One night after class, Nicole Floyd, then a commuting freshman, stopped at the Cove to get something to eat before her drive back home. She met another student there and struck up a conversation that would change her experience at Seton Hall University.
Floyd is now a senior sociology and Catholic Studies major finishing her second year as a sacristan for the campus ministry.
As one of six sacristans on campus, Floyd is in charge of the main chapel. She and another student ensure the space is fully stocked and ready for the three daily masses.
“The sacristan’s duty is to make sure that that ceremony, whatever it may be, goes smoothly,” said Fr. Nick Figurelli, the ninth-year associate director of Campus Ministry, and liaison to the sacristans. “The core, outside of education, here at Seton Hall is that chapel, and for things to go smoothly, you need people.”
Along with housekeeping duties for the chapel, such as cleaning linens and bookmarking Bibles, Floyd and the other sacristans interact closely with the priests and the Campus Ministry community, allowing her to get to know each member personally.
“I’ve been Catholic my whole life, but I never knew priests really well, so I thought this was a good way to get to know the priest community and be more involved within the church as well,” said Mary Molnar, a nursing major and senior sacristan completing her third year in the position.
Friends since freshman year, Molnar and Floyd are now roommates, receiving free room and board as compensation for their work as sacristans.
Floyd was the one who first told her about the program when they both decided to apply. Molnar is now the sacristan for the Xavier chapel.
“A lot of these priests I would have never met had I not had this job,” Molnar said. “[Fr. Francis and Fr. Brian] really love the Seton Hall community. They put time and effort into getting to know the students and getting to know me.”
Floyd often speaks extensively with Monsignor Richard Liddy about the connections between Catholic studies and business. The two have even discussed possibly creating a Catholic business course at Seton Hall, though Floyd emphasized it as only an idea.
Molnar spoke highly of her “boss,” Fr. Figurelli, joking that she only goes into his office when she has 45 minutes to spare in order to listen to him tell story after story in his own hysterical fashion.
“The people that I work with in Campus Ministry and everyone I’ve encountered because of it have enriched my life in a way I didn’t think this job would initially,” Floyd said.
For Floyd, her job with Campus Ministry has become a home.
“I think it reinforces their faith,” Fr. Figurelli added.
Molnar said her experience as a sacristan is only one part of her spiritual education.
“My faith is something that’s really important to me and something I’ve tried to incorporate into all aspects of my life,” Molnar said.
From singing as a child in her church’s choir, to becoming a sacristan in college, Molnar explained that her involvement in the pursuit of faith will not end when she leaves Seton Hall.
Payton Seda can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.