Fordham University’s Christian Life Communities (CLC), small groups of students who gather once week to share their faith, have grown to nearly 70 members in the year since they were established on campus.
The communities, which are part of a worldwide Ignatian initiative, were started with 40 students in the spring of 2006 and beginning on Monday, Feb. 11, Fordham will have nine CLC groups that include both undergraduate and graduate students.
“There’s definitely that hunger for a deeper connection with other students and a hunger for a connection with God,” said Randy Jerome, coordinator of retreats at Campus Ministry who organizes the communities. “I think a lot of the appeal of the CLCs is just having a place of acceptance where students can be real, where they don’t have to have those pretenses. That’s a powerful thing, especially in college life where there is always pressure to have an image or conform.”
The Christian Life Community movement is a post-Vatican II initiative that was founded in the early 1970s. The movement, however, traces its origins to the congregation of lay people who through the efforts of a Belgian Jesuit, John Leunis, S.J., formed the Sodality of Our Lady in 1563. The communities typically range in membership from 6 to 10 people and can include adults as well as youth, and not all members are Catholic. In the 35 years since the movement was officially sanctioned by the Holy See, communities have spread to five continents and nearly 60 countries.