What is a Newman Center, anyway?
What is a “Catholic Church on Campus”? Why is the Catholic Church on Campus also called the “Newman Center”? Who or What is a “Newman”? These are questions newcomers often wonder about, but they are also questions posed by many people who have been Newman members for years. Here, at long last, are a few answers:
Newman is–was–a real live person who wrote and taught and preached in the 19th century and spent many of his early years at Oxford. He was raised in the Anglican Church, moved through many stages and struggles in his spiritual quest, and finally decided to become a Catholic at the age of 42. He was ordained a priest four years later and matured into one of the keenest thinkers and theologians the church has ever known. Unfortunately, he was often misunderstood in his lifetime–Protestants mistrusted him because he jumped ship, and Catholics were suspicious of him because he started out on the wrong ship. But, despite all the pain that his thinking and writing cost him, Newman never ceased to insist that the life of the mind and the life of the spirit should be connected. Faith and intellect belonged together in Newman’s view, and being a “Fool for Christ” never meant that one should withdraw from learning or questioning.
It is hardly surprising, then, that when Catholics first started to band together on state university campuses they embraced John Henry Newman as their patron. Until about 40+ years ago it was not common for Catholics to attend non-Catholic colleges. Priests and parents worried that young women and men who did so would quickly lose their faith in the atmosphere of moral decadence and “secular” thinking they presumed existed at state universities. Daughters and sons who went off to college were urged to join college “Newman Clubs” and seek out friendship with other Catholics who could support and bolster their beliefs. From the very start, though, the Newman movement throughout the country was committed to freedom of thought and respect for others. The very first Club, established way back in 1893 at the University of Pennsylvania, insisted, in fact, that its members not become “clannish or narrow in a religious sense.”
The St. Cloud State Newman Club was established in 1923. In the years that have passed since then, we’ve been through many changes, and we have evolved into a full-fledged parish. There are, however, some very important things that have not changed. Above all else, we remain committed to Newman’s vision that religion and intelligence belong together, and that religious people do not have to be either “very dull or very tiresome.” As Newman said to students in his day:
“I wish you to enlarge your knowledge, to cultivate your reason, to get an insight into the relation of truth to truth, to learn to view things as they are, to understand how faith and reason stand to each other … Religion cannot stifle or restrict the intellect, only enlighten and enlarge it.”
How do I join Newman?
We would love to welcome you to our Parish as a permanent member. By becoming a member you commit to three areas of support:
- assisting in our ministry to SCSU/SCCTC students
- making regular financial contributions
- worshiping regularly with us
Contact the Newman office by phone (320.251.3260) or email at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive additional information or sign up to attend our next New Member Night.
We ask all students to register each year, telling us that they want to be a member of our Catholic Student Community. You can register on our homepage or by filling out a small form the next time you’re at Newman Center.
This way, we will be able to stay in contact with you about what’s happening at Newman Center for students!
Police or Medical Emergency: dial 911
St. Cloud Hospital: 320-251-2700
St. Cloud Police: 320-251-1200
- 1-800-SUICIDE is a 24 hour hotline
- St. Cloud State University Counseling Center in Stewart Hall, Room 103: 320-308-3171
- Catholic Charities Caritas Counseling: 320-650-1660
- Birthline Crisis Pregnancy Counseling (located at 1411 St. Germain St. W, Suite #5, St. Cloud): 320-252-4150
Thinking of Becoming Catholic?
Then our RCIA program may be just for you! Whether you were raised in a different faith tradition and are thinking of converting to Catholicism or grew up Catholic and simply missed the Sacrament of Confirmation, we’d like to tell you about our RCIA program.
Contact our Campus Ministry Director by calling or emailing the office!
Today, Newman serves more than 425 registered families and 440 St. Cloud State University students.
Alumni, parents, parishioners, and friends provide the financial and spiritual support that enables us to continue and strengthen our ministry.
Former students, permanent members, or professors, we would love to hear from you! Send us an email telling us a bit about yourself and your memories of your time here.
Make a donation to help our students have an effective and exciting experience of Christ through our efforts of Campus Ministry by donating online or contacting our office!
Who was John Cardinal Newman?
John Henry Newman (1801 – 1890) was a theologian and poet, first an Anglican priest and later a Catholic priest and cardinal, who was an important and controversial figure in the religious history of England in the 19th century.
He was ordained at the age of 23 in the Anglican Church. After serving that church for over two decades, Newman converted to the Roman Catholic Church at the age of 44. His decision to convert rocked much of England. (Remember how Packer fans felt when Brett Favre became a MN Viking??) We love to point Newman out to anyone seeking conversion today in our RCIA process.
Newman’s beatification was officially proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI on September 19, 2010 during a visit to the United Kingdom. Newman’s canonization was officially approved by Pope Francis on February 12, 2019. On July 1, 2019, the Vatican announced that he will be canonized with four others by Pope Francis on October 13, 2019
Newman’s Thoughts and Ideas
Newman is a respected theologian with many books to his name. He championed radical ideas like the rights of the individual conscience at a time when that notion was held in low regard by the Vatican, as well as the “development of doctrine”–the idea that church belief on some matters can change over time, and for the better. Newman had a lifelong interest in the relation between faith and reason, and believed religion should be as intelligent as science. He insisted that higher education adds to, not detracts, from the religious faith of the learner in his theory, The Idea of a University. Newman also held a lifelong concern for the role of the laity in the church, once quipping that “the Church would look foolish without them.” More evidence can be found in his work, “On Consulting the Faithful in Matters of Doctrine.” It is for many of these ideas that our community holds John Henry Newman in high esteem and continues to be grateful for his contribution to the Church.
The Good Cardinal
Finally, at the ripe age of 79, John Henry Newman was given his red hat by being named a Cardinal of the Church. He chose the motto “cor ad cor loquitur” which means “heart speaks to heart” for his coat of arms. We here at Newman try very hard to live by that motto yet today, especially when dialoguing about difficult issues. Many of our elders still sign their communications to us “cor ad cor.”
The Newman Movement
Newman died in 1890 and just three years after his death, the first Newman Club was established in the United States at the University of Pennsylvania. Other Newman Centers quickly sprang up and spread around the country. The mission was common: to minister to Catholic students who attend secular and non-Catholic colleges and universities. It is from these roots that Christ Church Newman Center intentionally serves the SCSU and SCTCC students, faculty, and staff.