Frequently Asked Questions
How Catholic is Bellarmine University?
For us, Catholic means that we are committed to the journey upon which our spiritual mentor, Trappist monk Fr. Louis (Thomas Merton) embarked. We acknowledge that we:
- are people of faith and prayer within a strong tradition of academic excellence which seeks to balance faith and reason,
- make decisions based upon values of hospitality, social justice, and the search for truth,
- encourage all people of faith to pray, to listen, and to practice their values within a spirit of ecumenical and interfaith sensitivity. Our current student population is approximately 41% Catholic and Orthodox Christian, 25% no preference, 19% Evangelical, Independent Christian and Baptists, 10% Mainline Protestant, 5% Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, Indigenous and Earth spiritualities.
- are committed to providing opportunities for students to learn about and practice their Catholic faith within our campus ministry programming and our connections with two nearby parishes and the Archdiocese of Louisville
- provide Masses for students on Sunday, selected weekday, and Holy Days during the academic year as well as retreats, speakers, and weekly activities to live and grow in their faith.
What if I’m not Catholic? How welcome will I be?
Bellarmine is committed to hospitality and a spirit of welcome toward students of all faith traditions. The Office of Campus Ministry:
- facilitates connections for Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist students with area churches, temples, synagogues and centers
- sponsors opportunities for students to meet within their respective faiths on campus through dialogue, retreats, and activities.
- oversees all faith-based organizations on campus which must be registered and sign an annual pledge to respect the beliefs of others and refrain from proselytizing.
- participates in interfaith dialogue in our local community through membership in the Highland Community Ministries and the Highland Shepherds to maintain a network of faith-based support systems.
What do you mean by “independent” Catholic?
It means that we are: governed by a self-perpetuating lay Board of Trustees, on which representatives from the Archdiocese and local religious orders also serve and that we are funded through tuition, endowment, and donations from individuals, rather than the local Church.
How closely do you follow Church teaching in the classroom?
As a University, we are
- committed to academic freedom to research and to question and to engage in open, respectful conversation
- loyal to an accurate, objective presentation of Church teaching in classes on Catholic theology
- encouraged to listen to alternative answers and challenging viewpoints recognizing that professors, guest speakers, and students will not always agree on current opinions, pronouncements, or official declarations
Describe the Catholic sacramental life of Bellarmine.
Mass is celebrated in Our Lady of the Woods Chapel on Sundays at 6 p.m. and on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9 p.m,, when classes are in session. On Wednesdays, Reconciliation and Adoration are held in the Chapel at 9:00 p.m. The Chapel is closed for fall, winter, spring, and summer breaks. Holy Day, Special Masses and Prayer Services are advertised via campus daily news.
Because we are not a parish, we do not offer regular sacramental classes, but RCIA programs are available through local parishes for those seeking full initiation into the Church (Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist). For students who have been baptized, but not fully initiated, there are options through the Office of Campus Ministry in conjunction with the Archdiocese’s Lifelong Formation Office.
We encourage our engaged students and alumni to grow in faith as a couple in their parish and to celebrate the Sacrament of Matrimony there. At this time, the Chapel is occasionally available for weddings, under special circumstance and with permission from the Archdiocese. Please contact the Director of Campus Ministry for details.
Describe Catholic study and devotional life at Bellarmine.
- Weekly meetings and retreats of the Catholic Students Association
- Regular gatherings with area Catholic ministries
- Weekly scripture studies; small prayer groups in Residence halls
- Sunday and at least two weekday Masses
- Occasional Morning or Evening Prayer in the Office, rosaries, novenas
- Stations of the Cross during Lent
- Retreats, days of reflection and contemplative prayer opportunities
- Trips to local convents, monasteries, and houses of prayer
For more information, please contact the Office of Campus Ministry at 502.272.8051