Black Bear Catholic is the student government organization associated with the Newman Center, the Parish of the Resurrection of the Lord, and the Diocese of Portland. Yet, this group of enthusiastic student leaders is so more than that. They are literally the hands and feet of Christ. They welcome fellow college students into friendship and faith through various activities, including prayer, service, and community offerings.
“Black Bear Catholic organizes events that bring in new students. Anyone who shows up is welcome,” explains Kacey Roehrich, BBC Treasurer.
Those events include Wednesday and Sunday night suppers, Men’s and Women’s Group on Sunday evenings, opportunities for Mass, Adoration throughout the week, community events, and specific events for men and women individually.
Men’s Group Leader Chris Smith explains that while the group’s basis is faith sharing, it becomes even more as relationships grow among the participants and their faith matures.
“The whole point is to have a discussion. I can have five questions. For the hour, we might only get to the first question,” Chris emphasizes.
It’s really just a time for student leaders to get together and foster brotherhood in Christ. The collaboration with others and skills honed in that developmental process build the next generation of leaders.
BBC & the Newman Center feel blessed that participation is growing!
“I think it definitely gave me a lot of guidance in leadership abilities in showing me how to be a leader. It also offered me the opportunity to grow as a person and a Catholic,” notes Erin McDowell, BBC President.
Matt Leffel, in his fourth year as a FOCUS Missionary at UMaine, notes, “Seeing it grow from just a President and Vice President to a full executive board with all the appointed positions filled. This year, with more students involved and bringing their leadership skills to this community. That’s been something cool to see.”
That growth created a space crunch in a building designed to serve multiple purposes now stretched too thin to do any of them well. There’s always something happening at the Newman Center. The building right now is not set up for when people enter to really enter into the presence of God.
“It’s fun to come down here, get a group together, either study, hang out, or play games. Having a new Newman Center would give us dedicated spaces for meetings and hosting various social and service-related events,” Kacey says.
Campus Minister Audrey Aylmer notes, “Our mission is to help people center their lives around how we imitate Christ. They don’t see that when they walk in. The Newman Center is a really vibrant place. It has so much more potential to grow if we have the space to dream big.”