Why Such an Emphasis Upon Religious Diversity at a Catholic Institution?
Diversity has always been a fundamental principle embodied in the university’s Holy Cross mission, which has guided the university throughout its history and can be traced back to the exhortations of the founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross, Blessed Father Basil Moreau, CSC. When he established the foundational principles of Holy Cross education, he implored us never to educate the mind at the expense of the heart and emphasized that education was to be employed in the cause of social justice in order to make the world a better place.
These fundamental principles explain much of the history of St. Edward’s and our commitment to diversity; our outreach and welcome to students of all religions, races, ethnic groups, genders, sexual orientations, and economic backgrounds; and our embrace of all members of our university community as creatures of God, to be valued and respected. Indeed, our embrace of all members of our community is a mindful, intentional demonstration that in our daily endeavors we heed the biblical obligation to love our neighbors as ourselves.
—George E. Martin, president emeritus of St. Edward's University
In an age of rapid social and technological change, finding common ground through unity is a necessity for future leaders who will need to make ethical and moral decisions. Campus Ministry serves as the nexus at St. Edward's where students can share knowledge of their own faith in fellowship with others, ask questions and discover true knowledge of the world.
On-Campus Religious Services
Austin-Area Faith Communities
Campus Ministry encourages students from diverse religious backgrounds to seek out local communities from their tradition and staff can assist students in finding a community that meets their needs. You can find a community by checking out the Places of Worship directory.
In addition to local faith communities, several local organizations partner with Campus Ministry at various times to support students:
- Interfaith Action of Central Texas (iACT): iACT unites faith and cultural communities to foster respect, partnership and transformation in service of the common good. iACT sponsors numerous dialogue events throughout the year and coordinates various interfaith service projects throughout the Austin area.
- University Interfaith Council: The University Interfaith Council is an organization of campus religious leaders that provides mutual support to discuss issues and values relevant to ministries at the University of Texas at Austin and facilitate common programs with other ministries and UT Organizations and offices.
- Texas Hillel: The Texas Hillel creates opportunities for all Jewish students in the Austin area to develop their own Jewish interests and participate in a welcoming campus-based community that respects the value of pluralism and promotes ongoing involvement in Jewish life.
- Seton Cove: The Seton Cove, an interfaith spirituality center, was created in 1995 to be a place of hospitality and solace for people seeking to integrate spirituality more fully into their daily lives. Seton Cove is recognized as a leader in Austin for spiritual formation, creative learning and holistic renewal.
- Eremos: Eremos provides opportunities for spiritual growth through prayer retreats, educational workshops and spiritual direction.
If you would like more information on Austin faith-based organizations, please contact Josh Stagni.
Student Groups and Religious Diversity
Several student groups exist, each expressing a specific faith tradition and purpose. Each group seeks to foster a welcoming environment for all students to share a common experience or to learn more about an area of interest. The Holy Cross tradition of St. Edward's welcome and advocates the variety of religious expression within its community.
Current student groups:
- Muslim Student Association (MSA): St. Edward's MSA is a student run organization formed in order to represent the Islamic faith and the Muslim student community on campus.
- Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA): FCA is a high-energy group open to all students providing an opportunity to learn about the Christian faith. FCA’s mission is to help students develop/strengthen their relationship with Jesus Christ through bible study, worship, and playing sports together!
- Hillel Toppers: Hillel Toppers is a student organization that fosters Jewish education to the St. Edward's Community and builds unity through cultural events and programming.
- Hilltopper Christian Fellowship (HCF): The Purpose of HCF is to establish witnessing communities of students and faculty who follow Jesus as Savior and Lord: growing in love for God, God's Word, God's people of every ethnicity and culture and God's purposes in the world.
Campus Ministry encourages student led groups and will, along with Student Life, work with any student wishing to form a group around a particular faith tradition. If you have an idea for a new group or would like more information on any existing groups, please contact Josh Stagni.
Opening windows to our community and to other communities.
A wide range of special events, sponsored by Campus Ministry and various students organizations, are offered throughout the academic year as a way for students to connect with their own faith tradition, learn about other religious traditions and enjoy diverse fellowship. These are just some of the opportunities available for students.
- September: The Red Bench (Interfaith), Yom Kippur (Jewish), Eid al-Adha (Muslim), Rosh Hashanah (Jewish)
- October: Sukkot (Jewish), Blessing of the Animals (Interfaith), St. Francis Feast Day (Interfaith), The Red Bench (Interfaith), Nostra Aetate Lecture (Interfaith), Diwali Festival (Hindu, Sikh, and Jains)
- November: Prayer of Remembrance (Interfaith), The Red Bench (Interfaith), iACT Thanksgiving Service (Interfaith),
- December: Hanukkah (Jewish)
- February: Ecumenical Ash Wednesday Service (Christian), The Red Bench (Interfaith)
- March: Christian Unity Week (Christian), Lenten Fish Fry (Christian), Holi (Hindu)
- April: Passover (Jewish), Passover Seder Meal (Jewish)
If you would like more information on any of these events, please contact Josh Stagni.
St. Edward's promotes a safe and trusting environment where students can engage in an exploration of personal, spiritual, ethical and moral issues experienced personally by students and within their community. Blessed Basil Moreau, founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross, believed that the heart needs a learning experience that is personal, even intimate. Each student is encouraged to form both character and conscience.
Campus Ministry offers spiritual guidance, pastoral counseling or just an opportunity to talk things out regardless of any religious affiliation to all St. Edward's University students. A professional staff is available to assist students, regardless of their faith tradition or background, to explore personal questions of faith, identity, spirituality, diversity and social justice in a safe environment. In addition, Campus Ministry can assist students in identifying resources in the local Austin religious community that is in line with a student’s own religious tradition.
If you have questions and want the support of a Campus Ministry professional, please contact Josh Stagni.