statistics show that one in five church-attending first-year college students will stop going to church altogether by their third year. However, there is a new spiritual vibrancy visible among young adult Catholics. Those who are active in the Church today are most likely, among all Catholics, to abstain from meat on Fridays during Lent and believe that Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist.2
To fulfill the new evangelization that Pope John Paul II so beautifully articulated, the EC harnesses the energy and enthusiasm of church-attending students through ongoing catechesis and spiritual formation so that the fire of their faith will reach their lapsed, alienated and unchurched peers.
Through training in small-group faith-sharing and peer mentoring, students are equipped to fulfill the role Paul VI asked of them in the renewal of the Church: "Young people who are well trained in faith and prayer must become more and more the apostles of youth," (Evangelii Nuntiandi, par. 72).
Students have the opportunity to take the good news beyond the church walls, as campus ministers never could: into the residence halls, to their activities, their classes—everywhere they go.
To accomplish this mission, the EC works to:
Inspire: In 2009-2010, over 500 young adults and pastoral ministers found hope and new direction in the EC’s mission-oriented methods at nationwide Wide Awake Conferences. The EC staff is frequently invited to present at national conferences focused on church renewal.
Form: Five-day Evangelization Training Camps held nationwide provide both a taste of a formational ministry culture and the intensive time necessary to impart EC methods. On-site workshops and leadership retreats offer concrete skills training and site-specific consulting on implementation.
Support: Virtual Institute webinars teach and problem solve with campus ministers and students; monthly conference calls are free and available to them. Print and web resources provide step-by-step content and guidance on facilitating small groups, peer mentoring and forming student peer mentors.
Sustain: The EC’s two-year Campus Ministry Training Program recruits, trains and, for the second year, places recent graduates in campus ministries, preferably on their undergraduate campuses where they can make a lasting difference in their community. Recent graduates from the program were undergraduates at Harvard, UNC-Chapel Hill and Marquette Universities.
The whole Church feels the benefit of evangelized and equipped young adults. Spiritually energized college students have already made an incredible difference: from volunteering with teen chastity programming (Archdiocese of Boston) to assisting in Confirmation retreat ministries (Diocese of Madison). Alumni have the competence and confidence to take the formation and evangelization tools they have received to parishes, graduate and professional schools and work places. They continue to build up the local Church through vocations to priesthood, religious life, and Catholic marriages and families because of the deep connection to Christ they formed while at college.
1. Astin, Alexander W., and Allen M. Carter. "Pew Forum: UCLA Study: Students Become More Spiritual in College." Interview by Mark O'Keefe. Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. 14 Feb. 2008. Web. http://pewforum.org/UCLA-Study-Students-Become-More-Spiritual-in-College.aspx.
2. Gray, Mark M. and Paul M. Perl. Sacraments Today: Belief and Practice among U.S. Catholics, page 83, 85-86. Apr. 2008. Raw data. Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.