Newman Centers: ASU Newman Center launches ‘Catholicism 101’

The All Saints Newman Center has been serving Arizona State University’s Catholic community since 1960 and offers a mix of faith, fun, friendship and formation. Pictured here is the new chapel built in 2013 and dedicated in 2015. (File Photo/CATHOLIC SUN)
The All Saints Newman Center has been serving Arizona State University’s Catholic community since 1960 and offers a mix of faith, fun, friendship and formation. Pictured here is the new chapel built in 2013 and dedicated in 2015. (File Photo/CATHOLIC SUN)
TEMPE — Arizona State University, with an enrollment that tops 60,000 students, is fertile ground for the New Evangelization and continuing spiritual formation.

And while the All Saints Catholic Newman Center offers Bible studies, retreats and RCIA, staff knew there was a need to help students further grow in their Catholic faith.

Sr. Mary Eileen Jewell, PVMI, said students approach her daily with questions about what the Church teaches. As a concerted effort to deal with this peppering of questions, she’s launching a new program this fall dubbed “Catholicism 101.”

“They’re also bombarded by new questions, being now young adults on their own. They have kept their childhood upbringing in the faith, but they need so much more to really be able to respond to what other students are saying to them and what they’re being told in class,” Sr. Mary Eileen said.

Catholicism 101 will be held on the ASU campus during lunchtime every Thursday. Each semester, she and others will reach out to members of the wider university community and invite them to attend a special session.

“There will be one or two classes where it’ll be something appealing to someone just walking in cold from whatever kind of background, Catholic or non-Catholic, and they would learn something,” Sr. Mary Eileen said.

Four missionaries from the Fellowship of Catholic University Students, known as FOCUS, will also help reach out during the new school year to evangelize on campus and bring students back. Newman Nights, a Wednesday evening Mass followed by fellowship and a teaching return again this year. Fr. Rob Clements, director of the Newman Center, said the goal is to encompass four main areas in which a soul needs formation, including the intellectual, spiritual, human and apostolic or service areas. One event this year will deal with relationships.

“When you’re away in college, it’s the one pocket of life that is just filled with all kinds of implications of transition,” Fr. Clements said. Citing the many choices to be made regarding vocation, career, and the choice of a spouse, the college years are a time when it’s important to stay close to God. That’s never more clear than when a student realizes the vision of college and one’s future are challenged.

A men’s anonymous accountability group is also being launched at the Newman Center this year and will help students struggling with an addiction to pornography.