2020-21 Formation Programs
Our formation programs in Campus Ministry, Christian Service and Global Education are critical components of our mission to form leaders in faith, scholarship and service. While the pandemic will change the way these programs operate in the coming year, we are committed to offering students the opportunity to grow in faith, their commitment to service and global awareness and competency.
Fortunately, we have resources at our disposal for weathering life’s storms, thanks to the legacy of St. Ignatius of Loyola, who lived in the ever-changing world of the sixteenth century. The Jesuits learned early on that to live the life of a disciple in the emerging modern world required an embrace of change, a commitment to “adaptability,” and a confidence that God would be present in all times and climes. Ignatius would have applauded the saying, “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to have changed often.”
We are invited in our moment to live out that Ignatian embrace, commitment, and confidence. We showed ourselves willing and able to do that last spring, from the embrace of new ways to serve remotely, to the commitment to continue our academic mission through distance learning, to the confidence displayed in God’s abiding presence as we developed new ways to foster our spiritual lives individually and in communion with each other.
The dedicated faculty who oversee our formation programs are continuing to try to find ways to adapt to circumstances to maintain our core commitments to faith, scholarship, and service and to the full development of the young men in our charge. Our top priority will always be the health and safety of our students. Below you can read about the innovative ways each program will operate during the coming year. Adjustments and changes of course may be made as we progress through the year and as circumstances related to the pandemic change.
We look forward to the new opportunities this challenging time will bring and the opportunity to continue to engage our students and families in our mission of faith, scholarship and service.
Vice President for Mission Integration and Planning
Campus Ministry’s core mission is to support the faith development of all students of the Fordham Prep community. As we enter into the 2020-21 academic year we remain committed to offering spiritual programming inspired by God’s Spirit and enlightened by the wisdom of our Ignatian, Catholic tradition while adhering to necessary safety and health protocols. We continue to look forward to partnering with your sons as they grow as young men of faith, scholarship and service.
Retreat and Faith Formation Programs
Freshmen: In Campus Ministry we have the privilege of planning events that will help your son deepen his commitment to service and faith. One very important event that will take place in freshman year is our annual Freshman Retreat. For years this has been one of the highlights of the year for the class. It is an opportunity for your son to get to know his classmates and upperclassmen better, and to explore the role faith plays in his life. We have found that it is a moment that helps freshmen really feel at home at the Prep.
The 2020-21 Freshman Retreat will take place on March 25, 26 and 27. The retreat activities include an after-school session on Thursday, March 25 from 2:30-6:30 pm and an overnight from Friday, March 26 at 8:30 am to Saturday, March 27 at 11 am. The retreat is mandatory for all freshmen so we ask that you plan accordingly for the upcoming year. We will send further details about the retreat throughout the year.
Sophomores: Unfortunately, current sophomores were unable to participate in last year’s Freshman Retreat. We are in the midst of planning a hybrid “Best of the Freshman Retreat” model to occur in the Fall Semester. This model will not include the overnight portion, but will incorporate the many successful elements that so many of our students have experienced over the years. The date will be sent out as soon as it is determined. In addition to the hybrid “Best of the Freshman Retreat” experience, we have scheduled three Discovery retreats beginning in December. These are our traditional retreat experiences for sophomores, focused on discovery of self, others and God in one’s life and will be conducted as long as it is deemed safe to do so.Currently dates for Discovery retreats are: December 15-17, February 3-5 and March 29-31. Sign-ups will occur once school begins. If we are unable to hold these retreats due to safety measures we plan on offering a virtual “Journey to Discovery” experience for Sophomores in the Spring semester. This experience will run over several weeks with weekly meetings and small groups led by adults and senior members of the Ministry Leadership Team.
Juniors: During the Fall, we will be offering the “Road to Emmaus” virtual retreat experience. This program will run several weeks, and participants will meet weekly online and in person when feasible. The program will be piloted by senior members of the Ministry Leadership Team (MLT), incorporate elements derived from the Emmaus retreat program and then offered to Juniors later in the first quarter led by both adults and Seniors on MLT. We are then planning to offer the traditional Emmaus retreats in the second semester when deemed safe to do so. Dates for all programs will be announced in the next few weeks and sign-ups will occur when school begins.
