University Ministry: Faith and Service

University Ministry serves the spiritual needs of the entire University of Mary community. We offer a broad range of programs designed to promote a vibrant spiritual life and a University-wide climate of discernment and engagement.

  • Liturgical celebrations anchor the life of learning in prayer and worship.
  • Educational opportunities advance the dialogue between Faith and Reason.
  • Social justice projects put faith into action, nourishing a culture of servant leadership.

Grounded in the Christian, Catholic, and Benedictine identity of the University of Mary, University Ministry strives to honor Christ, to share the riches of the Catholic tradition, to cultivate authentic ecumenical cooperation and interfaith literacy, all while fostering the spiritual and moral development of every member of the University community.

Religious Services Calendar

Dr. Peter A. Huff

Director of the Saint John Paul II Center for University Ministry
Professor of Theology
[email protected]

  • B.A., History and Religion, Mercer University Atlanta
  • M.Div., Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Ph.D., Historical Theology, Saint Louis University

Dr. Huff has held endowed chairs at Xavier University and Centenary College and has also taught at the University of Puget Sound and Saint Anselm College, where he served as founding director of the Catholic Studies program.  A native of Atlanta, he studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music before launching a career in theology. He is a convert to Catholicism, active in ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, and has presented papers at professional meetings in North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. Dr. Huff is a popular speaker in churches and a respected commentator for print and electronic media. His articles have appeared in a wide variety of periodicals, and his books include The Voice of Vatican II and Allen Tate and the Catholic Revival. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.  He and his wife Mary have one adult son.

Father Robert P. Shea

University Chaplain
Interim Director of Catholic Studies
[email protected]

  • BA, Political Science, Franciscan University of Steubenville
  • BA & MA, Philosophy, Franciscan University of Steubenville
  • STB, Theology, Pontifical Gregorian University
  • STL, Moral Theology, Pontifical University of the Holy Cross

Father Robert Shea grew up one of eight children on the family farm outside of Hazelton, North Dakota.  He studied at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Oxford University, and the North American College in Rome.  He has served in the Diocese of Bismarck as Associate Pastor at Saint Mary’s Parish for two years and as a religion instructor at St. Mary’s Central High School. As University Chaplain, Father Shea ministers to the sacramental and spiritual needs of students, staff, and faculty at Mary.  He is currently the interim Director of the Catholic Studies Program and a member of the University’s Bioethics Committee.  While at Mary, Father Shea continues to serve as Bishop David Kagan’s ethicist and moral theologian for healthcare in the Diocese of Bismarck.

Edward R. Konieczka

Assistant Director of University Ministry
[email protected]

BS, Organizational Leadership, University of Mary

Ed’s career in ministry began with two years of domestic and international service with the National Evangelization Teams (NET) based in St. Paul, Minnesota. Upon returning to his native Chicago, he served as the Director of the Retreat Organization of Catholic Kids (ROCK), a Chicago area retreat ministry. He has served as youth minister at St. Benedict’s Catholic Church in Fontana, Wisconsin and Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Bismarck, North Dakota. Among his many duties at Mary, he plays a leading role in organizing the annual Youth Rally for the Diocese of Bismarck and the University’s medical missions to Peru. In addition to the University of Mary, Ed has studied at the University of Illinois and the Augustine Institute. Ed and his wife Melanie enjoy partnering in ministry. They have six children. 

Rebecca L. Raber

Director of Chapel Choir/Music Ministry
Assistant Professor of Music/Catholic Studies
[email protected] 

  • BA, Vocal/Instrumental Music Education, Jamestown College
  • BA, History/Political Science, Jamestown College
  • M, Choral Conducting, University of North Dakota
  • DMA in progress, Choral Conducting, North Dakota State University

Rebecca Raber has been a dedicated vocal and instrumental music educator for over twenty years, teaching students from kindergarten through university levels.  She has traveled extensively with her choirs throughout the United States, and has also directed students on a European tour.  Rebecca is an active composer, adjudicator and guest clinician, and is very active in the American Choral Director's Association, previously having served as State President, Webmaster, Chorister Editor, and Membership Chair.  Rebecca is currently in the DMA program for Choral Conducting at North Dakota State University.  The subject of her research is African American Spirituals, with a special interest in "escape/signal songs” and Gullah/Geechee culture.  She enjoys photography, travel, and spending time with husband, Michael, and their two dogs.

Father Joshua Waltz

Priest in Residence

Father Waltz, a graduate of the North American College in Rome, serves as Vocation Director for the Diocese of Bismarck and lives in residence on Saint Joseph’s Hall, offering spiritual direction and sacramental support to students. He also teaches classes at the University on spiritual discernment. Watch Father Waltz tell his vocation story

Father Frank Schuster

Assistant Chaplain

Father Schuster, a graduate of Saint Meinrad School of Theology, is the Pastor of Saint Hildegard’s Church in rural Menoken and Sacred Heart Church in Wilton. He is an alumnus of the Spiritual Direction Training Program at the University of Saint Mary’s of the Lake, Mundelein Seminary. Father Schuster is available to students for confessions, counseling, and spiritual direction.

Father Anthony Baker, O.S.B.

University of Mary Office of Public Affairs

Father Anthony, a graduate of the University of Mary and Saint Meinrad School of Theology, is a Benedictine Monk of Assumption Abbey and works in the University’s Office of Public Affairs. Father Anthony serves on the Board of Camp ReCreation, a Christian summer camp for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In addition to his administrative responsibilities, he often hears confessions and offers Mass on campus.

Father Longinus (Al) Bitz 

University of Mary Office of Mission Advancement

Father Bitz served for 45 years as a priest of the Diocese of Fargo, North Dakota, before retiring in 2014 to the University of Mary to work in fundraising for the Office of Mission Advancement. He has served on the University’s Board of Trustees and his parish assignments included the Cathedral and Saint Anthony’s in Fargo, the Basilica of Saint James in Jamestown, and parishes in Langdon, Casselton, and Wimbledon. He is an expert in Vatican II and the history of Germans from Russia in North Dakota. A recipient of the North Dakota Highway Patrol’s Award for Excellence, Father Bitz offers Mass on campus for students and staff.

Melina Birchem

  • Youth Ministry

Rachel Gerads

  • Faith and Community

Abby Landsteiner

  • Music Ministry

Caitlin Murray

  • Christian Unity

Anthony Spooner

  • Liturgy

Anne Storick

  • Organ

Chris Uhler

  • Contemporary Music

Maranda Vannett

  • Music Ministry

Mariah Woodring

  • Communication

Amber Crites, Team Director

Varsity Catholic
Hometown: Jackson, MO
Doctorate in Pharmacy, St. Louis College of Pharmacy
[email protected] 

Austin Simon

Hometown: Sioux Falls, SD
Benedictine 1 year, SDSU 1 semester, Crop Insurance Agent in South Dakota for last two years
[email protected] 

John Dinkel

Hometown: Long Prairie, MN
BS in Exercise Science, University of Mary
[email protected] 

Maddie Dinkel

Hometown: Minot, ND
BS in Catholic Studies, University of Mary

Desirae Hakel

Hometown: Lincoln, NE
BS in Secondary Family and Consumer Science Education, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
[email protected]

Daniel Lohff

Varsity Catholic
Hometown: Shawano, WI
BS in Secondary Math Education, Winona State University
[email protected] 

April Entringer

Hometown: Colman, SD
BA in Journalism, South Dakota State University
[email protected]