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Anna Maria

Posted By December 5, 2013 | 1:08 pm | Local
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Anna Maria leads retreats for St. Bernard’s

By William T. Clew

PAXTON – Sister Mary Naccarato, PBVM,  had an idea.
She had been taking a course in the Catholic Studies program at Anna Maria College. Marc Tumeinski, adjunct lecturer in Catholic Studies and Pastoral Ministry, had been her instructor.
Then she became the campus minister for St. Bernard Central Catholic High School in Fitchburg.
In that capacity, she said, she was looking for a place where students at St. Bernard’s could take part in quality retreats. She said Anna Maria would meet that requirement and the students would also see what life is like on the campus of a Catholic college. So she contacted Mr. Tumeinski and asked whether Anna Maria would hold retreats for St. Bernard students.
Mr. Tumeinski brought the idea to Andrew McCarthy, who heads the Catholic Studies and Pastoral Ministries programs at Anna Maria. They agreed to give it a try.
So last year a group of seniors from St. Bernard’s, along with some teachers acting as chaperones, made their way to the campus. Or, perhaps it’s more accurate to say they eventually made their way here. The retreat was scheduled during the very snowy winter, so it was delayed a bit.
In addition to the retreat sessions, the students also toured the campus, attended Mass in the campus chapel, had lunch with Anna Maria students and received information about Anna Maria.
The retreat last year apparently went well, because, earlier this year, before another winter set in, about 80 seniors from St. Bernard’s came to Anna Maria for another retreat.
The retreats have a theme for the students to explore. Anna Maria students, most of them in Catholic Studies, along with one or more from Pastoral Ministry, serve as retreat leaders.
The students take part in the retreat sessions and consider a series of carefully structured questions. At the end of the day they are asked to present a declaration or manifesto about claiming their faith, Mr. McCarthy said. It can be a prayer or a song or even a rap.
“There were some wonderful raps,” he said.
The emphasis is on the retreat, but if students taking part want to consider attending the college, that would be fine. One young woman who was a senior at  St. Bernard’s last year is enrolled this year as a student at Anna Maria.
“We’d welcome them coming here,” Mr. McCarthy said.
Anna Maria students also hold retreats for youth at St. Columba Parish in Paxton who are preparing for confirmation, Mr. Tumeinski said.
The retreat idea is growing. The week before Thanksgiving, Anna Maria welcomed eighth-graders from the Nativity School of Worcester for a retreat. Nativity School is an accredited, independent, Jesuit middle school that provides a quality, all-scholarship education to underserved boys of all faiths.
In the spring, Sister Mary said, she wants to discuss plans for Anna Maria to run another retreat during the next school year for St. Bernard’s seniors — in Fitchburg. The cost of busing the senior class to Worcester is more than the cost of the retreats at Anna Maria, she said.
Sister Mary said that there also are peer-led retreats for the other classes at St. Bernard’s each year. Thanks to the generosity of Father Richard F. Trainor, pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Fitchburg, the retreats are held in the Madonna of the Holy Rosary evangelization center, she said. Madonna of the Holy Rosary is part of St. Joseph’s.

Technology and kind hearts at AMC

Technology innovations, will power and kind hearts go a long way to ensure that Anna Maria College senior Niki Harvell stays on track with her academics, according to Andrew McCarthy, head of the Catholic Studies and Pastoral Ministry programs at Anna Maria.
He tells the following story:
Miss Harvell, a youth ministry major, philosophy minor and a member of the college honor program, has always been at the top of her classes.
Success has not come easy. She faced and overcame numerous obstacles and setbacks. She works a demanding full-time job. She also has weathered a series of long-term knee and shoulder injuries and the deaths of a number of close friends during her first three years of college.
Early this fall, when doctors told her that she would have to undergo an invasive tonsillectomy with extensive recovery time, she was unfazed.
As a young woman who has always been there for her friends, she was able to muster a support network to continue her progress toward graduation.
Every Monday night, Robert Huffor, a dual Catholic studies and philosophy major, arrives early to Father Conrad Pecevich’s Hebrew Scriptures class. Every Wednesday night he does the same at Marc Tumeinski’s Sacramental and Liturgical Theology class. Mr. Tumeinski is adjunct lecturer in the Catholic Studies and Pastoral Ministry programs.
In both classes he sets up a laptop and checks in with Miss Harvell, recuperating at home, through Google Video Chat, an on-line video site.
“The process worked quite well, thanks to initiative from Niki and Robert and their imagination in using in-place technology,” Mr. Tumeinski said.
The technology brings Miss Harvell into the classroom. But, at first, she was frustrated by her inability to ask questions. She solved this quickly. Through the use of a white board and texting with Mr. Huffor, she is able to respond to the instructor’s questions and ask questions of her own.
“Rob set it up so that Niki could see the white board, and most of the students could see her on the screen, depending on where they sat,” Mr. Tumeinski said. Students also acknowledged her digital presence in the classroom.
While the use of commonly available technology allowed Miss Harvell to keep her studies up, much credit needs to be given to the collaborative and experimental teamwork that pulled the pieces of this education adaptation  together, Mr. McCarthy said.
This same spirit of insight continues to evolve as plans are made to introduce the chat room feature of the college’s Engage learning management system as well as open market products like Twitter and Polleverywhere.
Proving that where there’s a will there’s a way, kind hearts and the creation of an impromptu hybrid classroom are a sign of the pursuit of the greater good taking place at Anna Maria College, Mr. McCarthy said.

Newman association starts at WSU

Students at Worcester State University (WSU) have started a Newman association which aims to become a Newman Club in two years.
Marc Tumeinski, campus minister, said the group started in October. The student senate approved it as a special interest student group. It has a two-year trial period, after which it can become a club. Approval by the school means it now can receive a small stipend to help pay for activities, such as a trip, Mr. Tumeinski said.
He said there was a Newman Club on campus in the past but “it went fallow.”
Newman Clubs are described as Catholic ministry centers at non-Catholic universities. The establishment of this movement was inspired by the writings of Blessed John Henry Newman, encouraging societies for Catholic students attending secular universities. The centers provide pastoral services and ministries to their Catholic communities, in particular to the Roman Catholic student population within the universities.
The Newman group at WSU has an office in a building on campus which also has offices and meeting rooms for groups from other religious denominations. Some students want to come in and talk, Mr. Tumeinski said. Others come to meetings. Five members come regularly, every week.
“I hope more students find out who we are,” he said.
The group meets at 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays, he said. The students decide on the programs. They now are watching the video series by Father Robert Barron called “Catholicism.” The 10-part series was shown on EWTN and parts were shown on about 80 PBS outlets, according to Father Barron. Parishes in the Worcester Diocese have used the “Catholicism” series for adult faith formation.
When the Newman group held a service on Ash Wednesday this year, 20 to 30 people showed up. The group has taken part in a day-long retreat at Christ the King Parish. Msgr. Thomas J. Sullivan, the pastor, also is the chaplain for WSU.
Msgr. Sullivan also has arranged for people in the parish to drive four or five WSU students who are without transportation to Sunday Mass at Christ the King, Mr. Tumeinski said. He said the Newman group plans to have another retreat in the spring and next year hopes to take a mission trip. He said the Worcester Diocese has been very supportive.