Seniors: For seniors unable to attend Emmaus last year, we will be offering a hybrid/virtual Emmaus experience this fall. Elements of this experience will occur both virtually and in-person on school grounds while adhering to safe social distancing. Dates and sign-ups will occur once school begins. In addition seniors will be invited to attend the Senior Ad Amorem retreat which will take place February 24-26. Sign-ups will take place once school begins.
Prayer and Liturgical Ministries/Opportunities
Liturgical Celebrations: This year we will continue to celebrate our school-wide community Masses throughout the year; each planned by a Liturgy Committee made up of faculty and students. While in-person participation will be limited due to social distancing constraints for now, the entire community will be invited to participate virtually and we will still need students to participate in a variety of ways.
Daily Prayer/Virtual Prayer Group and Intentions: As we began in the spring, we will continue to offer student-led morning prayer, opportunities to submit prayer intentions virtually, and all will once again be invited to be a part of the virtual prayer team to pray for intentions submitted by members of the Prep community.Reconciliation Services adhering to safe social distancing practices are being planned for each grade during Advent and Lent.
Social Justice and Outreach: The Social Justice Committee is a voluntary group open to all students and faculty/staff interested in justice issues. The committee serves as the leader in educating the Prep community on specific justice issues. They will continue to meet virtually to plan assemblies, special events, and lobbying and letter writing efforts related to current legislation. In the past they have focused on issues such as Environmental Sustainability, Immigration, Poverty, and Human Trafficking. This year environmental sustainability and racial justice will be a focus.The Just Serve Club, a subgroup of the Campus Ministry Board, is a voluntary group open to all students. The goal of the group is to learn about justice issues and how Catholic Social Teaching impacts our understanding of these issues. Armed with this knowledge the group plans service and advocacy projects related to these justice issues. The group will meet virtually for the first semester and will assess as the year progresses.The Ignatian Family Teach-in, which will be held virtually this year, invites students and faculty to gather with Jesuit schools throughout the country. This event sponsored by the Ignatian Solidarity Network will invite participants to reflect on various justice issues and learn skills to do effective advocacy work.
Michael Kravatz (Director of Campus Ministry)
The Prep’s Christian Service Program is in full Ignatian “adaptability” mode as it seeks to find new ways to ensure that service continues to be an integral part of every student’s experience. In light of challenges posed by the pandemic and our paramount commitment to the protection of our students, all service the Prep authorizes and promotes will be remote for the foreseeable future. When, in the judgement of health officials, civil authorities, and our administration, it is safe to return to direct service, we will begin a process of transition, respecting the different sensitivities of all in our community. Requirements will be reexamined and adjusted in the spirit of cura personalis.
Freshmen, in their mentor groups, will band together to create and seed a new fund to help people in distress. The pandemic has made us acutely aware that so many of our sisters and brothers live on the brink of catastrophe, lacking the support systems and safety nets that most of us take for granted. Freshmen will be introduced to a number of agencies, including POTS, that provide emergency relief to people who are one setback away from dire straits. They will hear stories about people who could have been spared a devastating turn if short-term assistance had been available. The service efforts of our freshmen to collect funds and materials will represent a “bridge over troubled waters” for our neighbors.
Sophomores will also serve through their mentor groups. They will gain an understanding of some of the systemic causes of human suffering and begin to appreciate that lasting solutions to many problems will require changes to economic, social, educational, medical, and legal structures. Our second-year students will be inspired to support in remote ways local, regional, national, and international social justice causes that share Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision that “the moral arc of the universe is long, but bends toward justice."
Juniors will continue to be the main providers of service needed within the Prep’s walls. We will call upon them to continue to support Prep events that require student presence in accordance with current health guidelines. Juniors will take an active, though remote, role in responding to needs in our neighborhood (Community Board 6) and in their home communities. They will be invited to build on the great work the entire Prep community did this summer in writing letters, creating entertaining videos, and collecting essential items for our agency partners. Their traditional 15-hour requirement will be re-evaluated and adjusted as needed as the year unfolds.
