CCMA Mission

To be the voice and promote the mission of the Church among students in higher education by empowering campus ministers through formation, networking and resources.

Support CCMA

Catholic Campus Ministry Association is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization under the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

CCMA History

About CCMA

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.

By Thanksgiving 1883, Mr. and Mrs. John Melvin founded the Melvin Club at the University of Wisconsin, for the purpose of keeping Catholics on campus in touch with their Catholic heritage and providing opportunities to discuss a wide variety of Catholic topics. The first president of the Melvin Club was John McAnaw, a student whose teacher had slandered Catholicism during class.

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)


1908: Establishment of the Federation of Catholic College Students (FCCS) at Purdue University
1915: Establishment of the Federation of Catholic College Clubs (FCCC) in New York
1921: The newly formed National Catholic Welfare Conference (NCWC) states that Newman Clubsare “one of the most powerful aids for developing Catholic leaders in higher education.”
1940s: Post-war G.I. bill leads to establishment of many more Newman Centers
FCCS and FCCC united as the College and University Section of the NCWC Youth Department
1950: Establishment of the National Newman Chaplains Association for ordained chaplains at non-Catholic colleges and universities
1960s: National Catholic Education Association recognizes Newman Centers for associate membership
National Newman Apostolate established with Archbishop Paul Hallinan as Episcopal Moderator
Bishops establish a separate office to coordinate the Newman Movement
Chaplains at Catholic colleges and universities become campus ministers, ministering to entire
campus of students, faculty and staff
1969: National Newman Chaplains Association becomes Catholic Campus Ministry Association


  • Catholic students comprise approximately 35 percent of freshman classes on public campuses
  • Approximately 5.5 million Catholic college students in the U.S. with approximately 90 percent attending non-Catholic institutions
  • Approximately 2,200 Catholic campus ministers serving nearly 4,000 campuses
  • CCMA membership consists of approximately 700 campus ministers or 30 percent of identifiable Catholic campus ministers

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.

For more information and to join CCMA, please contact the national office at 888.714.6631 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .