The College Connection Program

by Maryanne Bartos

Marianne Bartos, Jr High Faith Formation Coordinator at St. Bernadette Church told us about what she is doing to get the College Connection Program up and running in St. Bernadette Parish. This program assists those first attending college with all necessary information on how to stay in touch with the church and their faith.

A study completed by CARA (Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate) for the U. S. Bishops concerning Catholic Campus Ministry (November, 2005) confirmed a strong opinion that those who were active in Campus Ministry: attended Mass more often than those who did not participate in Campus Ministry; donated more to their Parishes; became leaders in the parishes; and were more likely to consider a vocation to the Priesthood or Religious Life. The obvious conclusion: increasing the number of students participating in Campus Ministry should greatly benefit the Church in many ways.

Interfacing this endeavor with the program created by Serra International permits its efficient adaptation for use in other parishes or locations. An overview of how the program at the parish level works is as follows.

•  The Serra Club gets the name, address, college, and location for each senior.

•  This information is placed on a special Excel file, which is obtained from Serra International.

•  Access the College Connection for Catholics website and print out three-page campus ministry packets with personal letters to each of our students.

•  Mail or distribute the packets.

Detailed steps on how to proceed were provided in the brochure Maryanne handed out at the Program Meeting. Packets should be sent to parents so that the proper action will take place.

The Catholic organizations in each school receives the student's names, and invites them to their Catholic community for fellowship and worship.

Miguel Zamora runs this program for the Bay Area Serra Club.

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