Seniors will still be required to complete a major capstone service project for graduation. They will be enrolled in a service class that meets once per cycle under the supervision of a faculty/staff member. For as long as direct service at our partner agencies is not an option, we will pivot to remote service and a new curriculum designed to be a “deeper dive” into the call to serve and to live in kinship with others, particularly people who have been marginalized. That revised curriculum will be grounded in the four weeks of the Spiritual Exercises and integrate elements of Ignatian pedagogy and the Jesuit Universal Apostolic Preferences. In lieu of the traditional 70-hour requirement, each senior, in collaboration with his service teacher, will develop and carry out a substantive project of his own design or with a small group of other seniors to help an organization whose mission is aligned with our Catholic identity and values and to bring that cause to the attention of the entire Prep community.
These transitions will not be easy for anyone and will surely involve some missteps. We will strive to be patient, constructive in our feedback, open to change, always trusting that Providence smiles upon the good works of our young men. Thanks in advance for your understanding and please don’t hesitate to contact me with questions or suggestions for ways in which we can live out our call to be a community “for and with others.”
Mr. Paul Homer (Director, Christian Service Program)
Although all of our trips were cancelled for the summer of 2020, we hope to run some “make-up” trips during the school year (likely in 2021). Because of the generosity of so many donors, we have been able to support both of our long-standing partners, having donated $5,000 to the Working Boys’ Center in Ecuador and $35,000 to Appalachia Habitat for Humanity in Tennessee. We hope to be able to have a full offering of trips in the summer of 2021; we will determine those offerings and corresponding application dates during the school year, but most likely no earlier than January.
Nelson Ritter (Coordinator of Christian Service Immersion Program)
Brian Sullivan (Assistant Coordinator)
Considering the likelihood that international travel will not be possible in the 2020-2021 academic year, the program is considering the following initiatives which will continue to allow students to grow in Global competency and to connect with others students in our vast network of Jesuit schools world-wide. These programs have been conceived with the possibility of participating in a face-face, virtual, or hybrid school environment.
Global Scholars Program: This is a two-year program that will give students who successfully complete it an academic designation of Global Scholar. Students will need to take part in and complete numerous activities which will culminate in the creation of a Global Education research project,that will be included along with other reflections and artifacts in a final portfolio.
Global Education Round Tables: These presentations, often facilitated by an outside speaker, will invite students to learn and dialogue about a variety of international justice issues.
Global Education Book Club: Two books on a global justice issue will be selected, one in the fall and one in the spring. Students will meet every other week during the reading period and write reflections on their readings.
Virtual Exchanges: Looking to our current partner Jesuit schools, as well as new potential partners, we will pair students from different schools. The students will exchange reflections, sometimes written, other times by video, on questions, articles, prompts, and/or topics. The student will view each other's work and get to know each in a more profound way.
School Wide Awareness Campaigns: Using the UN International Days of Observance as a guide, students in the Global Scholars Program will lead an awareness campaign, which will feature posters, announcements, social media posts, Hall of Honor exhibits, and assemblies.
Around the World Events: This program will host events that feature different cultures through film, food, virtual tours that will spark the desire to explore the world.
Teresa Di Vita-Geremia (Coordinator of Global Education)
Pierre Chavez (Assistant Coordinator)
Each year we offer a number of programs for parents to engage our mission of faith and service. You can find a full listing of those programs in the Ignatian Ministries of the Prep website. If an in-person event is not possible we will do our best to hold each event virtually. Below are two programs that will be available as the year begins.
Wednesday Morning Prayer with St. Ignatius
Held in the Prep Chapel each Wednesday at 8:45 AM, this program invites parents to pray in the Ignatian tradition. Each 10-15 minute session introduces participants to an Ignatian form of prayer, including the Examen, gospel contemplation and Lectio Divina. We will continue this program virtually this fall. Prayers recorded from the Prep chapel can be found at www.fordhamprep.org/wednesdayprayer each Wednesday morning.
Living in Faith Podcast
Our weekly podcast shares insights and reflections from members of the Prep community on how to live in faith and hope during challenging times. Listen here.