On Wednesday 25 May, Fr Nicholas Pearce, Senior Chaplain for Youth, Young Adults and Campus Ministry in the Archdiocese, made an exciting announcement: Archbishop Comensoli has approved the rental of a formation house for students of the University of Melbourne and RMIT, called the JPII House of Communion, Formation and Mission.

For the past six months, Fr Pearce has led the efforts of the Discipleship on Campus program, alongside the rest of Discipleship team. It is a program designed to bring the light of the Gospel onto university campuses, which are predominantly secular.

The facilities on campus for people of faith to gather, study and pray have always been limited. After a period of investigation as to how they could solve this problem, with the help of the team at Property and Infrastructure, a suitable property on Grattan Street in Carlton was found and has now been leased for a period of twelve months.

The ethos of the JPII House centres on three pillars:

  1. Communion: The house will be a place of prayer, liturgy and devotional life.
  2. Formation: It will be a place for learning the faith and art of discipleship.
  3. Mission: The house will also be a place where love is nurtured and extended to others.

The house will also include a chapel dedicated to Mary, Mother of the Church. It was at the foot of the Cross, Fr Pearce says in his announcement, that ‘Mary became the Mother of the Church and of all Disciples.’

The patronage of St John Paul II is a fitting one, he also says. In him, ‘our students will find an example who, throughout his life, exhibited, by word and example, the fundamental pillars of the house.’ As a young man and throughout his ministry as priest, bishop and pope, he integrated the life of prayer, learning and love in an exemplary fashion.

The announcement has struck a chord of excitement in the students as well.

Nicole says:

I’m very excited to finally have a place near campus where fellow young Catholics can come together! Keen to see the fruits this will bring to the chaplaincy.

Sera says:

It’s heartening to know that there will be a chapel open and free for students to spend some time with Our Lord after a long day of classes. This addresses a spiritual need that we’ve been yearning for since the pandemic.

Dave says:

JPII House has so much potential! I can’t wait to pray and study with my friends here.

‘Our students are so excited to have a home on campus,’ Fr Pearce says, ‘where they can come together, pray and be formed, and from where they can go back out onto campus and invite others into a relationship with Christ.’

After taking possession of the property in a few weeks, they hope to use the mid-semester break to prepare for a grand opening at the beginning of Semester 2.

This is an exciting new chapter in campus ministry. In the weeks ahead, the Discipleship on Campus team invites you to pray for their ongoing work, and that through the JPII House of Communion, Formation and Mission, new life can be breathed back onto the campuses of the University of Melbourne and RMIT.