KINGSTON — The Catholic Center on the bustling University of Rhode Island campus offers a quiet place where students, faculty and staff can pray, attend daily Mass, make new friends and socialize in a welcoming, peaceful environment.
“It’s the Catholic Church community on campus,” began Father S. Matthew Glover, university Catholic chaplain and director of the Catholic Campus Center. Many students also visit the center seeking advice and spiritual counseling, or to receive the sacrament of reconciliation.
“One of the greatest joys as chaplain is helping students to grow closer to God in a real way while experiencing college life,” said Father Glover, who has served as the URI Catholic chaplain for three years.
“It’s the biggest parish in the state,” he added. “It (the campus) really is its own community.”
As university chaplain, Father Glover ministers to Catholics across the sprawling campus at all hours of the day or night, often times in case of an emergency such as the death of a parent or other family member.
At the center, Father Glover celebrates daily Mass and directs the 60-member Newman Club, which sponsors retreats and social activities, and whose participants volunteer in local food pantries and meal kitchens, Habitat for Humanity projects and travel annually on a mission trip to Nicaragua.
Members of the Newman Club also participate
According to the busy priest, many worshippers from the area join members of the university Catholic community for Sunday night Mass, celebrated at 8 p.m. at Christ the King Church, located adjacent to the campus.
“My job as a priest is extended into the late hours,” Father Glover admitted, noting that many students stop by the center after Sunday night Mass or studying to meet friends, use the recreation room or enjoy a light snack.
Father Glover noted that one of the many blessings of his campus ministry is being able to share his faith by being invited to deliver guest lectures in various courses, and meeting monthly with other members of the Chaplains Association to discuss relevant campus issues and share concerns.
“We’re always looking for ways to engage the community,” Father Glover said, noting that the chaplains work to promote peace, tolerance and building strong partnerships within the university community.
The respected chaplain emphasized that it’s a privilege to minister to college-aged students.
“It’s a great time to develop relationships with God and friends,” Father Glover said. “It’s a joy to be part of that process.”
At the Campus Ministry Center at Rhode Island College, Providence, Brandi Jackson, a junior communications major, relaxes with her friends between classes. She visits the center almost every day.
“It’s a place where I can go when I need to think or if I have a problem,” she said, adding that she often discusses important issues with Deacon Michael Napolitano, director of campus ministry.
“The center is a great place to hang out,” Jackson added, adding that students and faculty of all religious persuasions are welcome and treated with kindness and respect.”