Interfaith Chapel will soon provide individualized spiritual guidance and retreat opportunities for interested students. The program, which runs in conjunction with the Mercy Prayer Center, will begin early next year, as students return to campus.

“[The program] will help students as they are facing life choices,” Chaplain Sister Kathleen Wayne said.

The program is still in the planning stages, but is set to include monthly meetings with students and an annual retreat opportunity, according to Wayne.

Approximately 15 students will be able to use the program and meet with their guides on a monthly basis. Students will meet on campus as well as at the prayer center for their meetings.

Wayne along with Director of the Mercy Prayer Center Sister Jody Kearn received the grant from the Louisville Institute in December of 2002. The grant covers roughly $18,000 and the program will run for two and a half years.

Planning is still in the initial stages. “We are in the process of naming the coordinators of this program as well as gathering interested students to become student leaders in this endeavor,” Kearn said. Wayne hopes to continue planning until June and have the program ready by fall.

Coordinators will come not only from the Newman Community, but also include representatives from all faiths. Diverse student leaders will also begin working with students in September when the fall semester begins.Mercy Prayer Center is located on Highland Ave. roughly a mile away from campus which will provide space that students can easily walk to for meetings.

Kearn and Wayne emphasize the importance of this ecumenical program. “We are taking people where they’re at in their faith journey,” Wayne said. “The Prayer Center staff would be sensitive to that,” Wayne said in response to concerns over incorporating various faiths.

“We see this as another opportunity to help people in the process of discernment in their everyday lives,” Kearn said.

Although the Mercy Prayer Center does work with many Christian retreats and Christian spiritual direction, it also includes many non-denominational programs.

“We are helping people grow in whatever faith tradition they grew up in,” Wayne said.

Both Kearn and Wayne feel that the program is a needed response to concerns of students at UR. “At the same time we are excited about educating our spiritual directors to the needs of the millenial generation,” Kearn said.

Tanner can be reached at rtanner@campustimes.org.



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