Featured “Friar”: Father Justin Bolger, O.P.
by Sydney Olinger ’23
Father Justin Bolger, O.P., works within faith formation ministries at Providence College. He is also involved in music ministries as he has a background in various types of music. As an assistant chaplain, Fr. Justin also helps to serve the wider campus community and provide for the spiritual needs of the students, faculty, and staff.
Though his faith plays an important role in his life, music is an early passion of Fr. Justin’s. His love for music came in the form of both singing and songwriting. Shortly after finding this passion, he signed a record deal with his sister, Maggie. He recorded, toured, and wrote music with her for a period of time. Aside from just recording, touring, and writing, he found a way to connect his two passions: faith and music. Fr. Justin and his sister also played music for masses, youth retreats, and other religious events, which helped him imagine what his next journey might be.
Fr. Justin received his master’s degree in philosophical studies at Mount St. Mary’s University. While obtaining his master’s, he worked as the director of music ministry there, continuing to pursue his love for music. After his time at Mount St. Mary’s, Fr. Justin entered the Order of Preachers. In May 2020, he was ordained a priest, eight years after becoming a Dominican. Though it was an exciting moment meant to be celebrated after a long journey, Fr. Justin’s ordination was a fairly small event due to COVID-19 regulations. Despite the small affair, he realized it was not the celebration that truly mattered, but instead the experiences to come.
Fr. Justin has worked in a variety of different ministries, both as an ordained priest and as a student brother. Some of these include campus ministry, prison ministry, helping the homeless, and, of course, music ministry. His desire to help others both inside and outside of the PC community demonstrates how much it means for Fr. Justin to act as a servant leader.
As a Dominican, Fr. Justin has helped record music specifically for music ministry. He has recorded four albums of sacred choral music and two albums of bluegrass/gospel music with his band, The Hillbilly Thomists. Students and faculty may remember members of The Hillbilly Thomists serenading the community from a golf cart in the fall of 2020.
“I love the fraternity of the Dominican Order—we live, pray, eat, study, and minister together,” said Fr. Justin.
Growing up in a big family, it was not a huge adjustment for him to join the Dominican family here at PC. Fr. Justin was born in Baltimore and raised in Frederick, MD, alongside six siblings. Within his big family, his brother also decided to follow Christ and join the priesthood; he is currently a priest in the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
Something Fr. Justin carries with him is the Dominican Order’s charism “to contemplate and share with others the fruits of contemplation.” He acknowledges that this is an important part of the Order, as well as the priesthood, and it is something the friars practice each and every day, studying and sharing the truth as a way of life.
Fr. Justin also thoroughly enjoys the time he spends with students on campus and loves to work with them. “I hope to help lead them in their pursuit of truth. Most of all I hope to lead them closer to Jesus, who is truth personified,” stated Fr. Justin.
As a friar and a very faithful person, he loves spreading his knowledge of the Catholic faith and helping students to become active members in the ministry on campus. He shared that he is always available to meet and discuss any topic regarding faith, school, life, or anything else.
Milestone Moment for PC Landmark: St. Dom’s Celebrates 20-Year Anniversary
by Kyle Burgess ’21
Providence College President Father Kenneth Sicard, O.P., celebrated a special Mass on Feb. 2 as one of PC’s most iconic landmarks celebrated its 20th anniversary. St. Dominic Chapel, more commonly referred to as St. Dom’s by members of the PC community, has quickly become ingrained in the college experiences of many PC students since being erected in 2001. Over the years, the chapel has hosted many milestone occasions and other events, from the popular “Last Chance Masses” on Sunday nights and subsequent post-Mass bash socials, to senior ring blessings, and even confirmations and weddings for alumni.
St. Dom’s also serves as headquarters for the many social and spiritual activities that Friars partake in during their time on campus. Programs such as Habitat for Humanity and Faithworks allow students to become involved in serving the local Providence community. Other programs such as Campus Ministry’s many student retreats are unique opportunities for classmates to connect with one another about their college experiences while also strengthening their Catholic faith together.
“Campus Ministry allows students to grow in faith and work toward building the Beloved Community here at PC,” explained Cam McCauley ’21. “It’s a continuing and collaborative process.” McCauley currently serves as the president of Campus Ministry, having first been introduced to the organization during her freshman year through Habitat for Humanity. She went on to join the club in a leadership role as an English as a second language student minister during her junior year, combining her Spanish major and passion for her faith to help serve others.
