by Gordon Nary
Gordon: To which parish do you belong?
Jude: Our Lady of Sorrows Parish. Kansas City, MO
Gordon: What were some of your favorite courses at Loyola University Chicago Institute of Pastoral Studies?
Jude: Loved my courses with Dr. Ludwig – Christian Doctrine, and New Testament.
Loved my courses with Heidi Russell: Ecclesiology, and Sacraments. Best of all was my capstone course which was leading a pilgrimage to Turkey with 36 people.
Gordon: What are your primary responsibilities as Adjunct Professor at Adjunct Professor Avila University?
Jude: I teach the following courses in partnership with a colleague: Bioethics, and Business Ethics. I also teach Ethics, and World Religions independently.
Gordon: What are your primary responsibilities as Director of Campus Ministry at the University of St. Mary?
Jude: Planning weekly Mass on Sunday, as well as Evening Prayer on Wednesdays. Coordinating service projects and mission trips. Providing opportunities for students and faculty to explore their faith and spirituality through various experience opportunities and workshops.
I also teach courses at the college – Introduction to Philosophy, Ethics, Introduction to Spirituality.
Gordon: What initially interested you in Youth Ministry as a career?
Jude: In college, I was asked to oversee the acolytes in my parish so I had the opportunity to teach them how to serve Mass, schedule them for various roles, and provide social opportunities together attending sporting events, fishing, playing sports, and the like. I also began tutoring fellow college students and through both experiences, I discovered that I loved teaching and serving young people.
So I began a career as a teacher, which eventually spanned 14 years, during which time I taught three years of high school and 11 years of Middle School. I eventually left K-12 education and moved into parish and diocesan ministry, while I also continued teaching as an adjunct instructor at various colleges.
Gordon: What are some of the principal challenges to the faith among young people?
Jude: Young people are looking for authenticity and solid examples of faith. They have been deeply disappointed by church scandals, and many of them have negative experiences of church life. Yet in spite of this, they still have a deep faith and are looking to express that faith through prayer and service in environments of trust and responsibility.
Too often church life is dominated by adults who are helicopter ministers. They hover over everything and don’t give young people any responsibility for ministry. At St. Mary’s I have created a student team that plans the Sunday liturgy. They may ask me a question here or there, but they make the decisions on music, intercessions, scheduling ministers, and the like. During Evening Prayer the roles are shared and everyone participates. Attendance is growing at these events. It is exciting.
Gordon: Thank you for a great interview. I closing, here is my favorite Beatles Song.