More than 10 years after Marian University created the Rebuild My Church (RMC) Program to prepare a new generation of leaders for the Church, the university’s initiatives like the San Damiano Scholars Program for Church Leadership and the partnership with the Archdiocese of Indianapolis’ Bishop Simon Bruté Seminary are attracting record numbers of students who feel called to ministry, whether that be ordained or lay.
In fact, the university ranks among the top 10 in the country for theology graduates (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2013). The Bishop Simon Bruté Seminary, for which Marian University provides scholarships and academic formation, ranks #5 in Top Collaborative College Seminary Enrollment (Catholic Ministry Formation Directory 2015, Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, Georgetown University, 2014-15.)
“When we started the Rebuild My Church Program, we hoped to revitalize our Catholic and Franciscan roots. We believe that it is our responsibility to prepare students who can help rebuild the Church through ordained ministry, religious life, lay ministry, and careers pursued in response to God’s call to servant leadership,” said Mark Erdosy, director of the San Damiano Scholars Program for Church Leadership. “When the program started, the university had less than five graduates in theology. By 2013, we had 21 theology graduates,” he continued.
When the program launched in 2003, a key component was providing scholarships for students preparing for service to the Church. Made possible by support from generous donors, scholarships awarded to San Damiano Scholars Program for Church Leadership have grown each year—along with enrollment in the program—with nearly $800,000 awarded for the 2014-15 academic year.
Beyond developing leaders for the Church, the program also aims to build a vibrant faith community on campus. Campus liturgies have been enhanced by the development of the Marian University Sacred Choir. From the sacred choir, the university developed the pastoral music ministry major. Dynamic campus ministry programs like Students Taking Active Reflective Roles (STARR) and the Alternative Breaks allow students to actively live out Christ’s teachings and respond to the needs of the Indianapolis community.
The Rebuild My Church Program and the many programs and initiatives that have stemmed from it, were made possible through a $2 million grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc. awarded in 2002. Since, the commitment of the university and its many generous donors who believe in the importance of Marian University’s Catholic and Franciscan identity, have allowed the program to not just continue, but flourish.