McCauley considers this ability to give back to the PC community and Providence community at large as the most rewarding aspect of joining Campus Ministry. “I’m very grateful for the Camp Min community and the experiences I’ve shared with them, but the most rewarding part has been serving others in the community and around campus. I love collaborating with other clubs and meeting new students as well as offering opportunities that serve our brothers and sisters in the community.”
She is also thankful for St. Dom’s Chapel, as it has served as an important resource to her during her spiritual journey at PC. “My favorite memories at St. Dom’s include 10 [p.m.] Mass and Adoration over the years,” said McCauley. “I’ve had a lot of special moments at Mass and Adoration and am very grateful to have the chapel as a safe place on campus.”
Other members of Campus Ministry share McCauley’s appreciation for both the faith community that calls St. Dom’s home and the opportunity to serve others. Father Peter Martyr Yungwirth, O.P., first arrived at PC in January 2015 before becoming the school’s head chaplain and director of Campus Ministry a year later. “As the chaplain, I oversee the liturgical life of the campus as well as work on a number of different committees, many of which are with Student Affairs,” he explained. “There is always a chaplain on-call, 24/7/365. So along with the associate and assistant chaplains, we always make sure to have someone available in case of an emergency.”
Additionally, Fr. Yungwirth oversees both the Campus Ministry staff and Campus Ministry Leadership in the various things that they do, including Peer Ministry, retreats, local and global service, faith formation, and worship. “It’s a blessing to work with so many amazing staff and student leaders,” he added.
Similar to McCauley, Fr. Yungwirth has taken great pride in helping others both in building their faith and their relationships with one another. “The most rewarding aspect of being a part of Camp Min is the connection to a community, both divine and human. Camp Min offers so many opportunities to grow in friends and communion with God, and that’s its ultimate goal. At the same time, often we are drawn to God by others, and so the community of friends that we establish on Earth has a dignity and importance that finds its own purpose in building up that communion between all of us and God.”
For Fr. Yungwirth, St. Dom’s is a place where students can further strengthen the bonds between each other and with God. “I’ve loved being able to sit with students in different meetings or in the confessional and help them to see how the Lord is speaking to them in their lives. It’s such a blessing to see God’s grace actively at work in so many students,” he stated.
For those hoping to get involved with Campus Ministry this semester, be sure to look out for their table at the Involvement Fair on Saturday, Feb. 13. Campus Ministry will also be hosting a variety of different events around Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday, and St. Patrick’s Day; a memorial wall for those who died of COVID-19; a week to remember persecuted Christians in Iraq; and the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults Mass on Sunday, April 25.
Campus Ministry Creates App, Bringing the Church to You
by Sydney Olinger ’23
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and nationwide quarantine, people have been staying connected virtually through Zoom calls, social media, and many other virtual platforms. For many of the members of the Providence College community, it has been important to maintain those social relationships not only with our peers, but also with God and the Church.
To help students and faculty remain connected with their faith and more specifically, faith at PC, Campus Ministry released a new app called Providence College TORCH. The app has everything from live-streamed masses to an E-book version of the Bible.
With the app, students and faculty have access to prayers, articles, and uplifting talks with Friars and PC students. TORCH has many ways to keep users connected to their faith, but it also has resources to maintain stable mental health, which is absolutely vital in these times.
On the home screen of TORCH, there are five different tabs: Torch, Breathe, Power Up, Radiate, and Connect. Each one contains information on different topics, whether that be virtual events happening in campus ministry, reflections on Sunday’s gospel, or how to be a good citizen of God in the Providence College community and world.
The Power Up tab has the livestream, information on Peer Ministry, prayers to say on your own or with others in a socially distanced manner, analysis of the gospels, RCIA, and Godsplaining. Church Chat, a section within the RCIA category, is labelled within the app as “An RCIA Talk Show of Sorts”, so if students are not Catholic but still interested in learning more about the faith, this would be the best place to go. Godsplaining is a great place for both lifelong, newly joined, or not-yet-baptized Catholics to delve deep into the readings and mystery of the Catholic faith and learn how it relates to the present day. For students looking for something a little more meditative, the Breathe tab has many articles on how to stay mentally healthy especially during a time when we may feel isolated from the world.
“One of the most threatening things we are facing presently is isolation. In college, it’s natural for people to find themselves at home in this or that group on campus. Campus Ministry, however, has its goal outreach to every PC student. We want every Friar to know that we’re here to support them and offer resources,” stated Father Patrick Briscoe.
