In preparation for the Asian Academy of Campus Ministry (AACM) of 2023, the Ateneo de Davao University hosted its partners from the United Board of Higher Education in Asia during their Consultation on Curriculum Development and Training Content for the AACM. The consultation and planning took place from 20-23 September 2022 at the Board Room of the Calungsod-San Vitores Jesuit-Lay Collaboration Center, 11/F Community Center of the First Companions (CCFC).

The team of consultants was composed of educators and academic professionals whose esteemed work in campus ministry, spiritual formation, psychology, and interreligious dialogue elevated the discussion and planning. The consultants provided valuable input that generated the overall theme and curriculum for next year’s Asian Academy of Campus Ministry.

At the helm of the planning and the consultation were Dr. Angela Wai Ching Wong, Vice President for Programs from the United Board of Christian Higher Education in Asia, and Dr. Maher Spurgeon, Consultant, Director of South Asia Programs from the same institution. They were welcomed by Fr. Joel E. Tabora, S.J., University President of Ateneo de Davao University during the opening segment of the program in 21 September 2022. Fr. Tabora introduced the mission and vision of Ateneo de Davao University, and the place of formation and campus ministry in its goals.

Among the international consultants were Rev. Stefanus Christian Haryono, Director of Center for the Study of Spirituality and Spiritual Formation of the Duta Wacana Christian University, Indonesia; Dr. Jessie Ranjitha Jebaselvi, Associate Professor and Chaplain, Lady Doak College, India; and Dr. Su Yon Pak, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York, USA, who joined the consultation virtually.

Our own academic heads and formation directors in the Ateneo de Davao University were also invited by the United Board to lend their expertise in the consultation process. Chief among them was Dr. Nelly Limbadan, Assistant Dean for Social Science, School of Arts and Sciences, who is also part of the Advisory Council of the United Board. Fr. Jessel Gerard M. Gonzales, S.J., Director of the Ignatian Spirituality & Formation Office (ISFO), Ms. Agnes Joy J. Sagaral, Director of the Arrupe Office of Social Formation (AOSF), and Mr. Patrick Jose B. Cavan, Head Campus Minister of the Higher Education Unit, were also vital contributors to the consultation for the AACM.

The Asian Academy of Campus Ministry recognizes the critical role of Campus Ministers in contributing to a culture of care in schools and universities. Beyond evangelization and proselytizing, spiritual formation has evolved into something far more holistic and multidimensional. Campus Ministers are then called to work with the school’s Guidance Counselors and Spiritual Directors, the Prefect and the Student Leaders. The job of the Campus Minister has evolved with the times and in order to effectively cope with this change one must acquire or further hone new skills, which the AACM seek to address via its training program. 

Campus Ministry is also all about a ministry of presence and care that fosters trust with the students. Through the Asian Academy of Campus Ministry, the United Board through its partnership with the Ateneo de Davao University seeks to empower the carers in their mission to better serve their communities in the name of whole person education and cura personalis or personal care.