Frequently Asked Questions About Catholic Campus Ministry
Do I have to be Catholic to be involved in CCM?
No – all are welcome to attend our events and programs. All that we ask is that everyone attending our programs is respectful of all faith backgrounds and beliefs to help us maintain an open and welcoming environment.
What kinds of activities does CCM sponsor?
CCM sponsors a wide variety of events. Our regular schedule includes: Sunday Mass at 7 p.m. at the Smith Chapel, and BCU: Behrend Catholic Underground Thursdays at 8 p.m. at Smith Chapel.
We participate in annual Diocesan events like Dinner with the Bishop and Intercollegiate Retreat. We also host events during special Liturgical seasons, like Advent/Lent Reconciliation Services, Lenten Fish Dinners, and prayer services. CCM frequently partners with Protestant Campus Ministry to run events like Hanging of the Greens, retreats, and Baccalaureate (for graduating seniors).
Does it cost anything to be a part of CCM?
Usually not. The majority of CCM activities are free to students, with the exception of some retreats and social events. However, we don’t want financial difficulties to be a reason why people don’t get involved, so if the small costs of some events would prevent you from coming, please talk to a CCM staff member about sponsorships or scholarships.
Penn State is a public school, so why do they have religious programming?
Penn State has been gracious enough to open their doors and office space to religious departments that have the resources to provide staff members and financial assistance to support student faith development. CCM staff members are employees of the Diocese of Erie, and are also affiliate employees of Penn State University. Funding for CCM events comes from the Diocese, as well as some other funding sources within Penn State University that promotes student activities.
Are there any requirements to be a part of CCM?
CCM is not a "club" with membership requirements. Anyone is free to attend events and become part of the community. Catholics should attend Sunday and Holy Day Masses, which are offered on campus, but no one is required to attend other programming or events offered by CCM. Being active in developing your faith is highly encouraged, so we try to offer a variety of events at different times to accommodate people with different interests, levels of spiritual development, and schedules.
I’m not sure what religion I am, and I don’t know where to start looking. What should I do?
If you’re exploring different faiths, a great place to start is by getting involved with different faith organizations and seeing what is the best fit for you. Try coming to a CCM event and meeting some of our members – you can also stop by the office and talk to a staff member, or check out some of the links on our Resources page.
I think I want to become Catholic. How can I do that?
The steps to becoming Catholic are a little different for everyone – it depends on your faith background, if you have been baptized in another faith, etc. People that have not been baptized, are converting from another Christian religion to Catholicism, or have not completed some/any of the Catholic Sacraments may need to go through the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) program, which consists of classes to learn about the Catholic teachings and Sacraments. To find out what steps you will need to take to become a confirmed member of the Catholic Church, please contact the CCM office and we will assist you in this process.
I don’t want to become Catholic, but I’m interested in getting to know some things about the Catholic Church or hanging out with some Christians. What should I do?
Please feel welcome to come to our events! We do our best at CCM to create a welcoming, pressure-free environment for people to learn more about Catholicism and grow in their faith, whatever that may be. You are not required to be Catholic to be involved in CCM, and you can also come to our Masses – you just can’t receive communion in the Catholic church if you are not Catholic.
I’m looking to grow in my faith, but I don’t know where to get resources. How can you help?
You are always welcome to attend CCM events, Masses, or stop by the office to speak with a CCM staff member. You can also contact us via e-mail or phone if you have any questions or would like to set up a specific time that works best for you. It's a lot easier to grow in your faith when you're connected with others who are trying to do the same thing, so consider joining a small group and/or Newman Club. The CCM office is also stocked with books and other resources for growing in your faith or answering questions about Catholicism. You can also check out the Resources page of this site for some great online resources.