Religious Studies/Theology & Pastoral Ministry Student Jennifer Henry-Wilson Starts New Job in S.C. While Finishing Degree
Seton Hill University Religious Studies/Theology major Jennifer Henry-Wilson is also enrolled in the Pastoral Ministry Program, a partnership between Seton Hill and the Diocese of Greensburg. She recently was kind enough to answer a few questions about her studies, and her plans for the future.
What has been your experience with Seton Hill’s faculty & students?
I transferred to Seton Hill in August of 2018; I fell in love with SHU. The theology faculty at Seton Hill are such amazing, dedicated professors who want to see their students shine. From the get-go, they were there to help me, academically, emotionally and spiritually. The Pastoral Ministry program that works with the Diocese of Greensburg is truly something I am so thankful for. It introduced me to 11 great people from my diocese who, just like me, were there to become lay ministers. All of our class discussions are incredibly fruitful to me, as a Catholic, and just as a young adult!
I understand that you’re completing your last semester online while working full-time at Saint Clare of Assisi Church in Daniel Island, South Carolina. What is your new job like?
I currently work with children ages 6 mo - 11 years in their faith formation. I work with our nursery, our Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program, First Communion, and our main children's faith formation program, Clare's Kids. We're currently working on planning our Advent / Christmas season, where we're going to give Advent Prayer Boxes to every family for them to set up a prayer space in their home. We're also going to have an Advent Prayer Service with Adoration, and after, we'll have a movie night outside with bonfires, and smores! Recently, we held an All Saints' Day Trunk or Treat, it was AWESOME! I dressed as Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton to pay tribute to SHU.
"The theology faculty at Seton Hill are such amazing, dedicated professors who want to see their students shine."
How has online learning affected you?
I do miss my friends and the community I had at SHU. There are days where I'm in my kitchen in my apartment and I think, “Wow, I could really go for some of the Cove's mozzarella sticks.’” Nevertheless, I am incredibly grateful to the SHU faculty and staff for helping me make this transition to online learning to take this job in Charleston.
What have been your greatest highs and lows while working in this position?
Overall, my highs of the job have been seeing kids form their relationship with Christ and getting to plan fun, fruitful activities. A low of the job would be COVID, of course. We're also a brand new parish (est 2014), so we don't have a church building just yet (2021 we will!) So, we've been holding Faith Formation outside, which has definitely been a challenge to teach outside of the normal classroom! I love my job, and I especially love helping families cultivate their family spirituality and becoming their own domestic church!
You’ve recently been accepted into the GIVEN Institute. What does that entail?
The GIVEN Institute is a program dedicated to nurturing young women in their faith to be able to use their God-given gifts in the world today. In June of 2021, I will travel to DC with other Catholic women to spend time in prayer, adoration, and training sessions to learn how to use my gifts in my ministry! We all have to develop an "Action Plan" that they will nurture during that week - a plan to use your gifts actively in some aspect of your life. My Action Plan is to implement a "Holy Family Ministry" in my Diocese with my husband.
What’s the greatest thing you learned during your time at Seton Hill?
The greatest thing I learned from SHU was being receptive to God's calling. Every person I met was just so filled with the Holy Spirit. I've definitely had my moments of crying in St. Joseph Chapel before finals, but I've also had these great opportunities from SHU that I wouldn't have had anywhere else. I got to be a representative in the Diocese of Greenburg's Diocesan Lenten Appeal Campaign, I've gotten to meet great theologians, and I've been exposed to a great Catholic Education that's placed me where I am today!