The life of the college is ordered to Wisdom in its fullest sense, an ordering that engages the whole person. In light of this orientation, it is natural that the spiritual growth of the college’s members is of great importance. In a felicitous phrase, our college has been called “the Church at study.” This observation unites our immediate purpose–the study that leads to wisdom–with our identity as Christians. As the latter we recognize that the Eucharist is the “source and summit of the Christian life” and for this reason the college makes ample provision for its students to enter deeply into the sacramental and liturgical life of the Church during their four years.
The college’s academic year unfolds according to the rhythms of the liturgical year. The liturgical highlight of the year comes during the liturgies of the Paschal Triduum. On Feast Days such as the Immaculate Conception, the college’s offices are closed and the distinct nature of the Feast is marked in special ways.
At Magdalen College we seek to provide our students with liturgies marked by beauty and reverence, drawing deeply on the great liturgical traditions of the Church. Our chaplain celebrates Mass in both the Ordinary Form throughout the week and the Extraordinary Form (a sung High Mass) once per week. Students also gather each day in the collegiate chapel to pray Morning and Evening prayer and the rosary. Compline is sung each evening in the residential chapels (where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved) and as part of Adoration on Sunday, which is concluded with Benediction.
“The goal of our pastoral and catechetical work, the object of our preaching, and the focus of our sacramental ministry should be to help people establish and nurture that living relationship with Christ Jesus our hope’”.
– Pope Benedict XVI from the address given to the US Bishops during his visit to the US on April 16th, 2008
Magdalen College is honored to have Father Stephen Rocker serving in the Office of Spiritual Life. Father Rocker celebrates Mass on campus on Sundays and on weekdays. He also has appointed times for confession each day and is available for spiritual direction.
Fr. Rocker is liberally educated and has earned degrees in philosophy and theology. He has twenty years of experience teaching undergraduate courses in philosophy. He was ordained in 1979 as a priest of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg, NY. Most recently, he served as pastor of parishes in Colton and Potsdam, NY.
At Magdalen College we seek to integrate a rich liturgical life with the great devotional traditions of the Church. In addition to daily Mass, confession, and the Liturgy of the Hours, students also gather daily to pray the rosary. A wide variety of other devotions play a role in the spiritual lives of our students.
In the fall of 2011, the college was consecrated to the Sacred Heart, a consecration renewed annually. The college has been blessed with a reliquary and has a May crowning of our Blessed Mother each year.
Spes Vitae (Hope for Life) is the pro-life club at Magdalen College. The mission of the club is to actively promote a culture of life through concrete means such as pro-life holy hours, volunteering at local pregnancy help centers, witnessing in prayer at abortion clinics, participating in local pro-life events (e.g., annual N.H. March for Life, etc.). Through these activities, the club benefits the college community as well as society at large by providing a formal means of public discipleship. The clubs pro-life efforts are complemented by the work of the Dignitas Scholars, the World Youth Alliance chapter, and the college’s Knights of Columbus council.
In the fall of 2012, a new confraternity, the Confraternity of Saint Joseph, was established on campus. This group meets bi-weekly at the president’s home for a home-cooked meal, spiritual reading, prayer, and fellowship. All of the incoming freshmen men are welcome to join the Confraternity each year, marking their entrance formally with the reception of the scapular of Saint Joseph.
In the Sodality of Mary, young women from the college gather bi-weekly with the wife of the president for a time of food, prayer, fellowship, and mutual encouragement. Each gathering begins with prayer (often including lectio divina) and is followed by discussions of topics that affect Catholic women at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Following the discussion, the women enjoy a good home-cooked meal and great conversation.
Orantes seeks to discover what it means to be a Christian through discussion and inspiration about prayer. During meetings a short selection from Sacred Scripture, a spiritual work, the Catechism, or a pertinent passage from other works is read aloud to facilitate discussion and to promote community. Members seek to support and inspire each other towards a lively life of personal prayer.