Fr. Patrick explains that TORCH users do not need to be a part of Campus Ministry or even to be Catholic to take advantage of all the app has to offer. TORCH will hopefully inspire all members of the PC community to engage with Campus Ministry.
One important part of the app is how it was named. Fr. Patrick elaborates on this, saying, “The name evokes the commitment to enlightenment at the heart of the College’s mission. Fire brings warmth and light in dark, in difficult times. We hope TORCH brings comfort and peace in a time marked by anxiety and suffering.”
Though the app will certainly be beneficial to staying connected to our faith and people both within and outside the PC community during this difficult time, it will continue to be an excellent platform for Campus Ministry and for others to stay involved in the Church.
Fight for Their Right: Friars March in Defense of the Unborn
by Eileen Cooney ’23
Assistant News Editor
This past Friday, Jan. 24, a large group of Providence College students and faculty made the long six and a half hour trek down interstate I-95 to participate in the 47th annual March for Life taking place at the National Mall in Washington D.C.
Tens of thousands of people descend on the National Mall every year and march on Capitol Hill in protest of the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision, Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion, making it the largest pro-life demonstration in the world. It began in 1974 and it is described not only as a protest, but also as a celebration of the sanctity and value of every human life.
When PC students arrived in the nation’s capital on Thursday night before the march, they attended mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and then enjoyed a dinner with the Dominicans at the Dominican House of Studies.
On Friday morning, the students and friars were up early to get ready for the march. They gathered at the Washington Monument where President Trump would be addressing those in attendance.
Other Republican Presidents have sent surrogate speakers to address the crowd at the March for Life, but President Trump is the first sitting President to do so in person, and thus his presence was a reason for enthusiasm among the pro-life supporters. In his speech, Trump told the crowd that “unborn children have never had a stronger defender in the White House.”
After hearing the rally, the students walked from the monument to the Supreme Court building for the march. This walk took three hours because of the thousands of people participating.
Catherine Flugel ‘20, said her favorite part of the trip was at the end of the march when they reached the top of a hill. She said “looking down and seeing thousands of people was incredible.”
Flugel believes that the march is “an experience of a lifetime” and one that she will continue to attend even after she graduates from PC. She added, “The opportunity to attend the march with the Dominican Friars is very unique,” as friars from all over the U.S. gather in Washington, D.C., for this march every year.
Rebuilding the Gulf: Campus Ministry Gives Back in the Big Easy
by Kyle Burgess ’21
This past week, eleven Providence College students had the opportunity to experience Southern Hospitality while serving the communities of New Orleans, LA during the annual NOLA Immersion Trip. The program is sponsored by Campus Ministry and allowed the volunteers, accompanied by Pamela Tremblay, campus minister director of service, immersion & social justice, and Fr. Peter Martyr Yungwirth, O.P., to aid in the continuing rebuild of the city in the wake of Hurricane Katrina’s destruction as well as gain an appreciation for the unique culture and people that call NOLA home.
Per Campus Ministry’s website, the primary focus of the program’s mission “is both a general response to the Gospel call to do justice and a specific response to the reality of post-Katrina New Orleans, LA. The NOLA Immersion has at its core a commitment to the dignity of the human person, lived out by accompanying our neighbors in the journey toward justice.”
Students on the NOLA trip would encounter these neighbors in many areas that were not only devastated by the hurricane, but also by government neglect. The State of Louisiana failed to provide adequate aid to residents of places like the Lower Ninth Ward due to its vast poverty, and instead bought out houses to rent to victims.
Outside aid such as Brad Pitt’s Make It Right Foundation, which broke ground in 2007, constructing new, environmentally-friendly houses inevitably backfired as well, with the structures being deemed “defective” because of electrical, plumbing, and ventilation issues.
Touring communities such as the Lower Ninth Ward gave a sense of purpose to the students’ mission and inspired them to go about their work with great enthusiasm to make a difference. Students worked to bring justice through a wide variety of projects, including house repair and construction, providing food for the homeless, sorting out clothing donations for displaced young adults, and even helping on the administrative side of outreach centers in preparing Microsoft Excel spreadsheets for managers.
Friars found every job they partook in highly rewarding as they were able to directly interact with the people they were serving. The volunteers quickly grew on the residents in the shelters they worked at, eventually greeting each other regularly on a first-name basis and conveying shared interests in the other’s life story. Additionally, Friars were able to work alongside members of other outreach programs that were operating in other boroughs of New Orleans such as the St. Bernard Projects.
