Since 1946 when the first log cabin chapel was built here on College Avenue, students have come to The Newman Center to grow in faith, love, knowledge of the Lord, and to build each other up. The building that we are in now was built in 1969.
It 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 always talk about The Newman Center. 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 can do so much more here than in other parts of the state. A lot of that is because we have a facility.”
Obviously, there is work to try and improve it. There’s been a presence here on campus, a place where Catholics can come to gather, pray, study, and build community together. Really, that 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.”
“Coming to the Newman Center, I always felt the presence of God here. I felt the love of Jesus from people who spend time, work, volunteer, and serve at this place. They 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.”
For a student coming to campus, The Newman Center can be a home away from home. That love of Christ is felt by the community as a whole. That community offers a firm foundation for students like Spicer.
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 people I see, I’m just struck. I think that they are beautiful souls. I think it’s a feeling of what God’s kingdom can be.”
College is one of the most temptatious periods in a person’s life. If you don’t have a solid community 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 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, Benediction, Daily Mass on Wednesdays, free community suppers, Holy Hour, Confession, and 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, “Developing relationships within this community help strengthen our Catholic identity. It also gives us the courage to face adversities when they come our way.”
Help Us Build a Foundation for Our Future at the Newman Center
Yes, it’s a much-needed renovation of the space. Beyond that and perhaps more importantly, is what that space allows us to offer students, our community, and our future.