Jack P. Carroll ‘24
In an email addressed to the Trinity College First-Year Catholic Group and Catholic Community on Sunday, June 6, Associate Chaplain for Roman Catholic Life John Campbell announced that the Archdiocese of Hartford has decided to stop funding college campus ministries. As a part of its decision, the archdiocese has eliminated three full time positions in its Campus Ministry Office including Campbell and his assignment to Trinity. Campbell informed the Tripod that he, along with numerous other campus ministers, was released by the archdiocese on Tuesday, May 18 with an end date of Friday, May 21. Other affected schools include Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU), Post University, and Naugatuck Valley Community College (NVCC).
Campbell, who had been at Trinity since 2007, stated in his email that the archdiocese plans to ask parishes local to Trinity’s campus to take on the campus ministry as a part of its outreach programming. Once this effort is underway, Campbell indicated that he will be able to apply for a position with said parish. At the time of his email, no parish had yet been asked to take on this responsibility. Campbell reported that Reverend Matthew Gworek, who serves as Trinity’s Roman Catholic Priest Associate, had not been informed of any changes to his assignment and he hopes to return to Trinity in the fall.
In an email to the Tripod, Campbell stated that “At this point, it is unclear what effect this decision will have on the Catholic Community at Trinity College and on the Newman Club. If, as the AOH [Archdiocese of Hartford] has stated to us, parishes will take on the responsibility of Campus Ministry at the affected campuses, then there will be a presence. Again, there has been no indication made to me that this process has been put into place.” Additionally, Campbell noted that as a part of Trinity’s plan to hire a new Dean of the Office of Spiritual and Religious Life on July 1, “They [the College] certainly can hire someone full-time, or on a part-time basis, (as they have done in the past for other religious communities on campus), to take on this role.”
Furthermore, Campbell told the Tripod that in his email to Office of Spiritual and Religious Life (OSRL) staff informing them of his situation, he included President of the College Joanne Berger-Sweeney, Vice President for Student Success and Enrollment Management Joe DiChristina, Assistant Dean and Coordinator of Student Standards John Selders, and Dean of Student Life Jody Goodman “so they are aware of the situation.” Campbell noted, “I would think they will allow the process of hiring the new Dean of OSRL to complete its course and allow that new person to come up with a solution to this issue.”
The Archdiocese of Hartford did not respond to the Tripod’s inquiry about its decision to end funding for campus ministries.