Welcome Class of 2020!

bergmanHey everyone, and welcome to the Newman Center! My name is Josh Bergman, and I am your Peer Ministry President this 2016-2017 school year. If I do not know you yet, come by and introduce yourself! I want to know all of your smiling faces. I am looking to make Newman as big as possible, so make sure you check out the Newman Center this year. Bring your friends! My team and I already have many event plans for the school year, and our events are nothing without friends to grow closer and have fun with. We love Jesus and we love to have fun! Any questions? Check out the Newman 101 page or email me at tu-newman@utulsa.edu.

Priority 2016: Forming an active, faith-filled community to develop students as missionary disciples of Christ

The St. Philip Neri Catholic Newman Center forms university students through an active faith-filled community to develop them as missionary disciples of Christ.

“Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.” -Mark 16:15-16

Jesus preceded his great commission by three years of diligent work with his Twelve Apostles. He trained, equipped, instructed, and prepared them to receive the Holy Spirit. By this, they received everything they would need to fulfill His and their great mission. These Apostles weren’t to stay just in Jerusalem, but go out into the entire world and share the good news with everyone they met.

As the Apostles received three years with the Lord, our college students receive four years of faith and life formation in Jesus’ school of discipleship. What is needed to equip them during their college years? This is what a group of students, alumni, Advisory Board members, and friends of the Newman Center asked during our strategic priority planning process. Beginning with a student brainstorming session, where over 75 students attended and gave essential feedback on what Newman can offer, change, or enhance to help their faith journey while in college.

Based on our survey of the students and the writings of Pope Francis, we discovered the vital needs. After much discussion and deliberation, we established our three pillars: Service, Hospitality, and Evangelization. These principles will serve as the foundation of our endeavors over the next three years.

A special thank you to the Priority Plan committee for their diligent efforts to make this vision a reality including our team leader, Fr. Gary Kastl.

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A missionary’s testimony from the Trinidad mission trip

by Joe Reichold

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When asked to give my testimony, I was planning on sharing about a very tragic story in which I eventually found the restoring power of God’s grace. However, while I was reflecting on my time here so far, I completely changed my mind.

Before I came on this mission trip, I considered myself reasonably involved with my Catholic faith life. I frequently go on retreats, attend conferences, and lead Bible studies. On multiple occasions, I have dedicated and rededicated my life to Jesus. Now you’re probably thinking that these are all pretty good things to be doing, and you would be objectively correct. However, any fire that God lights in my soul always seems to fade in time. I become extinguished and not fully committed to Jesus like I know I want to be. So that is something I continually struggle with and often deny. I would see the joy in the people at Mass and become envious. I got upset with myself for continuing to feel the desire to hang on to a life of sin and debauchery. The devil really is a subtle master of manipulation. I can see him coming and I continue to open the door to let him in.

I was an extremely late addition to this mission trip…. I started fundraising three weeks before departure. I said “yes” to the mission on a completely uninformed whim, and even the missionary team leaders that invited me were shocked by my acceptance. So, by the Grace of God, I was able to mobilize the funds necessary to make the trip, mere days before departure. I had absolutely no idea what to expect.

But I’ll tell you something: God brought me here for a reason. God doesn’t make mistakes. This community has shown me what it truly means to be on fire for Christ. In my country, the United States, it is nearly impossible to find the kind of community worship and outreach that I’ve seen here. My country is rich, or at least I thought it was. We have big houses, expensive cars, and all of the latest gadgets. But after what you all have shown me this week, I would trade all of those things to get just a piece of the spiritual richness that is so overly abundant in your country.

But after what you all have shown me this week, I would trade all of those things to get just a piece of the spiritual richness that is so overly abundant in your country.

This week, I saw Jesus present in this spiritual richness at each extreme of life. I’ve been blessed to take some wisdom from some of the oldest members of this community, the people who are truly happy despite their physical situations. I’ve also been blessed to see Christ while working with the young children of this community. The children possess an innocence, an intrinsic joy that is only mirrored by the eldest and wisest of the villages.

Thanks to these experiences, I feel confident that God will work through me to take what I’ve learned and create more spiritual wealth in my own community. He will light me fully on fire in His grace.
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