Campus ministry to remain active throughout pandemic

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Photo by Jordan Johnson

Church of Gesu is located on Wisconsin Avenue.

Though the university has suspended public Masses on campus due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, members of the Marquette community can continue to attend Sunday Masses virtually.

The liturgies will be celebrated in the Madonna Della Strada Chapel located in Zilber Hall by Fr. James Voiss, vice president for Mission and Ministry. The masses will be live-streamed through Marquette’s Facebook and Instagram accounts around 9 a.m. Central Standard Time.

“We encourage students to make use of these resources, especially on Sundays to celebrate the Lord’s Day, but also on a daily basis,” Stephen Blaha, assistant director of Campus Mission and Ministry, said.

A campus shutdown has been enacted to stop the spread of the coronavirus and ensure students, staff, and faculty stay healthy until April 10th, according to a Marquette Today release from March 12th.

The Office of Mission and Ministry, among other offices within the university, has suspended campus programs and will not be available through the Alumni Memorial Union until students return to campus.

The Office of Mission and Ministry’s website states that Archbishop Jerome Listecki has suspended the public celebration of Mass throughout the Archdiocese of Milwaukee through Friday, April 3th. This includes the Church of the Gesu located on Wisconsin Avenue.

St. Joan of Arc Chapel has also closed, and no other Masses will be held at any sacred space on university property, Blaha said. He said he encourages any student, family member or other interested person to attend the virtual Sunday Masses.

If the online Masses cannot be accessed, Blaha personally suggests SJCathedralMKE on YouTube or Notre Dame’s Sunday Mass on Catholic TV for other prayer resources. SJCathedralMKE uploads daily Mass delivered from Milwaukee’s Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist.

Blaha added that the Campus Ministry team can reach out to students who want live conversations.

“Our campus Ministry Team will happily connect with students via Skype and or Microsoft Teams,” Blaha said. “Our website and social media pages offer terrific up to date information and recommendations on how to get and stay connected.”

Mary Sue Callan-Farley, the director of Campus Mission and Ministry, said all the office’s direct and sponsored programs like Midnight Run will not operate until at least April 10.

“All regularly scheduled events or projects that can’t be accomplished electronically have been postponed until students return to campus,” she said in a email.

Midnight Run is a student organized community service group where volunteers assist homelessness, poverty, and hunger in the Milwaukee community in meal programs, shelters, and pantries.

“We ask members of the Marquette community to support these agencies and outreach efforts closer to their current geographical locations by connecting with the agency,” Blaha mentioned in an email as the suspension of volunteer service work will detriment to the various communities they serve.

Some ministry groups still plan to meet online, Callan-Farley said. These groups include the Rite of Christian Initiation, which is for students seeking to enter or receive sacraments in the Catholic Church. The meetings will be held through Microsoft Teams.

Dan Burke, a first year in the College of Arts & Sciences, reflected on the changing reality of his faith practices. As a professed Christian, Burke said he will utilize online resources in place of going to Sunday Mass.

“I think it is a great way that if you cannot get to Mass, you can easily access it online and it will be always be there or you,” Burke said.

Burke said that amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a person who chooses to celebrate Christianity or any faith can still feel connected to God and build a stronger relationship at home.

“It is important during this time to not lose faith and to do everything in your powers to keep your faith alive and practice it however possible,” Burke said.

Official updates and information will come out in a rolling basis and can be best accessed through the Campus Mission and Ministry website or their social media platforms.

For more information about the current status of the Church of the Gesu, visit its website at Geusparish.org

This story was written by JK Rees. He can be reached at james.rees@marquette.edu.