In the fall of 1999, Fr. Ron Knott was asked to become the Director of Catholic Worship at Bellarmine. He was the Archdiocesan Vocation Director in his “full-time” job, but he agreed. The following semester, Melanie-Prejean Sullivan became the part-time Director of Campus Ministry. With a merry band of 26 students, they had a vision of growing a program which would be “deliberately Catholic, consciously Christian, and unapologetically ecumenical and interfaith.” After several years as the Founder and Director for the Institute for Priests and Presbyterates as his ‘full-time” job, Fr. Knott retired from there but he continues to serve at BU. Melanie is full-time and she supervises seminarians from St. Meinrad, the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and Hebrew Union. They welcomed Karen Shadle in 2012 as the Assistant Director. She coordinated the liturgical life of the campus, chapel musicians, and advised Catholic student groups until she left to become the Director of the Office of Worship for the Archdiocese of Louisville in 2016. Her successor, Laura Kline joined the team as Assistant Director of Campus Ministry in the late summer of 2016.
Fr. Knott retired from Bellarmine in the summer of 2016 and the Conventual Franciscans from the St. Maximillian Kolbe province in Kerala, India. Friars John Pozhathuparambil and George Munjanattu currently serve as Campus Ministers. Peer Ministers serve the Residence Life staff and have joined the team to invite more students to join the merry band and expand their outreach. In the last 17 years, nearly 100 students who were active in Bellarmine campus ministry who have gone on to pursue vocational calls in some type of ministry within their churches, temples, or synagogues.
Our campus affiliated with the Interfaith Youth Core to form a chapter of Better Together in 2015. Campus Ministry today includes programs for all students in nearly a dozen active faith-based organizations and scripture study groups with over 450 members. They are Catholics, Orthodox Christians, Mainline Protestants, Cooperative and Southern Baptists, Evangelical and Independent Christians, Reform and Conservative Jews, American and International Muslims, Pagans, Buddhists, Hindus, Unitarians, Atheists, Agnostics, Humanists, and Secularists. All are welcome in Campus Ministry.
What about after college?
The Career Development Center has a full list of what our graduates do after they leave Bellarmine, but our records for students who in the past twelve years were active in campus ministry include:
- Alumnae and alumni who have served in the Peace Corps and Americorps, with the Passionist Volunteers and the Jesuit Volunteer Corps;
- Four have gone on to a year of service with the Christian Appalachian Project *;
- One has been ordained to the priesthood and one ordained as a rabbi;
- Two are members of religious communities; three are in active discernment with religious communities;
- Two are working for their dioceses;
- Eight have become youth, music, or pastoral ministers;
- Three are teaching theology in Catholic high schools;
- Dozens are teachers, nurses, psychologists, social workers, technologists, and physical therapists;
- Two work for Catholic Charities;
- Two physicians, two physical therapists and one occupational therapist;
- Two studying to be physical therapists;
- Three attorneys and a handful are in law, medical and graduate school.
All have a passion for making the world a better place and all nurtured that passion while they were at Bellarmine through their participation in some campus ministry program or group.
* I will be joining CAP for a year at the end of July in their family advocacy program. I am very excited to begin! Alternative Spring Break had such a positive impact on me and I am thankful for those opportunities to step outside of my comfort zone. Thanks to campus ministry for planning these trips. Kirby Grein, Bellarmine '12