Six months after graduating from Stonehill College, I found myself in Wisconsin discerning whether to apply for a second year for youth-ministry and retreat-ministry volunteer work with SPIRITUS ministries. Instead, much to my surprise, God placed graduate school on my heart. Through internet searches, I was led to the graduate degree programs for lay, deacons, and religious at St. John's Seminary. After learning more about the programs and speaking with the school, I immediately began filling out my application. While I felt that God was drawing me to work in college campus ministry, I didn't wish to follow a degree program purely focused on ministry. The Master of Theological Studies (MTS) degree at St. John's Seminary provided everything I felt I would need for ministry on a college campus, as well as the skills for evangelization for other areas of college life.
Throughout my three years of study at St. John's, I was able to meet and learn from such a wide variety of people -- people of different ages, from many professional backgrounds, even those with religious vocations. We were all different, but all were enrolled in order to grow closer to Our Lord, and understand the Catholic faith more fully, and develop skills to bring the Good News to the rest of the world.
The courses specific to the MTS degree that I enjoyed most were Theology of the Body, Trinity, and New Evangelization. A shout-out must go to Dr. Angela Franks for those amazing classes, and specifically for preparing me so well for them through her very challenging Faith and Reason course in my first semester!
Another of my favorite components specific to the MTS program was the Evangelizing the Culture requirement. Within certain guidelines, we could pick any project we wanted that would be a means of evangelizing others. This gave me the chance to unleash my personal creativity. I chose to run a daily Lenten reflection program via emails and Instagram, entitled "Present Catholic: Participate Don't Anticipate." (The Instagram account is still up for one to check out: @presentcatholic.) I promoted it to anyone who would like to participate, but I was specifically reaching out to young adults. I had an amazing response, and it was a fun way to put into use all I'd learned over my time in the MTS program.
Since graduating in 2017, I have been blessed to do what I felt God was originally calling me to do, plus so much more. At the beginning of 2017, I connected with a new Catholic young-adult organization just in its inception, JESUS aCross the Border, and ended up becoming one of the founding members. This amazing organization, now a 501©(3) nonprofit, has the mission of uniting all Catholic young-adult groups and being a central platform for young adults to find the faith-based community that best fits their needs. Affectionately known as JATB, we've hosted dozens of worship, service, and pilgrimage events for young adults all across New England and beyond. It was on account of the focus on evangelization in the MTS degree that I felt confident in being a leader for this organization.
BY: MELISSA LANEVE, ST. JOHN'S SEMINARY, MASTER OF THEOLOGICAL STUDIES (MTS) CLASS OF 2017, DIRECTOR OF CAMPUS MINISTRY, ANNA MARIA COLLEGE, PAXTON, MASSACHUSETTS.Read More