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African-American students having a conversation outdoors in from of the University

Source: Vladimir Vladimirov / Getty

Parents have many concerns as their college students leave for school.  The experience of living away from home for the first time, managing time and finances as well as achieving success in the classroom can be overwhelming for students.  The issue of finding a faith community away from home is also a legitimate concern for students and their parents.  Campus Ministries reportedly made an appearance on college campuses in the mid-1960s.  The Catholic Church is changing their approach to students, especially at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.  Catholic News Service says “that Blacks are a minority within the U.S. Catholic Church, numerically, but they trail only a few Protestant denominations when it comes to total members.” They say the key to campus ministry today is to meet students where they are physically and to consider what is their frame of mind.

Josephite Father Elido Jerome, Xavier University, told Catholic News Service that he “had to go out to the campus community to engage the students. They will not come to your office or anything like that. ” And although Catholics  are approximately one-fourth of the student body, Jerome also pointed out to Catholic News Service that their center is open to all faith traditions.

According to Catholic News Service, Howard University’s Father Robert Boxie says “our responsibility, our role is to find them.”

And Father Urey Mark, Atlanta University Center told Catholic News Service that “our mission has been inclusivity, hospitality and inspiration that provides the opportunity for college students to belong to a faith community.” (Atlanta University Center serves Morehouse College, Spelman College and Clark-Atlanta University)

All leaders agree that their goal is to create future leaders in the Catholic church.