Hearts opened, minds changed, lives transformed

By Linda Davis
Newman Centers or Newman Clubs are Catholic ministry centers at non-Catholic universities found throughout the world. The establishment of this movement was inspired by the writings of Cardinal John Henry Newman encouraging societies for Catholic students attending secular universities.

The first Newman club was established in 1888 at Oxford; and the first American Newman Club was established in 1893 at the University of Pennsylvania.

Rarely were Newman Clubs in secular high schools, but in 1998 South High School was the first Pueblo high school to begin a Catholic high school Newman Club. The second club started at Central High School in March 2009 followed by the third club at Centennial High School in September 2011. The clubs have expanded to Pueblo West and Montrose High Schools.

The mission of the High School Catholic Newman Club is to help teens develop a faith that is the center of their lives. Teens are given opportunities to learn more about their faith and to become involved in ministry and service. Newman Club seeks to create a space in which teens can become people whose lives are guided by their faith in Jesus Christ. Teens today are the young Church of tomorrow and will be leaders in parishes in the future.

The goals of the clubs are to provide an inexpensive nutritional lunch, provide parish and diocesan information and encourage participation in events, especially the importance of Sunday Eucharist. The leaders encourage participation in community service projects and also help teens understand how service is part of our faith and to see Gospel values in the projects. A huge part is to have caring adults available for pastoral care and support.

The Central Club, along with the student council, sponsored a drive to collect items for the Pueblo Posada teen homelessness program.

Following a teen suicide at Centennial High School the Newman Club took it upon the group and placed a note on every locker and in every teacher’s mail box stating, “We are thankful you are part of the Centennial Bulldog family! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving break!”

Other topics discussed at local Newman Clubs in addition to teen suicides have included: death of a friend or family member, divorce, and general “drama” in teens’ lives. These events all can be devastating to teens as they sometimes have no one to talk to. Adults provide a listening ear and refer them to others if needed. Newman Clubs throughout the diocese have been funded in part by the Catholic Foundation of Pueblo and donations from parishioners. For more information contact Pueblo Youth Ministry at (719) 561-3580, ext. 20.