St. John's Catholic Scholars Program Equips Students to Serve

“Here they come!”

This is the thought we have when that bus pulls up to our campus Church, dropping off over 50 8th graders from St. Mel Parish, in Flushing, Queens, who are only weeks away from their reception of the sacrament of Confirmation. They will call St. John’s University home for the day as they retreat and prepare for their sacraments.


This is one of the retreats offered by the sophomore Catholic Scholars at St. John’s University, as a part of the larger year of service to the local church, that we call Evangelization Teams. The Catholic Scholars are college students who commit to growing in their Catholic faith, leadership and in the Catholic Intellectual Tradition, both in and out of the classroom. The sophomores facilitate leadership retreats for local parishes and schools, and they provide a number of Confirmation retreats in collaboration with the Diocese of Brooklyn.

Getting on Campus

While not always possible, it is a special opportunity to bring the students to campus so they are exposed to a Catholic university. They often join our campus community for daily Mass. You could see the curiosity in their eyes as they see our beautiful Church alive in the young men and women who study and pray at St. John’s. As they participate in leadership activities and pray with the Catholic Scholars, we pray that these young people can see themselves in the future as college students who love and are growing in their Catholic faith.

Our Students Serve and Grow as a Result

For the Catholic Scholars, they grow in their leadership as they walk with those on retreat. They share their own faith journey, and they are reminded of the importance of their leadership in the Church. We pray that as alumni, they will return to their parishes to continue to lead and support others in their relationship with Christ, and with one another.

Jimmy Walters, Ed.D. is the Director of the Catholic Scholars and Residence Ministry at St. John’s University. You can contact him at Also, visit his blog on Appreciation and Gratitude at 

For more information on the Catholic Scholars, visit