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19 October 2010

St. Augustine brings in new priest

Brittney Bomnin//Art Director

The new school year always brings new faces to campus; freshmen, transfer students and new faculty.

This year, it has also brought a new priest to St. Augustine’s parish, the center for Catholic student life at UM.

Monsignor Michael Carruthers was assigned to the parish less than a month before classes began, after the Archdiocese of Miami welcomed Thomas Wenski as its new archbishop.

According to Carruthers, the new archbishop believes that the church needs to be in the public arena. With this idea in mind, the archbishop assigned him to St. Augustine with the hopes of increasing campus ministry at UM.

“Pope Benedict recently spoke of how what he calls the world of reason and world of spirituality need each other,” Carruthers said. “The Church and the University need each other.”

Carruthers said that as a new priest, he wants to take the time to ask the question “what is the philosophy of what we are doing?’ and to figure out the identity of his new parish.

“Being at St. Augustine is a new ministry for me,” Carruthers said. “It is a time of observation, study and prayer.”

He has been studying John Henry Newman’s Theory of the University, and in late September, he traveled to Texas A&M University in order to see how its Catholic campus ministry functioned.

“At Texas A&M, there is a major priority on campus ministry,” Carruthers said.

Carruthers stressed that the goal of a university parish such as St. Augustine should be to become a place of intellectual and spiritual dialogue.

“[Carruthers] seems very capable of talking to students,” said Paul Haislamaier, a freshman in the Catholic Student Association.

Carruthers has some goals for the future.

“There are three groups I would like to reach out to: the UM students, the faculty and the other parishioners,” Carruthers said. “I would like to see more opportunity for the formation of students in their faith, more opportunity for engagement of the faculty, and more involvement with the parishioners.”

According to Rigo Vega, director of campus ministry, Carruthers’ arrival has been met with positive responses.

“The whole parish has experienced a jolt of enthusiasm with Carruthers’s arrival,” Vega said. “The new archbishop has a vision of where to go in the future.”

Originally from Long Island, New York, Carruthers moved to Florida when he was eight years old. He attended the former Indian River Community College, and then went on to the St. John Vianney College Seminary in Miami to earn his bachelor’s degree in theology. In 1991, he was ordained as a priest in the Archdiocese of Miami.

As a Brooklyn native, Carruthers said he is a Yankees fan, but wants to assure Canes fans that he has worn his UM cap proudly since the 1980s.

Katherine O’Reilly may be contacted at koreilly@themiamihurricane.com.