By KATHERINE SMITH
Asst. News Editor
Following new changes to the Office of Campus Ministry at Lincoln Center, its leadership is looking forward to “new opportunities for conversation” and starting the year off on the right foot.
According to an official statement released by the Office of Campus Ministry, Conor O’Kane, Director of Campus Ministry for Mission Extension, and Erin Hoffman, Associate Director of Campus Ministry for Spiritual & Pastoral Ministry and Director of Ignatian Initiatives, will replace Fr. John Shea, S.J, as the “facilitators” of all Campus Ministry activities and initiatives at Lincoln Center. Shea, who served as the Director of Campus Ministry at Lincoln Center for the previous five years, will be based at Rose Hill as the University Staff Chaplain reporting to the Vice President for Mission Integration and Planning.
In addition to the change in leadership, Fr. Vin DeCola, S.J, the Assistant Dean of the Gabelli School of Business at Lincoln Center, will serve as the main chaplain to the Lincoln Center campus, handling emergencies and urgent situations “requiring a pastoral or spiritual presence.”
O’Kane, who worked in Campus Ministry for five years at the Rose Hill Campus, describes the new position as an opportunity to work and be responsive to the opportunities at Fordham. He is looking forward to “new opportunities for conversation” and “being a part of the vibrant community that is Lincoln Center.”
“Together we’re really focusing on the direction of Lincoln Center campus ministry”
Hoffman, who directed retreat ministry for four years at the Rose Hill campus, described the change as something that came from “thinking collectively” in the Campus Ministry department on how to meet the needs of Lincoln Center students as they change over time, with her role specifically focusing on traditional Campus Ministry efforts, such as liturgy and directing Fordham’s annual Ignatian Week in November.
“Together we’re really focusing on the direction of Lincoln Center campus ministry,” Hoffman said. “While our jobs span both campuses and we’ll see other campus ministers who are based at Rose Hill at Lincoln Center perhaps more frequently than in the past, there is still a specific need here at Lincoln Center that is unique from needs at Rose Hill.”
Campus Ministry will continue to work on growing the Peer Ministry Program, an organization in which peer leaders coordinate events with the Office of Residential Life in order to help connect students with the mission of Fordham University. “A lot of what we’re doing is building on great work that’s already been done,” O’Kane said.
One of the new events includes the Weekly Refreshment Program on Tuesdays in McKeon Hall, which focuses around topics such as building community, “personal reflection and growth, service injustice and faith,” according to O’Kane. Campus Ministry will also focus on events like Fresh Vision retreats, a program that began last year to focus exclusively on the needs of Lincoln Center-based students.
“Some of the things we’re looking forward to is how we can continue to work with those groups and offer resources to deepen and engage with their own faith”
“The students are all from here,” Hoffman said. “It’s so early in the college experience, we really want to help facilitate an environment where LC students meet other LC students and build meaningful relationships right from the get-go.”
O’Kane also hopes to continue to grow and work with Fordham’s multifaith and interfaith organizations, such as the Orthodox Christian Fellowship, the Muslim and Jewish Student Associations, and the Christian group Lighthouse Christian Fellowship.
“Some of the things we’re looking forward to is how we can continue to work with those groups and offer resources to deepen and engage with their own faith,” O’Kane said. “People who are able to engage and who are in love with their own faith are able to dialogue with others that are in love with their own faith.”
As part of this new restructuring, O’Kane and Hoffman moved from Rose Hill to McMahon Hall with their young daughter. While living inside a college dorm with a child would seem miserable to most, they find the opportunity to live and work on campus exciting. “Living in residence also affords us opportunities to do the whole array of things that we didn’t have an opportunity to do,” Hoffman said. “We’re hoping to create opportunities to host things out of our apartment once we’re fully settled in.”
When speaking about the goals of the Ministry at Lincoln Center, Hoffman talks about how the programs work to be “accessible” to students of all backgrounds.
“One of my favorite quotes is Saint Irenaeus, who says that the glory of God is the human person fully alive,” Hoffman said. “That really drives my approach to ministry, in the sense of, how can we help our students be fully alive?”
Additional reporting by Sophie Kozub, News Editor.