Check out the U’s new Newman Center

By By Beth Frieden and By Beth Frieden

By Beth Frieden

Beth Frieden President of Campus Ministry Leadership TeamGuest Columnist

Catholics on campus? Yes, there really are Catholics on campus in the form of the U’s St. Catherine’s Catholic Newman Center.

I am sure you have seen us around, we’re that group that always has some kind of candy when we table at the Union. (You have sneaked by and took some without talking to us, but that’s all right, we like candy too!) Or maybe you have seen some guy with a religious collar sitting in the Union during lunch with a group of students and wondered what was going on-that’s us too.

Perhaps you played against us in intramural sports and wondered who the big blond guy is playing football and soccer. (That’s just our campus minister Seth-don’t worry, he’s harmless) Maybe, just maybe, you have come down to our new building on a Sunday and celebrated Mass with us.

Whatever shape or form you have seen us, we are here to welcome you to the Newman Center.

What is a Newman Center? It’s a resource center at universities around the country that provides a home away from home for Catholic students. This type of “Catholic Club” began in 1893 at the University of Pennsylvania when three Catholic medical students wanted to create an atmosphere of growth and support, religiously, intellectually and socially. They named it after John Henry Cardinal Newman, a famous convert in England who had founded a Catholic University, been made a Cardinal, and had recently died.

Today there are hundreds of Newman Centers throughout the country. We are not an organization just for Catholics-anyone and everyone is welcome.

Why visit the Newman Center? For many students coming to college, being away from home is tough. Newman becomes a home away from home through programs we run, such as adopt-a-student. In this program we provide a haven from college life where parishioners of our church help make the transition of living away from home a little easier.

Students get home-cooked meals and participate in family activities along with their adopted family. But meeting new people can be hard no matter what age you are. Newman strives to make everyone feel welcome and make friends to keep. We do this through having a student Mass on Sundays at 7 p.m. and Wednesday night Mass with other activities, such as praise and worship starting at 8:15 p.m. every week. We also run numerous social activities. We are all big sports fans, and participate in intramural sports. We have a variety of service projects planned this year.

The Newman Center is a great place to learn about Catholicism in general. We welcome anyone who is just curious about Catholicism, and there is no pressure to join just because you attend the meetings. Other educational activities include “Disputed Questions” every first Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in which the participants choose the topic and discuss it in an open table format.

If all of this is too formal for you, join Father James every Wednesday in the Union for “Lunch with the Man in Black.” We discuss everything thing from the day’s events, to questions of theology.

But we want to hear about different religious, too. We are very involved with the Interfaith Council and welcome dialogue among all students at the U.

Come by and visit us sometime. We are located at the bottom of Presidents’ Circle, across the street from the Pie, or visit our Web site at

[email protected]