The Newman Center is a Catholic Chaplaincy located in the middle of secular colleges. It exists primarily as a space for students to learn about their faith, receive their Sacraments, and form authentic Catholic community. Most Newman Centers have a full staff of Campus Ministers to assist in faith formation, one on one mentorship, and host faith based and social events. They are typically managed by the Pastor and Director, and have a Chaplain who is assigned to oversee Spiritual development and programming, as well as be highly involved in the life of the chaplaincy. They are governed by a Board who is selected to ensure the standards of programming are in line with Catholic Christian teaching, as well as provide support and guidance for fundraising and other campaign ministry goals. The mission of a Newman Center is integral to living out the faith, evangelization and renewal for the Church among the young adult population.
Newman Centers get their name after Saint Cardinal Henry Newman, who was a prominent Anglican priest and renowned Theologian, who converted to Catholicism in 1845, after his efforts to reform the Church of England back to it’s Catholic roots. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 1847, and in 1879 Pope Leo XIII made him a cardinal. The integration of faith and reason in higher education, both influential in forming culture, was a central theme in his writings, work, and beliefs. Newman devoted much of his life to working to create a Catholic university in which theology held a prominent place alongside the liberal sciences. Only a union of the two, he believed, would lead to wholeness of knowledge, for true faith relies on intellectual arguments, and full understanding of the arts and sciences requires a study of their Creator. In 1893, three years after the death of Cardinal Newman, a small group of Catholic students at the University of Pennsylvania joined together with the goal of ministering to fellow students. Inspired by Newman’s devotion to the Catholic university student and the Catholic intellectual, they named the group after him, becoming the first Newman Club. Similar Catholic student organizations of the same name arose at other universities, and in 1908 they formed a national organization that came to be known as the National Newman Club Federation. Newman Centers exist according to its constitution, to: 'work in conjunction with the Chaplains to support and encourage Catholic students in their Christian vocation by promoting their personal, intellectual and spiritual development, social interaction, and apostolic witness within the broader context of their university experience', and has served as the model for Catholic student societies throughout the English-speaking world.
Canonized on October 13, 2019 by Pope Frances, His life is one that is greatly to be honored and remembered, and his legacy lives on.
Saint Cardinal John Henry Newman
“God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission. I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons.
He has not created me for naught. I shall do good; I shall do His work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it if I do but keep His commandments.
Therefore, I will trust Him, whatever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him, in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him. If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. He does nothing in vain. He knows what He is about.
— John Henry Newman