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Introducing the Bridge Building Collaborators

The Bridge Builders for a Thriving Mission initiative is made possible by collaboration between individuals, communities, and institutions who care passionate about co-responsibility, the mission of the Gospel, and building bridges in and an ever-changing church and world. These are some of the core partners.

Bridge Builders for a Thriving Mission Began in Partnership

In 2020 Saint John's School of Theology and Seminary received a grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc. to partner with the Center for Latino Ministries at Saint John's Abbey and the Diocese of Saint Cloud. The Bridge Builders for a Thriving Mission initiative helps those who are passionate about co-responsibility for the mission of the Gospel grow as bridge builders in an ever-changing church and world. This involves connecting with other innovators, funding for ministry experiments, introducing Benedictine spiritual practices, training and retreats for pastoral leaders, and one-on-one coaching to leverage resources—human and financial—to strengthen our thriving mission in Central Minnesota.

Diocese of St. Cloud

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Saint Cloud encompasses 12,251 square miles in 16 central Minnesota counties, with an estimated total population of 555,400. The diocese stretches more than 175 miles from east to west, including some of Minnesota’s most rural areas along the North and South Dakota borders. It also includes one of the nation’s fastest-growing suburban corridors extending from Minneapolis northwest to St. Cloud. The diocese currently comprises of 29 Area Catholic Communities, representing 131 parishes with a combined Catholic population of over 133,000. Bishop Patrick Neary, C.S.C. was appointed the tenth bishop of the Diocese of Saint Cloud December 15, 2022. He was formally ordained and installed February 14, 2023.

School of Theology and Seminary

Center for Latino Ministries at Saint John's Abbey

The Lilly Endowment Inc.

Emmaus Institute

As of 2023 Area Catholic Communities are preparing for their pastoral visits with Bishop Neary. This will bean opportunity for each ACCs to tell their story - stories embodied with hope and challenges. Stories that are transforming of how to encounter others, navigate change and to be a people of hope. Upon hearing the vision and hopes of these pastoral visits, Deacon Jim Schulzetenberg was caught on video responding. Listen here:

large group photo in chapel

SJU Campus Ministry Fills FYRE Retreat

by Phoebe Carstens, SJUfaith Graduate Student Intern

On the weekend of September 29 – October 1, 2023, 70 CSB and SJU students, 13 student leaders, and 3 Campus Ministry staff members travelled to Alexandria, MN for a weekend full of faith-sharing, rest, and building community. SJUfaith’s annual First Year Retreat Experience (FYRE) brought together first year students across different academic majors, cultures, and even faith traditions for some time dedicated to introducing students to Benedictine values and forming connections with one another. The three-day retreat included talks by student leaders, small group reflection time, guided prayer, dance parties, nature walks, and team building activities.

One of the primary goals of FYRE is to provide the space for first year students to get to know students who are outside of their regular spheres: faces they might see across the altar at the 9PM student mass but have never met, campus leaders they see facilitating clubs and student events but have never had a conversation with. FYRE is the place to put names to faces and stories to names. This was exemplified in the praise and worship time Saturday evening. After a day full of talks and small-group sharing about community living, listening, and moderation, interspersed with lectio divina and lively skits, we took a pause to pray and sing together. For the final song, everyone in the chapel arranged themselves in one big circle, arms around shoulders so that all were included. As each person sang about being their sibling’s keeper, it was clear that these were not mere words — this had really become a community.

photo of small group working with paints

CSB Campus Ministry Paints the Word

with Karen Handeland On October 3, 2003, approximately 35 students and a few sisters from St. Benedict’s Monastery gathered for Painting the Word this October as a Lifeline Event with Campus Ministry at the College of Saint Benedict. The retreat was sponsored in part by Bridge Builders for a Thriving Mission. Artist Karen Handeland walked participants through the creative process. They were delighted to dive into prayer and painting based on the parable of the Sower and the Seed. It was an encouraging and inspiring evening! Painting the Word experiences like these use Seeing the Word pamphlets from Liturgical Press and involves both Lectio Divina and Visio Divina.

photo of large group outdoors
photo of large group outdoors

What’s Your Big Idea for Community?

The Bridge-Builders for a Thriving Mission Initiative provides up to $2,000 for approved big ideas that support thriving communities.

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