Newman Center kicks off school year with annual outdoor service

By By Travis Currit

By Travis Currit

Nearly 300 worshippers gathered in Presidents’ Circle for the St. Catherine’s Catholic Newman Center’s annual “Mass on the Grass” on Sunday evening.

Seeking faith, fellowship and free tacos, U students and community members enjoyed the traditional elements of mass with an outdoor twist. Incense mingled with a fresh, late summer breeze, choir music competed with blaring car alarms and pastors rubbed shoulders with shirtless, sweating passersby. The outdoor setting also allowed the speaker to wield live flames for a real “fire and brimstone” homily.

It was the chance to worship in nature that was the key for many. “It’s lovely,” said ballet graduate student Marianella Zeledon. “You have the sun and the earth, trees and the wind. It’s more natural.”

The Rev. Daniel Rolland, who gave the evening’s homily, also stressed the beauty of the setting. He urged the congregation to appreciate “this awesome, beautiful, God-created world.” What he said he found most lovely, however, were the worshippers themselves. “We are here, beautiful people, having a magical, wonderful time.”

Rolland predicted “a great year, alive with faith.” He called for all the faithful, even those who are not “holy rollers,” to come to God through “lots and lots of little commitments.”

Hallie Brown, a sophomore pre-nursing major, said she also looks forward to a great year. “The event serves as a great kick-off for our student-based parish,” she said.

The event was put together by Brown and other campus peer ministers who live in the Newman Center.

“Mass on the Grass” is not the only Newman Center activity combining religion and food. The center holds mass every Sunday at 7 p.m., followed by free “Sunday suppers.” A more low-key, quiet Candlelight Mass is held every Wednesday at 9 p.m., and Cuppa Newman offers free doughnuts and coffee Tuesdays at 9 a.m.

Chris Peddecord

Rev. Daniel Rolland delivers his sermon at “Mass on the Grass,” St. Catherine’s Catholic Newman Center’s annual outdoor service, held at the west end of Presidents’ Circle on Sunday.