A Catholic in charge of interdenominational worship

Hey all. My name is Jennifer, and I’m a senior at the University of the Incarnate Word. For the past year, I’ve been working under Campus Ministry as a Peer Minister. My job has been to be the worship leader and coordinator of the interdenominational worship service at the university. Our worship service includes praise and worship, scripture readings, a student speaker, and “interdenominational” communion. Which we know is still Protestant communion. The preacher in charge is a non denominational preacher. He “does” the communion.

As a Catholic, I can’t take the communion, even though I’m the one putting the service together. I has been really interesting to work with protestants. Its sort of great because most of them didn’t even knew Catholics were Christians until I came along, so its been a really great opportunity to be an example and defender of the Catholic faith. :thumbsup:

Anyway, I was re-hired for my position again for the upcoming fall. And i was just wondering… is it wrong for me to have this position? :shrug: This position was intended to go to someone who is going into ministry. The whole thing is supposed to prepare those who want to go into ministry. And i do want to go into ministry, but Catholic ministry. Am i taking away a protestant’s opportunity? Or maybe God put me here to be a light and an example to Protestants. Anyway, the Protestant preacher guy is fine with it. He’s actually more Catholic than most Catholics I know. He’s just afraid to convert because of family and social issues. So maybe God put us both here to shed some light on some touchy issues between Catholics and Protestants? :confused:

What do you guys think?:shrug:

Pretty sure that assisting at a Protestant service is wrong.:o Evangelization/ecumenism doesn’t mean stooping to their level, it means sharing the Truth with them… not leading them in doing Protestant things.

I’d ask the advice of more than one trusted priest. If it were me, I’d confess this too, but that’s just me.

What can come out of this is all of the friends you have made - you still have a big chance to evangelize them outside of Protestant services. I wonder how they process that - a professed Catholic who comes to service just like us Protestants…

Your post indicates that you have this position at a Catholic university. I googled your university and I see it is Catholic. The service you describe is fine except for the communion service led by a minister, which is NOT fine at a Catholic university. What is a protestant/non-denominational campus ministry doing on a Catholic campus? Can you imagine Oral Roberts University inviting a Catholic priest to say mass there?? Or set up a Neuman Club? Of course not! It’s a disgrace this should happen at a Catholic university. Catholic universities do not prepare people to go into protestant ministry. (This is not to say that Protestant ministers should not take courses there.)

Perhaps you are doing this at a nearby campus and it’s not connected with your school?

It’s definitely wrong for you, as a Catholic, to be doing this and not something that the University of the Incarnate Word should be involved with. An ecumenical service with prayer, praise, and scripture readings is praiseworthy. An interdenominational protestant communion service is a travesty of the Eucharist when done under Catholic auspices. I agree you should talk to a trustworthy priest about this. And, if it’s being done on your campus, you should bring it to the attention of the bishop. It is that serious.

Oh, before you leave the position, tell the Protestant preacher guy that following his Lord wherever he’s being led is the most important thing in his life. If that’s into the Catholic church, then he should do it as soon as he can. Being faithful to Jesus is the most important thing, even if there are touchy issues involved.

“stooping to our level”…stay classy.

That phrase does have certain negative connotations. But you probably realize what Catholics believe about the Eucharist, that the mass makes Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross present to us today, that Jesus is present there in a way He is present nowhere else on earth, that He gives us Himself as our food and drink. Really. Not merely symbolically or spiritually.

Nothing, no other kind of worship service, can equal that. It’s on a whole other level. That’s the literal truth.

Jennifer, I think your heart and mind are in the right place, and I admire your taking a leadership role at the University as a Senior certainly should!

Who hired you for the position as a Peer Minister? And does this Catholic University know what this Worship Service entails? I would expect that any school-supported service of the kind you’ve described would have been run past some Catholic review board to deliver some kind of sanction to the affair. Your participation as a Catholic in a leading role does seem to skirt “pretty close to the edge” as far as Church regulations are concerned, though. Depending upon one’s viewpoint, I could see it as taking a unifying role in Christian relations, rather than as a stepping away from Catholic beliefs. Deferring the communion service to another leader of the group is certainly the proper move, though. Were I in your position, I’d run the whole picture past one of the Chaplain priests to be sure you’re not setting yourself up for some sort of scandal about a “Catholic participating in Protestant services” smear.

