The University of Dayton is well known for its Marianist values and tradition. Its description of those values on the website includes three statements: “We have faith in knowledge; We have faith in community; We have faith.” That faith relies on the teachings of the Catholic church.
The Church of the Holy Angels sits in the middle of the U.D. campus just a short walk from the academic buildings. It’s only natural that the University and the parish create a formal partnership for collaboration, especially in the area of liturgy and faith formation. The final copy of the Memorandum of Understanding between Holy Angels Parish and the University of Dayton has been signed and delivered.
“This partnership is a multifaceted and unique collaboration, not a merger,” said the Rev. James Fitz, vice president for mission and rector at the University of Dayton. “This partnership provides the University another opportunity to serve the local Catholic church, which is an important part of our mission and identity.”
When a planned collaboration was first announced this past February, the Rev. Daniel Meyer, the prior pastor of Holy Angels, said, “I am very excited for both Holy Angels and the University of Dayton that we have entered into this new partnership. Up until this time, we have already engaged in many activities in both the parish and school, thanks to the leadership of President Dan Curran. This is a win-win situation. I am ecstatic about the possibilities.”
Those possibilities are already coming to fruition, said the Rev. Greg Konerman, who took over the leadership of the church this past July 1.
“The collaboration is going great. It’s really just formalizing the close relationship the church has had with the university for a long time,” said Konerman, a priest of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati who came to Holy Angels after serving 12 years concurrently at St. Mary’s Church in Urbana and Sacred Heart Church in St. Paris. “The university has always been very generous to the parish.”
Part of that agreement includes provisions for assisting the church with needed services. U.D. is handling some maintenance at the church and school, such as lawn care and snow removal. The collaboration also provides a link from the church and school to the University’s networking and phone services.
“U.D. gives us a parish office space, and also allows use of university parking lots for weekend masses, funerals and other church events we have here,” said Konerman. “In return, the Campus Ministry of UD will be using our church for some of their celebrations when they need a larger space for a liturgy or mass. For example, the Christmas on Campus celebration on Dec. 6 this year will take place at Holy Angels.”
Holy Angels serves 1,200 parishioners in a historic church that’s been a beacon of hope on Brown Street for more than a century. The Chapel of the Immaculate Conception is the spiritual home to students, faculty and staff as well as community members.
As part of the University’s master plan, the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception is slated for renovation. The project is currently in the planning and fundraising stages. As the partnership develops, some liturgies will be coordinated between the two churches. Mass normally held at the Chapel will be held at Holy Angels during the renovation.
“Part of the the agreement gives us a graduate student who assists our pastoral staff. This is an internship for her, and she coordinates our religion classes on Sundays for the K-6 program,” said Konerman. “We also have another group of students from the university who assist us with faith formation for our junior high students on Sunday evenings. Three of those students do an excellent job.”
Kate Hutson is the graduate assistant in Campus Ministry who began her internship in September. She utilizes other U.D. students to assist her as catechists for that K-6 Faith Formation program. Those students are in the two-year Forum for Young Catechetical Leaders program. They will also teach catechism classes and offer programming in sacramental preparation.
Students will benefit the most from this program, said Sister Angela Ann Zukowski, M.H.S.H., who co-directs the Forum for Young Catechetical Leaders program on campus.
“Our students can literally walk down the street to get involved,” said Zukowski. “This partnership will offer them valuable hands-on experience in pastoral work. They will become the next generation of leaders in parishes and schools.”
The University of Dayton currently offers five Sunday Masses, a weekday 12:05 p.m. Mass and evening Masses in the chapels in Stuart, Marianist and Marycrest residence halls. Holy Angels offers four weekday morning Masses at 8:30 a.m. every day except Wednesday. It also offers two Sunday Masses; the adult choir at 9:30 a.m. and a more contemporary group at noon. The 5 p.m. Saturday evening Mass already attracts a number of University of Dayton students.