|Catholic Schools Week
||Campus ministry teams, along with Bishop O'Dowd's religious studies and retreat programs, provide teens the opportunity to embrace their own faith.
A campus forum for teens
to explore their spirituality
On a recent afternoon, Latrel Powell, Bishop O'Dowd High School Class of '15, led his fellow Campus Ministry Team members in prayer at the start of class — a ritual that includes the team members lighting individual candles and joining hands for the prayer.
Latrel treasures this time for reflection about God's presence in his life. "A lot of times during the teenage years we get so caught up with other things — our studies, clubs and sports," he said. "Being a part of CMT helps me keep God as a prominent figure in my life and keeps me thankful."
The senior CMT provides leadership in all liturgies and schoolwide charity drives. They also support and guide the freshman, sophomore and junior class ministry teams in their endeavors.
These ministry teams, along with O'Dowd's religious studies and retreat programs, provide teens the opportunity to embrace their own faith, as well as learn about other faiths, at a time in their lives when many are soul searching about the significance of religion in their lives.
The O'Dowd Campus Ministry program recognizes that many people identify an experience of God through their relationships with other people, and this is especially true for high school students. "The essence of our programs, whether it is communal liturgy, retreats, fellowship groups, charity drives or service learning, is finding God through and in each other. I think this is why the person of Jesus is compelling — our God who had the full human experience," Director of Campus Ministry Greg Moore said.
"As adult ministers at O'Dowd, we approach our ministry as helping students to be their authentic selves in community. Much of Catholic teaching really boils down to that, even when there is great disagreement about the paths to get there. We are all called to be genuine human persons, honest and loving in our relationships with others, with God, and with ourselves. I would dare to say there is nothing more holy than that," he added.
Principal Pam Shay says the Campus Ministry program, in conjunction with service learning, retreats and religion classes, provides each student with an opportunity to experience God's holy presence and foster a deeper relationship with the community. "Our students are encouraged to grow in faith, love, prayer and action," she said.
CMT member Navah Evans '15 has attended Catholic school her entire life. But it wasn't until she came to O'Dowd that she understood more completely what her Catholic faith was calling her to do — serve others.
The realization came after Navah participated in a week-long Urban Immersion trip to San Francisco's Tenderloin District, where she spent time with guests at St. Anthony's Dining Room.
"I know about the injustices that go on in the world. But actually sitting at a table with people who have nothing and still shared with each other made a big impact on me. It changed my life. That was the most incredible thing O'Dowd did for me."
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