Since 1946 when the first log cabin chapel was built here on College Avenue,students have been coming to The Newman Center to grow in their faith, to grow in their love and knowledge of the Lord, and to
build each other up. The building that we are in now was built in 1969, and has continued to allow The Newman Center
to do what it does best, support our students and give them a home away from home. Those of you who know me know that I am always talking about The Newman Center, so I thought I would share what others have said about this place that is so dear to us all.
Father Seamus Griesbach, Vocations Director for the Diocese of Portland describes, “The Newman Center here at the University of Maine is really the flagship of all ministry that we do in the state for all college age Catholics. We a
re able to do so much more here than in other parts of the state. A lot of that is because we have a facility – and obviously there is work to try and improve it. But there’s been a presence here on campus – a place where Catholics can come and can gather, can pray, can study, can just build community together, and really tha
t does not exist on any other campus.”
As UMaine graduate student Emily Boutin affirms, “It can have a big impact on your life if you have someplace to come and practice your faith and you know it’s there. I just think it can help you grow.”
For a student coming on to campus, The Newman Center can be a home away from home.
“Coming to the Newman Center, I’ve just always felt the presence of God here, and I felt the love of Jesus from people who spend time here, work here, volunteer, who serve at this place and are part of this community.” agrees UMaine student Cameron Spicer. “It the place I found the most welcome, the most at home and felt the love of Jesus the most is the Newman Center.”
That love of Christ is felt by the community as a whole. As parishioner Wayne Melanson explains, “I think that there is some important work being done on a spiritual level where people are helping one another to grow and better understand Jesus. Most of the young men and women I have seen, I’m just struck, I think that they are beautiful souls. I
think it’s a feeling of what God’s kingdom can be.”
That community offers a firm foundation for students like Spicer. “College is one of the most temptatious periods in a person’s life, and if you don’t have a solid community that’s rooted in the Bible, then it’s easy to fall into that temptation. If you want to grow in your faith and you are committed to the Lord, then the best thing you can do is find a community like the one here.”
Of course, we offer a veritable litany (pun completely intended) of student and parish offerings in this space, ranging from Sunday parish and student Masses to Men’s and Women’s Groups, Night Prayer, Adoration and Benediction, Daily Mass on Wednesdays, free college community suppers, Holy Hour, Confession and many more. Yet particularly in these times, it’s how our community helps each other today and tomorrow that leaves a lasting influence.
As UMaine student Mary Milligan explains, “Being able to develop relationships within this community helps strength our catholic identity, but also gives us the courage to face adversities when they come our way.”
Help us build a foundation for our future here at the Newman Center – yes, it’s much-needed renovation of the space, but beyond that and perhaps more importantly, is what that space will allow us to offer for our students, provide for our community, and build for our future.