It seems like the door is always open at Gonzaga’s University Ministry office. The staff, under the leadership of Craig Hightower, S.J., director, is busy preparing for the upcoming academic year during which 21 weekend retreats, hundreds of masses, and various other programs will be offered to students. These transformative faith opportunities are a hallmark of the “Gonzaga Experience.”
Students have many options to nourish their faith at Gonzaga. Individual spiritual direction is a year-round activity, says Father Hightower. “We are all about building the kingdom of God through all of our offerings.”
Two masses are offered six days a week, and the Sunday evening mass is extremely popular and well attended. The annual Pilgrimage retreat, now in its fourth decade, is a seven-mile hike through the forest to the Cataldo Mission. Some 230 students, faculty and staff or so take the trek each year.
A main focus beginning this year will be establishing Christian Life Communities (CLCs) on campus. CLCs are a 400-plus year tradition at Jesuit schools, Father Hightower says, and he hopes to see groups gather in the residence halls and beyond.
Several endowments already support University Ministry, primarily for student retreats, thanks to generous benefactors. A number of donors also contribute annual gifts in support of University Ministry, however, the CLCs are in need of additional support. “We are so blessed to have this support,” Father Hightower says. “Thank you to everyone who contributes. God is working through you and your generosity.”
Story by Carol Bonino, Gonzaga University