CCMA is the national, professional association for Catholic campus ministers serving at Catholic and non-Catholic colleges and universities.
Throughout much of history, the Church was instrumental in cultivating the intellectual life, particularly the effort to integrate faith and culture. The Church was also instrumental in providing resources for and founding many medieval universities. In Europe, many of the great teaching orders, such as Jesuits and Ursulines, grew up around universities.
Between 1780 and 1850, religious groups founded the first colleges and universities in the New World. Catholic higher education in the U.S. as we know it today began in 1789 with the founding of Georgetown College by John Carroll. His purpose was to recruit priests and begin training them. Early concerns surfaced, such as serving the rapidly growing Catholic population and recruiting vocations. Religious orders were brought in to start the schools, which became essential to the growth of these orders. The 1850s were a time of rapid expansion due to immigration and 41 Catholic colleges and universities were founded.
In 1893, Timothy Harrington, a member of the Melvin Club, went on to found the Newman Club at University of Pennsylvania. His goal was to help Catholic students improve themselves intellectually and religiously in the university setting. The students largely ministered to one another, with support from faculty and priests, and very little “official” church support. The Newman Club was named for Blessed John Henry Newman, a professor at Oxford University, as well as the rector of the Oxford University Chapel. He converted to Catholicism in 1845 after closely studying the faith. He studied more in Rome and was ordained a Catholic priest, he established a school for boys in Birmingham, England, and helped found the Catholic University of Ireland. At that time, students in Ireland could not attend the Irish universities because one must declare an oath of loyalty to the Crown of England as the head of the Anglican Church.
One of Newman’s principle contentions was that a university cannot truly be a university without a department of theology. In 1870, Newman was invited to be a consulting theologian at the fist Vatican Council. Over the years, he published many materials on the defense and explanation of the Roman Catholic Church. At age 79, Newman was invited to become a Cardinal by Pope Leo XIII.
Largely due to the writings and works of Newman, the education roles of Newman Clubs were seen as essential. Classes for credit in the areas of scripture and Catholicism were being offered through the Newman Centers on their campuses. In 1905, Pope Pius X recommended that “lay schools of religion be founded to instruct in truths of faith and in principles of Christian life, youth who attend public universities, Lycea, and Gymnasia, wherein no mention of religious matters.” (Acerbo Nimis)
What We Do
The Catholic Campus Ministry Association is the national, professional organization for Catholic campus ministers dedicated to the vision of campus ministry outlined in the 1985 U.S. Catholic Bishops’ Pastoral Letter, Empowered By The Spirit: Campus Ministry Faces the Future.
Through a national network aided by national gatherings, electronic communications, educational programs and other means of sharing resources, CCMA fosters the professional, spiritual and theological growth of campus ministers and promotes the mission of the Catholic Church in higher education.
Approximately 30 percent of the nation’s 2,200 Catholic campus ministers are CCMA members. CCMA members minister in a variety of settings, many of which include campus ministry departments at Catholic institutions, Newman Centers at public institutions and campus ministry departments at non-Catholic, private institutions.
Regular membership in CCMA for campus ministers is $130 per year. Benefits members receive include a subscription to the Catholic Campus Ministry Directory; the ability to receive professional certification through the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Subcommittee on Certification for Ecclesial Ministry and Service; discounts on attending national conventions, conferences and retreats; specialized institutes and educational opportunities; Facebook campus ministers group; New Campus Minister Support Network, the Ministry Resource Network and more.