TU’s Catholic Newman Center: Home Away From Home

Alyssa 3Today’s blog comes to us from Alyssa J., a senior Communication and Sociology major from St. Louis, Mo.

Walking onto The University of Tulsa’s campus for the first time, I was blown away. The architecture, the southern charm, the overall friendly feeling – it exceeded my expectations. But it wasn’t until I walked through the doors of the St. Philip Neri Catholic Newman Center that I knew TU was the right choice for me.
Many campuses across the nation have Catholic Newman Centers. Some, more than others, have a dominant role in on-campus ministries. Because TU is a small, private university, I didn’t know what to expect walking into the Newman Center. I sure wasn’t expecting a large student population or high involvement. But, my expectations were high, especially after being so impressed by the school and campus itself. And my expectations were met!

Inside the chapel at St. Philip Neri
Inside the chapel at St. Philip Neri

Since then, the TU Catholic Newman Center has become a second home for me. If I need a place to study, hang out, or have fun, Newman is the perfect place. I can actively live out my faith life while being a typical busy college student. Newman is always filled with smiling faces. Mass is offered every day but Saturday, and approximately 200 students attend Mass each weekend.

Alyssa 2
John Leyendecker, FOCUS, Faith and Food Event – “Would Pope Francis smoke with you?”

Aside from Mass, there are a lot of other things going on at Newman. Catechesis classes, basically the “4-1-1” on Catholicism, are offered on a variety of topics. Adoration, as well as praise and worship sessions, are very popular. We are also blessed to have FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) missionaries on our campus that offer bible studies and provide one-on-one opportunity to grow in our faith while in college. We bring in local and national speakers a few times a year for Faith & Food events. Students participate in intramural teams and also attend Thursday Fun Days which are organized by our Peer Ministry team. From Valentine’s Day dinners to the White Elephant Christmas gift exchange, there are always events happening to encourage friendship, fun, and fellowship.
One of the biggest blessings the Catholic students have on campus is Fr. Kerry. He is perfect for a college campus. Fr. Kerry knows exactly how to relate to students and makes everyone feel welcome. I was a transfer student so it was harder for me to fit in at first. I didn’t have an orientation group like most incoming freshman have. Fr. Kerry and the other students around Newman made me feel comfortable right away.

Alyssa 1
Newman Center Halloween Party and Dance

Currently, I serve as a Peer Minister, which is the student leadership team at the Newman Center. Eight student leaders plan events and activities for the Newman community, but we are also resources for students. Students that need someone to talk to, have questions about Catholicism, or are interested in playing a bigger role are encouraged to talk to one of us.

If you’re looking for a place to pursue your faith and form genuine friendships while receiving an outstanding education, TU is the right fit for you. The TU Catholic Newman Center has made my college experience an even better one, and for that, I am extremely grateful.