In less that two decades, St Thomas Aquinas Church and Catholic Student Center was “elevated” to being a parish. Cardinal Newman is still honored, even though his name is not spoken when we answer the phone, nor printed when we draft bulletins and flyers.
My colleague Shari and I were discussing Newman’s beatification and feast with a few students today. October 9th will be an “optional memorial” for the US, no doubt. But even if the Cardinal is no longer our name patron, we will probably observe his day as a feast, at least.
I wonder what his Lectionary entry will be like.
I notice Zenit is doing a two-part interview with Oratorian priest Drew Morgan on Newman Centers. An interesting question, “Can a Newman Center replace what a student stands to gain from attending a university that is itself Catholic?” and a very interesting answer is given, in part:
To address your question about Catholic vs. secular education, originally, the Newman Clubs hoped to be the appropriate response to this issue. However, many pastors and even a few bishops felt that Catholic students attending non-Catholic institutions were placing themselves in near-occasions of sin and therefore should no longer receive Communion! The safeguarding of the faith today paradoxically may in fact be more secure in a vibrant Newman Center on a secular college campus, where students are regularly challenged to defend their faith and give an account of their beliefs.
Certainly in Newman Centers and university parishes, we provide more than the apologetic mindset. We cultivate relationships with the secular university. In many instances, we provide a substantial community for students. I’d say that we don’t take our Catholic faith or its expression for granted. In many ways, I’d say we have a lot more verve than many Catholic universities. Our students come to Mass and get involved in our apostolates because they want to. I admit I feel a bit spoiled being in a parish with a much higher percentage of active and engaged parishioners.
I mention Father Supple, our founder, because the seventh anniversary of his death is tomorrow. I don’t know that he will ever be named a saint, but August 31st will be a day of memory for our parish. We invoke his name saint whenever we sing a Litany of Saints.