Campus Ministry implements distance devotions


Antonio Maffei

Campus Ministry has offered numerous virtual services to the Riordan body.

Jamar Kittling '20, News Editor

With the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic and the shelter-in-place order, Campus Ministry is just one of the many groups who has to adapt to the implications of this canceled school year. 

Director of Campus Ministry Alex Datoc ’87 lamented about the multitude of canceled Campus Ministry events due to the school’s abrupt cancellation.

“For example, our LIFE Team could not hold any MLCs on campus, our student body masses were cancelled, our International Drive for the Marianist elementary school in Nairobi, Kenya and our Blood Drive were cancelled.  And finally, our Sophomore Retreat, Junior Retreat and Senior Kairos were canceled for the remainder of the year.”

Future plans to provide summer Kairos are still up in the air, as they are dependent on the future shelter-in-place orders. 

The faith leaders of Archbishop Riordan have the new challenge of spreading the faith to a dispersed student body. Despite these impediments, the staff of Campus Ministry has found various ways to reach out to the Riordan community. 

One of the most routine functions of Campus Ministry are the daily prayers. With a special prayer given in the morning and the Three O’Clock Prayer recited before school is over, these daily prayers are a universal experience for the Riordan body.

“Key people and [the] administration quickly began distance learning and so, I felt that prayer should also continue,” Datoc said.

Key people and the administration quickly began distance learning and so, I felt that prayer should also continue.”

— Alex Datoc '87, Campus Ministry Director

On March 30, Datoc continued this tradition by emailing the prayers each day. 

The mass planned on March 25 to celebrate the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord was recognized through Riordan’s Chaplain Father Goran Jonovic’s reflection. The reflection includes links to the mass’ readings as well as music from the Marianist Choir. This is extended to weekly messages from Father Jovicic, providing mass readings to the many who are unable to attend mass. 

These efforts are extended by Campus Ministry through providing virtual mass through different means and sources. Datoc said, “The adjustments and changes we had to do was to: offer masses via live-stream through EWTN (Eternal World Television Network), offer Fr. Harry Schlitt’s masses where we have student lectors reciting the readings, and refer to local parish live-stream masses.”

Additionally, Campus Ministry decided to serve during Holy Week by offering a drive-thru Confession Service on Tuesday, April 7. “Watching the news some time in late March, I saw a news segment where a priest from New Jersey offering drive-thru reconciliation and I thought that we could do the same, said Datoc.” After receiving the Archdiocese’s blessing, the school administrators set out to offer this drive-thru service on the field. 

Despite the potential challenges in offering this service while maintaining social distancing, Datoc describes the reception as positive overall. “I received several emails from parents thanking us for offering the opportunity.  Dr. Currier, Fr. Goran, and I felt very good and inspired knowing that we offered reconciliation to our community,” Datoc said. 

Campus Ministry is showing no signs of slowing down. Datoc addresses plans of tackling many of the canceled events that would have taken place farther along in this last quarter, especially for the senior class.

It’s giving us a sense of normality and it’s helping keep our community together through these tough times.”

— Jacob Castillo '21

He said, “Our LIFE Team is planning a virtual MLC for the students, the prayer service portion of the 2020 Senior Farewell, and the 2020 Baccalaureate Mass.”

The hope is that the virtual nature of these events will allow them to be compiled for the seniors to commemorate their time at Archbishop Riordan. 

Overall, the actions of Campus Ministry are taken to propagate the absent feeling students may feel during this unprecedented time.

Jacob Castillo ’21 finds that the new daily prayers in many ways establish the normality in the Riordan Community, “I feel like it’s giving us a sense of normality and it’s helping keep our community together through these tough times,” he said. “I think it’s been very helpful in the sense that it’s a good way for reflection and a safe place for us to go when we want to pray and feel that feeling again.”