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NEWMAN: Catholic Campus Ministry

We are part of the Church's wider ministry to non-sectarian universities and colleges throughout the world. We stand in union with our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, Shepherd of the Universal Church, and with our Archbishop, Justin Cardinal Rigali, Shepherd of the Church at Philadelphia. With all our brothers and sisters of the Church, we proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ, Son of God and Savior of the World.

With Christians everywhere we strive in every way to:

  • Promote an awareness of and development of our relationship with God our Father.
  • Foster Catholic Faith and spirituality on campus, respectful always of the religious traditions that make up our campus communities.
  • Join with the college administrations, student groups and members of other faiths to affirm the foundation Faith in God provides for any who engage themselves in the pursuit of Knowledge and Truth.
  • Lay our lives constantly before God in worship and prayer, especially through the celebration of the Eucharist and the other Sacraments of the Church.
  • Build up in love and mutual respect a community of believers and others who pray and work with us to support and encourage one another in life and in the endeavors of academia.
  • Witness, by word and deed, the redemptive love of Jesus Christ that forgives all and works for the good of all.
  • Invite all to gain a deeper understanding of the Catholic Faith and the Church's moral instruction to every age and nation.
  • Aid our sisters and brothers on their journey of life, especially the poor, the oppressed, those sick in mind or body and those who are neglected by others, that all of us may work toward a world of justice and peace for all.

We call upon God — Father, Son and Holy Spirit — to be the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and End of all we are. We ask the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the saints, and of our patron, Venerable John Henry Newman, that the good work, begun by God in all of us, will come to fruition in the fullness of His Kingdom in Heaven.

John Henry Cardinal Newman


John Henry Newman, the renowned Anglican clergyman at Oxford and leading figure in what became the Oxford Movement — a rediscovery of the Catholic dimension to what had become a Protestant Church of England — who in his autobiographical classic, Apologia Pro Vita Sua, documented a spiritual journey that took him to the foundations of Christianity in the writings and lives of the early Church Fathers. That journey would compel his personal decision to become a Catholic and enrich his beloved Oxford and his English homeland ever since in a search for Truth as a reality that exists not only in the absolute, but which can be known in ever more profound ways by those who employ their God-given skills in its apprehension. For Newman, it was never pure intellect at work, but, as his cardinal's motto proclaimed: Cor ad cor loquitor [Heart speaking to heart — God's and our own]. His heart's response was not always understood or appreciated. Newman endured great personal crosses from his Anglican communion who viewed him as an apostate; and from many and powerful circles in the Catholic Church in which his ideas were 'suspect.' At the end of his long life, his legacy was vindicated by his elevation as Cardinal by Pope Leo XIII.

The occasion of his death, as often happens, cast a bright light upon the substance of his life and his voluminous writings were embraced by the religious world as a storehouse of treasures to be brought forth. High on the list, for the academic world was his classic template for higher education, The Idea of a University, 1852.

In 1893, barely three years after his death, a graduate medical student at the University of Pennsylvania, Timothy Harrington, called upon the pastor of St. James Parish, at the campus, for guidance in accommodating his Catholic Faith to the demands of science and of the free flow of university ideas. Fr. Patrick Garvey and Timothy began to open their discussions to a wider circle and so was born the Newman Club at the University of Pennsylvania, parent to the Newman Associations that have been established on secular campuses throughout America and the world.

In 1970, Newman was brought to the Bryn Mawr, Haverford and Swarthmore campuses by Father James P. Murphy, Newman chaplain at the University of Pennsylvania and director for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia of the Newman Apostolate in the Delaware Valley.

In January, 1991, Pope John Paul II named John Henry Newman "Venerable" — his life and work are worthy of investigation and study for personal growth in holiness. He may be prayed to privately. His Beatification has now been scheduled to take place in England on the occasion of the pastoral visit by Pope Benedict XVI, September 16, 2010. Newman Associations will gain, at last, a patron who can officially be invoked in the Liturgy as an intercessor on behalf of all who seek to grow in Truth.

Newman exits to serve the entire campus — students, faculty, administration and staff — by representing Catholic spirituality and scholarship for whatever benefit the college can gain by drawing upon the resources of the Faith that gave birth — almost a thousand years ago — to the very concept of the university.