Faith and Campus Ministry

The spiritual atmosphere at Joliet Catholic Academy is what sets it apart from other area high schools. In support of JCA’s mission, four years of religious studies are required and a comprehensive spiritual life program is provided by a vibrant Campus Ministry department.

Campus Ministry implements programs that contribute to the spiritual welfare of the entire JCA community in developing a Roman Catholic environment that fosters a deep, personal relationship with God and Jesus Christ through the charisms of the Carmelites and Franciscans.

JCA offers students a variety of ministries and formative programs to enrich their faith and character development.

Campus Ministry Office Staff

Chapel opportunities

  • Daily Mass is offered Monday through Friday at 7:15 a.m. in the small chapel. All are welcome!
  • Students are given the opportunity to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation during the holy seasons of Advent and Lent. Students wishing to celebrate the sacrament at other times during the school year should contact the Campus Ministry Office. Reconciliation also will be offered as part of some retreat experiences.
  • The chapel is open throughout the day.
  • All-school Masses are held on Holy Days of Obligation and other special days, such as the Feasts of the Little Flower and Saint Francis.

Retreat opportunities

  • Freshmen, sophomores and juniors are required to participate in an annual day of renewal.
  • Those students who fail to attend a retreat will have to make it up on the alternate day following exams or incur an extra 5 hours in their Christian Service Hours requirement.
  • Kairos will be offered to students during their senior year.
  • As a requirement for graduation, students must participate in one of the following during their senior year: 1. Kairos retreat; 2. An overnight retreat experience through a parish youth group or through the Diocese of Joliet. Please note that permission for this option must be procured in advance from a Campus Minister and verified in writing by the agency conducting the retreat.


  • Campus Ministers welcome the chance to reflect upon the Christian life and all of its aspects with students, faculty and staff.
  • Issues of relationships, faith responsibilities, family, the JCA community, friendships and self always may be discussed with a Campus Minister.

Prayer requests/Visits

  • For a prayer request, please submit a Prayer Request form to the Campus Ministry department. Download a form by clicking here.
  • Please feel free to contact the Campus Ministry department regarding illness or death in the immediate family of a student, faculty member or staff member. We would be happy to make hospital visits.


Fr. Jeffery Smialek, O.Carm. holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, a Post-Degree Certificate from Pima Community College, Secondary Teacher Certification, a Master of Arts from Chicago State University, a Master of Divinity from Washington Theological Union, and a Master in Education from DePaul University. Fr. Jeffery Smialek holds an Illinois Secondary Teacher Certification in History and an Illinois General School Administrator Certificate (Type 75).

Melisa Ferro is a 1992 graduate of Joliet Catholic Academy.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Purdue University and a Master’s in counseling psychology from Lewis University.  She worked as campus minister from 200-2004, took time off, raising three boys, and returned to JCA in 2016.  She is married to Nick, a fellow graduate from JCA and has managed to graduate one son from JCA with two more in the class of 2022.

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