Where am I?
Overview and Philosophy First and foremost, we believe that pastoral ministry must be Christ-centered. In both the ministry itself (via retreats, prayer services, Masses, community service, etc.) and the minister himself (or herself), the first goal of pastoral ministry should be to connect to Jesus Christ. Connecting to Jesus, alive and active in our world, means connecting to the people of this community, to the students (on their terms), and to the faculty, staff, and administration.
We believe in the possibility of conversion. We believe in the grace of God, working through many various channels. That grace is present certainly in the Sacraments, those instruments of grace par excellance. To that end, the Sacramental life of the school needs appropriate tending, careful planning, and thorough care. In addition, God's grace is present in the everyday working of the school, in its administration, in the teaching, in the learning, in the service, and in the fun. Thus, pastoral ministry must be ready to respond to the ever-changing movements of the Holy Spirit in the community, in their new ideas and in their energy. For this reason, we believe we can never allow pastoral ministry to grow stagnant. It must be fresh and engaging.
Like the Catholic Church itself, our school faces many difficult questions over the next 20 years. How will we respond to the needs of our students, as those needs change over time? What about the at-risk students, the marginalized students, or those with special needs? We believe that Pastoral Ministry should be a place where those students feel accepted, loved, and encouraged. In addition, one of the jobs of pastoral care is to take the teachings of the Church (which can be seen at times as harsh, unyielding, or inflexible) and help individuals come to grips with these teachings and to understand them more deeply on a personal level. The pastoral minister must exercise prudence and discernment and deep care in responding to the various needs of the students of this school.
St. Louis University High School is a special place. It is an environment where learning and educational excellence are prized commodities, even among the students. The faculty is dedicated, hard-working, and professional. The students are zealous for achievement and leadership. All these traits are very good. However, we can at times lose sight of the bigger picture, in our quest for academic and personal excellence. We believe that one of the key roles of Pastoral Ministry is to be the presence that reminds the school that we are, above all else, a Catholic Jesuit institution founded on the ideals of the Catholic Church and the Society of Jesus. When there were 50 Jesuits at SLUH, this role was perhaps less critical, but now the role is crucial. Therefore, the director of Pastoral Ministry needs to be a visible, positive sign of the ultimate reason that we are all here: for the greater glory of God. St. Ignatius knew something important about priorities. Ignatius and the early members of the Society knew that any good thing comes from God, and should be offered back to God. Pastoral Ministry at SLUH needs to continue to be that reminder in this school, especially as our numbers of Jesuits decrease. The Pastoral Department must be able to speak, with passion, about the importance of the spiritual life and of the essential connection to our Church and our God, in all that we do, in our achievement and our excellence, as St. Louis University High School.
- To incorporate a Christ-centered approach to all of the ministries of the Pastoral Department.
- To aid in the ongoing spiritual development of the students of SLUH.
- To foster a climate of trust and openness among the members of the Pastoral Department.
- To maintain the excellent tradition of retreats and service days of the current Pastoral department.
- To serve as an outlet for students wishing to be involved in the faith life of the school, via all-school Masses, prayer services, and retreats.
- To work with the administration in making wise decisions for the future of the Pastoral Department.
- To give a consistent reminder of the intimate connection between SLUH and the Catholic Church and the Society of Jesus.