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placeholder Busy Newman Hall connects with students

Church will fight abuse until it ‘is no longer part of our society’

Ed conference considers: May Superman pray?

Poll on Catholic tolerance on same-sex issues needs closer look

Cuvelier, Eubanks honored for support of education

Nuns on the lake

Rosary repairman puts sacramentals into new hands

How the Easter Vigil developed

Praying in the mother tongue of the church

Celebrating Scouting

Carondelet students get real-life civics lesson in Sacramento

High schools name principals

Father Chinnici new president at Franciscan School of Theology

Finding common ground on sanctity of life issues

Employment program helps refugees join American society

Priests, altar servers, seminarians recognized at KC dinner in Danville

Rotary honors St. Isidore student, teacher

• Father Robert Beltrami, OFM
• Deacon Ernest B. Jaramillo

placeholder April 11, 2011   •   VOL. 49, NO. 7   •   Oakland, CA

In the chapel at Newman Hall in Berkeley: John Ng, Justin Schaefer, John Simon, Riley Reese, Chris Varela, Patty O’Rourke and Father William Edens.
josé luis aguirre photo
Busy Newman Hall
connects with students

John Simon knew where to find Newman Hall on the first Sunday of his freshman year: A campus tour guide had pointed him in its direction during a visit before he enrolled at the University of California, Berkeley.

Cal Day

What: Newman Hall reception for high school students and their families

When: 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. April 16;
Mass begins at 5 p.m.

2700 Dwight Way (corner of College Avenue), Berkeley

(510) 848-7812
It took John Ng a couple of years to finds his way to his Catholic roots at Cal, spending part of that time exploring the Christian faith in another congregation.

Today, both Simon, a second-year peace and conflict studies major, and Ng, a senior history major, are part of the Student Ministry Team at Newman Hall.

That’s just how things happen at the striking from the outside architecturally and warm on the inside campus ministry center run by the Paulist fathers.

A student ministry center since 1907 and a parish since 1967, Newman Hall serves a diverse community, including children and adults, but the student community remains at the heart of its mission.

There are challenges. Meeting space at the facility is at a premium. “It’s a nice problem to have,” said Father William Edens, who is the student minister.

About 500 students attend Mass on Sundays, with most preferring the 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. Sunday Mass. Some attend the 9:30 a.m. family Mass, and are involved in teaching CCD classes to the younger people of the parish.

During the week, about 100 college students will make their way back to Newman for activities, such as Bible study, or to pray the rosary together.

There are two major faith-sharing groups: Seekers and a Korean group, Chun Jin Ahm.

“They do a lot of that themselves,” Father Edens said. “Cal students take initiative and study it themselves.”

One example is the Rosary at 8 p.m. Wednesdays, which is led by students.

Extending the invitation to additional students is part of the Student Ministry Team’s objective. Individual invitations are crucial, Father Edens said.

“The leaders have to get out there,” he said, reminding them that “you came here because someone cared about you to extend the invitation.”

A group of student leaders, including John Simon and John Ng, gathered recently to talk about Newman Hall’s place in their busy lives as Cal students.

Riley Reese, a bioengineering student, directs a regular science and faith discussion at Newman Hall.

The next session, from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. April 27, will feature an informal talk by Mark Graves, who has a doctoral degree in computer science and a master’s degree from the Graduate Theological Union. Graves, a professor at the GTU, focuses on mind/brain issues and theology. A group discussion will follow the talk, which is open to the public.

Patty O’Rourke, whose home is in Mexico, described her start at Cal two years ago as “a rocky one.” Her sister came to visit her from San Diego. At that time, she looked up the location of the nearest Catholic church and Mass times, wrote them down, and posted them where O’Rourke would see the note. She eventually did.

“It was the first time I’d gone to church alone,” she said. “It was explosive.”

Chapel cleaning was her first service project, which she described as “my underground way of helping.” The second-year student is involved in Newman’s nascent service corps. The group is beginning to work with farmers who are growing produce organically in the Hollister area. If all goes well, there will come a time when the Newman students will help the farmers by selling the produce to parishioners in Berkeley. And to the day those Sunday dinners for Cal students are prepared with the vegetables they had a hand in growing.

Chris Varela first came to Newman Hall at one of its quieter times — summer — during an internship. And as he was graduating from the University of Texas, a priest at the Newman Center there told him he thought he’d be happy at Berkeley’s Newman Hall — which he found to be a much livelier place during the school year.

“I found a great group of people,” said the nuclear engineering graduate student, who has attended Seekers Bible study, student Sunday dinners and the fall retreat.

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