MESA — For a young man whose college internship was through the All Saints Catholic Newman Center in Tempe 15 years ago, Rob Curtis’s vocational career has come full circle.
He went from serving Catholics at Arizona State University as a college student himself to wearing various hats at St. John Vianney Parish and School in Goodyear to heading campus ministry at Seton Catholic Preparatory in Chandler. Now, Curtis is headed back to college — this time Benedictine University at Mesa — to serve as its new campus minister.
“Rob brings with him years of campus ministry experience, a familiarity with the surrounding community and a strong ecumenical background,” said Kevin Broeckling, associate vice president for University Services and Student Life. “Rob will be tasked with providing opportunities for students to explore, develop and strengthen their understanding of their faith and how they share it with others.”
He will also work closely with Fr. James Aboyi, V.C., parochial vicar at the Holy Cross Parish in Mesa, who serves as BenU at Mesa’s chaplain, to create stronger ties between the institution and the area’s Catholic populace.
“The campus minister serves as a bridge between the university community and the greater Catholic world. I am thrilled to be at Benedictine because of the tradition, heritage and spirituality of St. Benedict,” Curtis said, calling the saint a unique model for young adults. “Like so many young people today, he became disillusioned with the world (of Rome). But unlike many today who turn away from God, he retreated to seek out God, to seek out wisdom and to seek out meaning in his life.”
Curtis hopes to use the office of campus minister to facilitate the spiritual growth and journey of all students regardless of faith, but to do so from a uniquely Catholic (i.e. universal) worldview that sees everything and everyone as being of consequence.
“It truly boils down to answering the call of Christ to share the good news to all,” he said.
Curtis said he is listening and gathering information from students, faculty and Mesa campus administration regarding the kinds of activities they would like to see. There have already been requests for retreats, Bible studies, outreach to the athletic teams, development of student ministry leadership teams, spiritual guidance and further development of campus liturgical life.
“I am keenly aware of the need to be ecumenical in my approach,” Curtis said. “It is my hope to offer programming that fits the spiritual needs and hopes of the student body by the start of the spring semester. I am also looking to help connect the University in a stronger way to the local Catholic community.”
Curtis earned master’s degrees in Secondary Teacher Education at the University of Phoenix, and Pastoral Theology and Educational Leadership at St. Joseph’s College of Maine. He is a native of Arizona who was born and raised in Chandler. Curtis and his wife, Carrie, have two daughters – Taylor, age 9, and Molly, age 5.