As a church we serve the world and carry responsibility for our society. Universities are therefore important places for the Catholic Church where we can play an active part in shaping our society.
The Catholic congregation is a place where one can develop one’s character completely. The university congregation expands the social dimensions of university life, leaving it open for faith. It also helps provide quality of life at university through its open offers of counselling and support. In addition university congregations are critical partners of universities and the academic community, aiming to promote mutual respect between the academic learning and religion and bring questions of faith into academic discussions.
Play a part in university life and work
The time at university is an important phase in the development of the identity of young adults. In university congregations they can become involved in cultural and social activities and thus broaden their outlook on life and work. Students and young academics from all semesters and areas of interest meet in the university congregation. Exchange of ideas and shared involvement in social and cultural activities is character building. Questions of practical life planning are as much a part of university life as deeper questions about the meaning of life. Group discussions or private counselling with a university chaplain help provide orientation. The university congregation gives both personal and study support. It also organizes church scholarships and is deeply involved in helping foreign students become integrated into German universities. Social funds are often available to help in emergency situations.
Live and reflect the Christian faith
Although religion plays a relatively small part in university life, Christians here also seek familiar observance and practices in a Christian community which allow them to experience their Christianity in a meaningful and fulfilling way and to make their own contributions to it. Christian spirituality is experienced in the university congregation in very varied ways – from short prayer meetings to week-long retreats. A central and fixed element is the celebration of mass and other services for members of the university. Young people are open to spirituality and seek, especially during their studies, a better understanding of their faith. Open talks and discussions on fundamental theological questions as well as efforts to improve ecumenical and interreligious understanding are therefore part of the university congregation’s programme. The question about the relationship between religion and academic knowledge is kept alive by the church at the university by means of various discussion forums. In this way the awareness of the Christian roots in our culture are strengthened.
Be aware of responsibility in university life and society
Responsibility for the shaping of society and the academic community are part of the Christian way of life. University congregations encourage students and lecturers to reflect Christian values in their own behavior. University congregations invite students and lecturers to become involved in open dialogue regarding ethical issues in the academic community and society. They encourage and support students involved in projects aimed at promoting the respect of human dignity and understanding between cultures and religions, peace, justice and the integrity of creation. The format of university education and access to it are themselves important in any discussion of a fair and equal society. Therefore university congregations are involved in political debates on university and education and support equal rights, equal opportunities for women and men, and families with children.