As another school year comes to a close, friars working in educational settings are adjusting to life on empty campuses. Two friars involved in campus ministry — one at a high school and one at a college — took time to share what their summer plans are now that school is out and, per the calendar, the seasons change on Friday.
High School Ministry
The academic year ended for Paul Santoro, OFM, on May 31, and he is already planning events for Santa Fe Catholic High School’s fall semester.
“It is quiet here with only administrators and staff at the school,” said the friar, who is based in Lakeland, Fla. “Since school ended, I have been planning for events coming up in the fall semester, namely our new student orientation, all school retreat, and Polk County Catholic Schools service day.”
Beginning June 24, he will be working with 25 students and 10 adults during a week of community service in Lakeland. They will be providing volunteers to five local non-profit organizations for six hours each day. After that, he will go on a cross-country road trip with Michael Madden, OFM, of St. Petersburg, Fla., who celebrates his 50th anniversary of profession this year.
“We intend to visit places like the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Hollywood, the Franciscan missions in California, St. Louis, Memphis and Savannah before returning to St. Petersburg,” Paul said. “We have an ambitious trip planned and look forward to a leisurely drive across the country.
“Before I know it, we’ll be back in full swing,” he added. “The new students arrive on August 12.”
Though the University of Georgia’s graduation was in May, many students are still on campus for summer classes, according to Thomas Vigliotta, OFM. “Although the numbers are down considerably and we can actually get downtown without much traffic, there are still many weddings this summer for David Hyman, OFM, and me.”
They continue to minister to the sick and tend to those who have died. They are also preparing plans for next year.
“We are trying to find ways for our students to get involved in the ongoing formation, both in Thursday Night Theology and Just Faith as well as the many other groups that are present at the center,” Thomas said. “These are for the students and our adult community, and also for the religious education program we offer formation to over 200 kids.”
The interior of the Catholic Center’s chapel was recently renovated. “We are still most grateful to Fred Dilger, OFM, for all of his guidance,” Tom said. Now the Catholic Center Hall roof is undergoing much needed construction.
“We are grateful to the adult members of our faith community who have made all of this a possibility both in their words and deeds,” he said.
— Compiled by Maria Hayes with research by Jocelyn Thomas
Editor’s note: The HNP Communications Office welcomes friars to submit reflections about holidays, feast days and other topics of a timely nature. Those interested in submitting a reflection for consideration for a future issue of HNP Today should contact communications director Jocelyn Thomas by email at JThomas@hnp.org.