| By Rachel Seidl | 

In July of 2017, Addie Magruder, Graduate Ministries Coordinator at Dowling Catholic High School (DCHS), was asked to create a ministry for high school students at DCHS that encouraged them to keep the faith after graduation and for the rest of their lives. Because of this purpose, the ministry was named “Ut Fidem” which comes from the Latin phrase ut fidem teneamus, meaning, “Keep the Faith.”

The Ut Fidem ministry consists of same-gendered groups of five to seven high school students that are seeking to grow in the Catholic faith and personal relationship with Jesus. Each group is guided by an on-fire adult mentor from the diocese who accompanies them throughout the year. Groups are established from pre-existing friend groups with the hope to avoid the compartmentalization of the faith and the intent to help them place Jesus at the center of their lives.

In order to prepare for the ministry, Magruder attended the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) missionary training in the summer of 2017. This training takes place every summer for FOCUS missionaries, and is catered to missionaries who are joining college campuses. Although Magruder is placed at DCHS, she attended and adapted what she learned to create a new ministry under the guidance of the Holy Spirit structured for benefitting high school students.

“With the Ut Fidem ministry, students are not only gaining understanding of the Catholic faith, but they’re gaining confidence in the Catholic faith,” says Magruder, “As the school year goes on I see more and more students attending daily Mass, talking about Jesus in their daily conversations, and even praying together out loud.”

After its third semester of operation, Ut Fidem currently has 148 students involved: 14 female groups and 7 male groups, totaling 21 groups. In addition to this current number, 44 students who graduated last May were also involved.

When selecting adult mentors, they are prayerfully discerned by both Magruder and the mentor.

In 2018, the Catholic Foundation of Southwest Iowa (CFSWIA) awarded the Ut Fidem program with a grant.

“We stand by the belief that disciples imitate the lived example of their rabbi. As such, our groups are only as strong as their mentors,” says Magruder.

With this grant, Magruder created ongoing trainings and formation sessions in order to better equip Ut Fidem mentors with what they need in order to better accompany their group of high school students.

Magruder says, “Ministry alone will never move a soul. Only Jesus will, which makes prayer the most important part of ministry.”

Because of this, Magruder is looking for people to join the Ut Fidem prayer team. Members of the prayer team are responsible for taking time each day to pray for Ut Fidem students by name. If you are interested in joining, contact Addie Magruder by emailing [email protected].

Catholic parishes, schools, and organizations benefit in many different ways from the CFSWIA Grant Program. If there is a need in your parish, school, or organization, contact them about this program. This year’s CFSWIA grant applications are due February 25th, 2019. Visit www.catholicfoundationiowa.org/grant-program/ to learn more.