Off the topic, Jennifer, just what sort of Catholic ministry position do you anticipate for yourself? Around here, that job is usually handled by a nun…


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The …“stooping to their level”… comment is pretty much (oh, heck, very much!) a slap across the face to those readers here who aren’t yet Catholics.
Very poor choice of words… condescension and inordinate Pride are sinful attitudes.

My apologies to anyone who was offended by that verbal assault. :imsorry:

Yes, the University is a Catholic University, but it is a VERY liberal school. The only Catholic thing that this campus ministry has is mass. The person who hired me is a Catholic, but she’s about as close to a relativist as one can get. I’ve had a very difficult time with this campus ministry because of its relativist views, actually. :mad:

The reason I got involved with the interdenominational ministry was because there was nothing else I could do. I actually first got involved though the band. I sing, and my friend as the worship leader at the time and he asked me to sing with the band. And before I knew it, I had the leadership of Campus Ministry offering me a scholarship position to be in charge of the service!

We have more protestant or “interdenominational” services than we do Catholic ones. :frowning: Believe me, I was the first to be disappointed. We don’t even have adoration, although my roommate and I are trying to change that. It is a good idea to run this all by a priest, except the chaplain is VERY apathetic. Just to give you a glimpse of the poor state of the school: one of the Campus Ministry grad assistants is planning an INTERFAITH bible study! Not an interdenominational bible study. Interfaith! Meaning Catholics, Muslims, Hindus, etc. What they’ll study I have no clue, but this is something the University is seriously planning on doing! UIW is probably the worst Catholic school in existence, which is why I’ll most likely be going to Steubenville for grad school.

I will try to contact the Bishop, except until further notice, we’ll have no archbishiop! He just got transferred to LA to the the archbishiop there. So for now, we have nothing :frowning:

Please pray for me, as I am one out of maybe 3 Catholics on campus that see that all this is wrong. And please please pray for the leadership of the school. I’ve fought campus ministry all my years here standing up for what is right, and I’ve received alot of grief for it.:mad:

I’m going to try and find a priest in my home parish that can maybe give me some insight.

Something it has done that has been very beneficial is that it shows that Catholics love Jesus just as much as they do. We don’t worship a different God. After being friends with him for years, one of these protestant friends that has worked with me in the service will be converting to the Catholic faith! :slight_smile: That was something only the Holy Spirit could have done, especially with the poor shape of the school. And there’s a girl who grew up Baptist who also works with me who is becoming very interested in the Catholic faith.

Also, the service is just once a month.

I have had a somewhat similar experience. I was President of the Catholic Student Union at my school (Umass Lowell), but also involved with the Christian Student Fellowship on campus (non-denominational Christian group) because my gf is a protestant. I played and sang in the worship band during praise/worship nights, and was involved in some scriptural studies, service projects, etc…

I would be involved in anything that was not in conflict with Catholicism, but refused to participate in things like services. If during a bible study something came up that was in conflict with my faith, I tried to make sure that I spoke up for strongly for it (I wimped out sometimes, but I tried). I don’t think there is anything wrong with sharing the shared parts with them, as long as there is not conflict, and also to make sure your faith isn’t swayed in the midst of trying to be a good example as a Catholic. Every so often I would have to not go to the CSF functions if I felt that I wasn’t strong in an area and might be easily confused.

Thats just my experience, hope some of it might be useful.

Oh, just had to add, 2 students from the Christian group actually were confirmed in the Catholic faith this past year :slight_smile: . One was raised Catholic, became an Atheist, Christian, Catholic again, and is attending Franciscan Ohio for his Masters. The other was raised Catholic, left and was lost, somewhat Christian, and then came back home.

Some years back a man of little or no religion helped our KC with various charitable projects. When he died his widow asked us to provide a memorial service for him in the rec room of their housing. Our pastor, who was definitely on the conservative side, said that was fine. I was to do a gospel reading. The pastor suggested I do the first half of the Last Judgment - the judging of the sheep. I think it went well, and hopefully some people learned a bit from it.

See the good thing about running and coordinating the service is that mostly what I say goes. I make sure that nothing that goes on is in conflict with Catholicism (except the communion, which i have no control over). I’m in charge of picking the speakers, and screening their talks so make sure they aren’t saying anything that is in direct conflict with Christian views. And at the same time I’m able to choose speakers that I know are Catholic and won’t say anything that would compromise my beliefs :cool:.

If you’ve ever been on a retreat and heard the talks that are given, the service is like that. I pick a speaker and they speak on one topic that relates to a previously chosen scripture verse.

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