Over the past three years, the number of students actively engaged in our ministry has increased dramatically. This is the first in a four part series to help people understand who we know our student parishioners to be, how we go about our mission of evangelizing and building up disciples among them, and our success stories.
In this part , I am sharing our general understanding of who our student parishioners are and where they are in their faith journeys. It is deliberately simple so as to provide a clear starting point for the creation and execution of our vision and a basis for how we allocate resources.
Who are Hoosier Catholics?
The unengaged are the largest group of Hoosier Catholics, comprising around 80% of the Catholics on campus. Simply put, they are not very interested in being an active member of the Catholic Church. They come to Mass sporadically, if at all. Faith and good works remain, for many, an important part of their lives, but its not really connected to their being Catholic. Their primary point of contact to St. Paul’s are friends who are engaged or committed.
The curious are interested in taking the next step in their Catholic faith (or joining the Church), but they are unsure how to take such a step or if they are ready to take it. They have big and difficult questions to ask and are starting to find answers in the Catholic Church. They may join a service group on their own but they need to be asked to attend Mass, a retreat or a small group. They have started to build Catholic relationships with the engaged and committed. They comprise about 10% of Hoosier Catholics.
The engaged intentionally practice their Catholic faith. They take the initiative to attend Mass, a weekly small group, or a retreat. They still have unanswered questions but they have found a home in the Church and are starting to put their faith into action in every aspect of their lives. Daily prayer, regular Confession, regular service and a few intentional Catholic friendships are hallmarks of this group. They comprise about 7% of Hoosier Catholics.
The committed define their lives through their identity in Christ and their Catholic faith. They pray daily, lead small groups, staff retreats, come to daily Mass, go to Eucharistic Adoration. They have a heart for service and evangelization and a desire to accompany others in their faith journeys. They comprise about 3% of Hoosier Catholics.
Fr. Patrick is a Dominican priest and the Campus Minister.