Starting out in 1947, the Newman Center was known as the Catholic campus ministry organized by the local pastor who served as chaplain, and an assistant director. The students were peer ministers and served through what they called the outreach program on campus. They led events that included a once a month dinner, volleyball, and weekly Mass.
In 1979, a building was purchased for the location of the Catholic campus ministry which expanded their reach to the students on campus. Remodeled in 1984, when University of Central Missouri was still known as Central Missouri State University, the Newman Center was opened 7 days a week for the 1,000 Catholic students on campus serving them through a weekly Scripture study, dialogue-homily Mass and a retreat once each semester led by the chaplain, Fr. Mario.
Throughout the years the Newman Center has started a newsletter to stay in touch with Catholic students on campus, upheld an RCIA program to welcome new students whose desire is to become Catholic, held weekly Mass and participated in holiday events.
Knowing where the Newman Center has come from it is apparent that the heart of the mission at University of Central Missouri has been outreach and service. Living St. Mary Mackillop’s quote, “never see a need without doing something about it” there are many needs that have come to light for the Newman Center this past year to continue the growth that our predecessors have started.
We plan to reach these students on campus through retreats, conferences, bible studies, bonfires, coffeehouses, watch parties, barbeques, and other events that ultimately will lead to them encountering Christ, actively living the Sacraments of His Church, and becoming virtuous and intentional missionary disciples that are equipped to spread the Gospel wherever they may go.
We know this ministry is extremely important. Three out of ten Catholic will leave the Catholic Church by the time they graduate college, according to a 2009 Pew Research Center survey. The data also shows that college graduates are less likely to believe that God even exists.
For our growth to take shape, we are excited to begin addressing some critical needs for the Newman Center. First, we are working and praying to erect an 80-100 seat visible chapel by Spring 2020. Currently the Newman Center’s Masses take place in the non-denominational chapel in the middle of campus. Having a chapel of our own will provides students and faculty a place of silent prayer in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament to more deeply encounter the Lord. The chapel will also provide a space to hold Sunday and weekday Mass and confession.
This points to our need of a permanent chaplain. The diocese is considering assigning a priest as a part-time chaplain for the upcoming academic year, but the Newman Center will need to fund that portion of his salary to provide stability to his position. History proves the importance of having a priest involved in campus ministry. We are extraordinarily excited about the possibility of having a priest chaplain for UCM’s Newman Center, but we need your help to make that happen.
Finally, we are praying and working to bring a team of FOCUS missionaries to UCM in the near future. FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) is a national organization of full-time college missionaries who work, normally in teams of four (two men and two women), to evangelize and disciple students on college campuses. Bringing on a team of FOCUS missionaries would greatly benefit in the outreach to these students.
But we can’t do any of these things without your support! Firstly, we seek your support in the form of intercessory prayer. We need people praying for us and for the success of this exciting ministry. We also need your support financially. Here are our immediate goals:
· $15,000 to support the funds of a part-time chaplain permitted by the bishop,
· $40,000 towards an 80-100 seat chapel we are praying for by Spring 2020.
· $60,000/year to fund a FOCUS team of four full-time missionaries, hopefully starting in Fall 2020.
We would welcome and appreciate any support you are able to give; prayerfully, financially, or otherwise. Can you help us?
Prayerfully consider where the Lord is calling for you to support us and in what way. Thank you for your generous support and know that you are always in our community prayers.
All of our vision can be encompassed within these four pillars of Relationship, Formation, Leadership and Mission.
Fellowship Dinner, Women’s and Men’s Groups
Bible Studies, Java with Jesus Nights, One-on-One
Training Groups, Retreat Team, Intercession Team, Missionaries
Mission Trips, Conferences, Retreats