Office of Mission/Ministry Build, Strengthen USD Community

Office of Mission/Ministry Build, Strengthen USD Community

A COVID-19 pandemic that began in March and continues to make its mark on the world, including a shift of the 2020 spring semester at the University of San Diego to remote learning, has caused many to experience a range of emotions, including uncertainty.

While there have been numerous instances of compassion and support shown by those connected to USD — demonstrating #TorerosTogether — one particular entity has been a primary source of comfort and providing a sense of calm and inspiration — the Office for Mission and Ministry.

It has continued to serve the campus community every step of the way. They've organized special events and developed resources to help all Toreros stay connected, build and strengthen community and to engage spirituality and faith.

On Wednesday, the last of three weekly, noontime "Virtual Pizza: Connection, Conversation and Community" Zoom events of the semester demonstrated this kind of welcoming environment.

The theme of this particular meeting was to explore gratitude, first with a few icebreakers for people to express what they were grateful for, followed by a short talk by Erin Bishop, director for Mission, where the key takeaway was to "let go of seeing gratitude as a task," not to force it, but for it to happen naturally, be in the moment. Bishop shared a powerful video emphasizing the beauty of gratitude, treating each "today" as a gift to be appreciated.

Aly Monteleone, a university minister and yoga instructor, put the assembled virtual audience through a light, beginner-level yoga stretch workout for another productive 10-15 minutes. Annette Welsh, a USD alumna, university minister and director of the Founders Chapel Choir and ensembles, closed the hour-long program with a final prayer.

This Virtual Pizza gathering was held twice in April, too, but Wednesday's last gathering was done to send students off as they prepare for final exams starting May 15.

Should students need additional support with a community feel, there are multiple resources available. Sunday Mass, at 6 p.m. in Founders Chapel on Instagram Live happens again on May 10. Virtual Small Groups for student faith-sharing is available, there’s an online prayer board and Tuesday nights at 7 has been a place for university ministers to host a virtual gathering with a student reflection. This past Tuesday, USD student Maggie Brady spoke about compassion and the importance of not just receiving it, but extending it to others.

Faculty and staff resources also exist. There is an Online Gratefulness Group and the ability to connect with a spiritual guide via email,

Again, we all know we are experiencing unusual things during this COVID-19 pandemic, but USD does have positive ways for the community to react.

— Compiled by Ryan T. Blystone

The Office of Mission and Ministry has been serving the community well since the COVID-19 pandemic, including its "Virtual Pizza" event.The Office of Mission and Ministry has been serving the community well since the COVID-19 pandemic, including its "Virtual Pizza" event.

Contact Information