When not serving in the Harry Thompson Center or constructing homes, these Friars could be found taking in all the sights and experiences that the city had to offer. Highlights of these side trips include the Whitney Plantation, Joan of Arc Parade, the Katrina National Memorial Museum, and the Studio Be Art Gallery.
Students even got the chance to watch former Friar Kris Dunn ’16 and the Chicago Bulls take on the hometown New Orleans Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center. A group dinner of traditional New Orleans cuisine followed, and students were treated to local fare of jambalaya and King Cake while meeting with PC alumni from the area.
“The faith and sense of community that we were welcomed into was incredible,” recalled Caitlin Gleeson ’22. “We all learned a lot about New Orleans that we did not know before we came here. I never realized the lack of relief with its ties to government corruption and to continued racism in the state, but we could still see the impacts of our work in helping to serve others.” For those who took part on the trip, the experiences they brought back to Friartown are ones they will not soon forget.
Featured Friar: Trevor Wakefield ’21
by Hannah Langley ’21
Service and leadership have been a core part of the academic mission at Providence College since its opening. Trevor Wakefield ’21 is a great example of a PC student who continues to pursue this today.
As a theology and Spanish double major, Wakefield has given back to the PC community through his involvement in Campus Ministry, the English as a Second Language (ESL) program, and Friar Food Rescue.
As a member of ESL, Wakefield talked about how he has tutored some of the Sodexo employees at Raymond Dining Hall, as many of them speak Spanish as a first language. When talking about his work in ESL, Wakefield discussed his love for it, saying, “I really enjoy this ministry because it allows me to form a real relationship and connection with the workers.” In Friar Food Rescue, he explained how they donate leftover food from the dining hall to local homeless shelters, which is something Wakefield feels extremely passionate about.
Beyond the College’s campus, Wakefield participated in a service trip to Argentina during the summer of 2019. He mentioned, “I’ve been on a few mission trips before, but it’s nothing like doing six weeks of service. It’s easy to ride the week-long high of a mission trip, but when you are there for more than a month, things get into a rhythm and you get a sense of what things are like on a day to day basis.”
Some of the highlights for Wakefield from this trip included working with the local communities, talking to Elvio, their taxi driver throughout the trip, and visiting a semi-indigenous community in the Andes Mountains. “Being 8000 feet up, freezing cold, just spending time talking to people was a pretty awesome experience,” recalled Wakefield. He talked about how the trip allowed him to “immerse himself in their culture in a way that [he] never [had] before,” and how he learned so much about Spanish and Argentinian culture.
Besides service, Wakefield is involved at PC in other ways, such as participating in intramurals, where he and his friends won an intramural shirt, the club tennis team, working in the office of residence life, and being a resident assistant (RA) himself. “I really like working in Reslife,” said Wakefield, “because it is a great way to get involved, meet new people, and serve the students of the community.”
When asked what his favorite things about PC are, Wakefield replied that it is the sense of community. “I know it’s a cliche, but it’s definitely the best part about going here,” said Wakefield. He also mentioned how he loves the faith life and community that surrounds PC, saying, “I love walking around and seeing the friars just hanging out with students. Not only that, but I love being able to altar serve at the 10 p.m. Mass because there are so many students who are happy to be there worshiping the Lord together.”
Wakefield is grateful for the friends he has made during his time at PC and the community that surrounds him, saying, “When I walk into a room to a group of people smiling and happy to see me, I feel incredibly proud of the people that I’ve met and the friends I’ve made.”
Although Wakefield will be studying abroad in Seville, Spain this spring semester, he is excited to experience all that it holds. “I am very excited to try as many different kinds of food as possible. Between Spain and all the other countries I hope to visit, I’m hoping to get my fill of unique and delicious food.”
When asked what advice Wakefield might give to a PC student, he said not to be afraid to do something you like or love. “I’m one of two theology majors in my entire class, but it’s something that I love to study. Even if it’s maybe not an area of focus that is popular or will bring in a lot of money, if it’s something that you love, then those other things will matter a lot less.” After graduation, he hopes to pursue ministry-based work either in a high school or college setting, or within the Church.
Relief for Houston: PC Fundraises to Help Hurricane Harvey Victims
Texas Storm Hits Close for Some PC Students, Faculty, and Staff
By Liza Sisk ’19
Breaking News Staff