Have you ever wondered who are those people that you see running around campus in their pajamas at 8:30 in the morning once a month? Or who writes those prayers that you may or may not actually listen to every day?
Let me answer that for you: We are the Campus Ministry Team.
Campus Ministry is a class of 15 seniors who chose to take on the extra tasks of planning nearly every religious event on SJM's campus with Clarissa Myers rather than attend a religion class about Hinduism and Christian scriptures. We are the people that plan, organize, set up and execute your monthly masses, write your daily prayers and yes, we made those cheesy videos you see in homeroom or in your email once in a while.
I may be a little biased, but this year's CMT is probably one of the strongest and tight-knit ministry teams in SJM history. One look at the class roster, and it is apparent that there is no one at this school that could handle Covid-Masses like we did.
"This year's campus ministry class is completely different from what it has been in the past because of the adjustments we have made due to the pandemic," said Xochitl Noriego. "Obviously we have had to replace monthly school masses with outreach videos, execute hybrid Prayer at the Fountain events and even scratch retreats all together."
Regardless of the changes the team had to make to their usual plans this year, CMT rose to the challenge of 2020 with fearlessness and team work. Remember that one video about making a hamburger and reading a bible passage about unity? That was completely produced by a portion of the CMT in the span of about a month.
"I actually think we were sort of blessed to have had to add all these different things to our year, because it showed us that our team was so diverse and talented, and we were able to collaborate and come up with some really cool stuff," said LaReina Torres.
Prayer at the Fountain was a favorite project among this year's CMT, with everyone sharing their enjoyment as the planning process for those events.
"Emma [Farris] and I were so excited when we came up with the 'David and Goliath' theme to our Prayer at the Fountain, but we were even more happy to give the SJM community back a pre-Covid tradition, and we are really proud of the result," said Catherine Gleason.
Perhaps the most major projects the CMT had to tackle this year were the three masses they hosted this year, especially the most recent one on the football field.
"Adjusting mass to the football field for Covid guidelines was all new territory, and we had to come up with ideas as we went along for a lot of it," said Christian Valdez, who acted as one of two "facilitators" for the April 27 mass.
SJM has not hosted a mass on the football field in more than ten years, and has never had to follow social distancing guidelines such as these, so this year's CMT had to get really good at improvisation. Hours were spent behind the scenes and outside of the classroom figuring out logistics such as chair arrangements and communion routes, and decorating challenges like wind, sun and possible rain showers were met with impressive creativity.
While this last school mass may have seemed like it went off without a hitch, from an insider's point of view it was not perfect at all.
"We had to completely change our plan for communion right before the mass started because of some last minute cancellations and adjustments. We were literally flipping aisle signs as people were walking to their seats," said Siobhan Jacoby. However when things got chaotic or did not go according to plan, the CMT never completely lost their cool and were able to work together to keep the mass going and functional.
One thing that did not change for the CMT this year though was how close they grew as a class.
"It is really cool to know that out of the entire school, only 14 other people know what you are talking about when you ask how many EMs we have confirmed, or where the lectionary is, or how tired you were from getting to school early to paint posters that day," said Emily Douty. "It's like your own little extra support system within your school. I couldn't imagine my senior year without the CMT by my side."
"It's going to be hard to say goodbye to the CMT, knowing that we have gotten through our last mass, and we will never have to track down freshman volunteers or yell at sophomores to move seats again," said Jacob Tashjian.
Next time you find yourself dreading attending mass or debating sleeping through a video, remind yourself of the days of work that went toward that, but also of how much friendship and love went into it. Really, just be nice to your CMT, God knows they are hard enough on themselves.