Notre Dame’s new Campus Ministry wing includes a place to use computers and a beverage station.
Notre Dame’s new Campus Ministry wing includes a place to use computers and a beverage station.

Now in use for the new academic year, the recently constructed Campus Ministry Wing in Notre Dame High School, Lawrenceville, will provide students with additional space to compliment the school’s Christian Service-Learning Program.

“Campus Ministry is an integral part of the spiritual life of our Notre Dame students,” said Ken Jennings, school president. “They needed a new light and airy space that would allow for quiet reflection as well as a space for discussion and prayer with classmates and the campus ministers.”

The new space adjoins the school’s chapel, accessible by a shared door. On the other side of the chapel is the Service Room, which completes the Campus Ministry Wing. Funding for the project was provided by proceeds from Notre Dame’s Spring Fling auction, the school’s largest fundraiser, held last May.

“It is such a blessing to have this new larger space,” said campus minister Kathy Maley. “Our students energize our program, and with the new space comes endless new opportunities for campus ministry programs.”

Notre Dame’s nationally recognized Christian Service-Learning Program clocks more than 30,000 student hours each year; the school was a recent recipient of the Jefferson Award for Community Service.

The new wing was designed with the help of Dr. Michael St. Pierre, executive director of the Catholic Campus Ministry Association. Dr. St. Pierre put the campus ministers in touch with several universities around the country to get ideas on how best to arrange the space for students.

“We’ve always been in the tiniest rooms; this room is over double the size,” Maley explained. “We have all new furniture, the sides of the chairs have small desks that students can use, and there’s a space to plug in their computers.” The room also has hot chocolate and coffee, which attracts students initially, and “then they end up staying,” she continued. “It’s become so popular.”

The new wing – which is open as long as Maley or Tracy Reed, campus ministry and Catholic Identity head, are present – also functions as a bit of a rejuvenating zone, Maley noted. “It’s a touchpoint for kids. They come here to decompress after a bad test or bus experience, relationship issues … We support them. Tracy or I sit with them and get to know them, and then they get comfortable sharing if they need to.

“This is the first year I’ve seen freshmen in here,” Maley continued. “Before it used to be so tight and just seniors came, so it was intimidating. Now I have a lot of underclassmen using the space as well. I see a lot more teachers here, too.”

Campus ministers hope to have an open house for the Campus Ministry Wing sometime after Thanksgiving to reintroduce the new space.

“During our school Open House, parents coming through were very impressed and grateful for what this space is,” Maley said. “The students were talking to the parents about why they come down [to the wing]. One of the girls said we become like their second moms!”