Prayer requests: Now online!

By The Beacon | November 15, 2011 9:00pm

Campus Ministry is posting prayer requests online to offer students more spiritual support.

Prayer Requests (Ann Troung -- THE BEACON)

By Jennifer Rillamas Page Designer

Look at Gmail, check. Catch up on some Hulu, check. Order that new pair of shoes from Zappos, check. Post your prayer requests on the Campus Ministry website, check?

Here at UP, Campus Ministry is falling in line with the 21st century by allowing people to submit anonymous prayer requests to be posted on it's website.

"It's a way to intercede for others," Assistant Director of Faith Formation Stacey Noem said. "We're building relationships by advocating for one another in prayer."

Prayer requests can be submitted by anyone, inside or out of the UP community, to an email address created specifically for this purpose.

"It's an interesting concept, trying to bring the Catholic Church into the 21st century with Internet use," Campus Ministry sacristan and sophomore Manny Aquino said. "It's like a new direct line to God."

The prayer requests submitted to the email address are received anonymously and read by a member of Campus Ministry office. The requests are then posted anonymously under the prayer request tab of the Campus Ministry website. The prayer requests stay on the website for an average of two weeks.

Campus Ministry Associate Director for Music Maureen Briare first envisioned merging technology with spirituality during a staff meeting a year ago.

"My vision for this was an online prayer circle," Briare said. "So many parishes have prayer chains where one person calls another about a prayer intention and then the message is passed along."

Briare sees the current page as a trial to find the best way of managing something like this.

Ideally, she says, she would like to see a more interactive page where people could post comments or have a live chat going on.

"Nothing is more powerful than face to face interaction," Briare said. "However, technology easily reaches so many more people."

With things like online banking and class registration being a part of modern daily life, Noem feels that posting the prayer requests online is simply going along with the times.

"Taking advantage of technology is another way to connect our community," Noem said. "It would be artificial for us to ignore the resources at our fingertips."

Shipstad Hall Assistant Director Amanda Murphy sees this use of technology as a way to reach out to another generation.

"It's a way of Campus Ministry trying to reach a younger, more tech-savvy group," Murphy said. "They are trying to meet a need that isn't currently being met."

Some students have mixed feelings about the idea of sharing prayer requests with the entire community.

"It seems really impersonal," freshman Becca Mion said. "Prayer is really intimate to me, especially if I'm asking other people to pray for me."

Noem agrees that it isn't for everyone.

"The use of technology with spirituality really just depends on the person," Noem said.

On the other hand, many students like the idea of having a readily available means to express themselves spiritually.

"It's a good idea because it lets students know they can have prayer intentions," freshman Matthew Sutherland said. "I don't think many students know how to express them."

The website is seeing increases, receiving at least one submission a day for the past week.

"We don't expect to have a big impact with this, but we hope it provides a little piece of mind for some," Noem said. "It's helpful to know that other people are praying for you."