In 2018 Montini Catholic High School in Lombard proudly introduced a unique, faith-based ministry made up of student leaders. Their primary mission is to inspire and motivate by example and to encourage students to engage in faith-based activities at Montini and in their communities.
This year's team of (40) forty determined 'leaders' is proudly carrying on the mission and were instrumental in helping the Lasallian college preparatory high school wrap-up a very successful 'Season of Giving." "Our season of giving starts with our Golden Gobbler Food Drive and ends with our Adopt-a-Family Christmas Drive," said President Jim Segredo. "Each year our peer ministers roll up their sleeves, jump in and help get the job done. In the process they bring even more to the table by inspiring their peers to get involved, donate and help out."
"Our main goal when forming our Peer Ministry Team was to help guide the faith life of our students here at Montini," said Theology Teacher and Co-Assistant Campus Minister, Ms. Katie Miller. "Leaders participate in our school Masses, speak at our freshman and sophomore retreats and lead small group discussions at these retreats." In 2018, Miller and her student ministers also formed different committees within the ministry (Prayer, Service, and General Ministry) with the goal of introducing additional faith-based opportunities to Montini students.
Peer Ministers are required to be responsible leaders each day in their classrooms. "Being selected as a member of this group requires a big commitment," added Mrs. Miller. "We are very honored to have these dedicated leaders in our midst!" It was her goal to have the group's presence and influence grow at Montini. The annual "Season of Giving" is always the perfect time to accomplish just that. "We want membership to become a highly sought after position for our young adults!"
"Mrs. Miller and Mr. Blanchette (Montini's Campus Minister) have really inspired me," said Peer Minister (senior) Mia Paolella. "I’ve had both of them as teachers and they've encouraged me to be a peer minister for my own benefit and faithful journey. The biggest responsibility in Peer Ministry is setting a good example in school, being a good person, and making sure you don’t set a bad example because this reflects not only on me, but our school."
"(As a peer minister) I hope to take on more leadership roles, strengthen my faith with God and be more involved in Montini," adds junior Haley Doucet "When I was a freshman here, the peer ministers were always checking on me and that's the kind of person I want to be for the underclassman at Montini." Senior Noah Dabney agrees. "I really wanted to join a community to help others and organize events. I also want to help out with new freshmen because I know how hard freshman year can be. I believe the most important responsibility is to do all things through God, no matter what we're doing."
That is exactly what Montini's "Season of Giving" is all about. Food and gifts are donated every year to needy families in the Chicagoland area, with Peer Ministers at the forefront of helping to get others motivated to give. This year they sold 'candy-grams,' held dress-down days and sold raffle tickets for various items to raise extra money for families.
"I think the most important responsibility of a Peer Minister is being consistent. Always knowing what is happening, who to help, what needs changing, and so much more," said junior Angela Banov, who is inspired by her grandmother to get involved in the ministry. "You are always looking for new ways to become better and involve the school community in the process." For senior Mary Lah, her mission as a peer minister during the Golden Gobbler and Adopt-a-Family drives is pretty simple. "Others have to care for others and that is the main goal."
Mr. Blanchette was confident that the peer ministry program will benefit the school community as a whole. "We are a family oriented community. The freshmen look up to the Peer Ministers as older brothers/sisters," he said. "While at the same time, our Peer Ministers are being challenged to grow their leadership skills and to become inspirations within their school and local communities."
"We think that providing opportunities led by the students themselves, like Golden Gobbler and Adopt-a-Family, will make them more meaningful and desirable," added Mrs. Miller.
The success of this year's "Season of Giving' has proven that theory.
Image above: Montini Catholic Peer Ministers in Alphabetical order from l to r: