Dear Friend of Newman Catholic:
A couple of weeks ago, our students gathered for “Newman Night” – our weekly dinner together where have a topic to reflect and discuss together. With it being a little over a week till Thanksgiving, the theme was the “Power of Gratitude.” As we been prepared for the evening, it was humbling for me to stop and simply think of all the ways I’m blessed and thankful to almighty God: – for my family and friends, for our health and the many ways we’re blessed – for His call to the priesthood of Jesus Christ and the many people I’ve been tremendously blessed to serve over the years – particularly the students and the greater community here at Montclair State University.
Campus Ministry has had to change and adapt a great deal in the over 12 years I’ve been here. When I think about how crazy the world can be to me at 46 years of age and 20 years of being a priest, I constantly pause and think of how much harder it is for the 20,000 17-22 year olds who attend MSU. It used to be enough to offer Mass with some free food after to draw people together. Now with so many having not grown up with any faith, and distracted by so many things that can depress, discourage and confuse them – we’ve had to be more creative and prayerful on how to attend to these new challenges.
Which leads me to further gratitude: down the hall right now, one of two Catholic therapists is meeting with a student to offer one-on-one private therapy (which we now offer to students 5 days a week); on campus right now, our 4 FOCUS missionaries – recent college graduates who fundraise their own salaries in order to fulfill their commitment to serve their peers through prayer, mentorship, peer-led bible studies for a few years – are doing just that, conducting weekly bible studies, doing outreach to meet and engage new students; every Sunday, as he has for the last 12 years, our music minister Bruce will welcome whoever shows up an hour before Mass and prepare them to make our Sunday liturgies even more prayerful through their gifts and talents; our Office Manager Mary goes from helping me to get these letters out to making these two 100 year old houses homes for the kids to have a warm, welcoming place to get away from the stresses of campus.
Through the collective efforts and sacrifices of so many, we’ve made this a Christ-centered presence for this campus community. I’m constantly mindful of not just the many beautiful things that we can see happening on a daily basis… but the hidden work that the Lord is using us to accomplish in the hearts of so many that we might not ever know.
I’m also tremendously grateful to you, our friends – for all of your love and support. For the prayers you offer, for the words of encouragement and affirmation, for the sacrificial gifts and contributions so many offer to support our ministry. DECEMBER 3, 2019 launches the global “Giving Tuesday” which the past few years has become the biggest boost to our fundraising efforts. Through your generosity, we have offered 25 students the opportunity to travel to Arizona over Christmas break for a 5 day FOCUS conference to deepen their faith… this coming Spring Break, we hope to have another 25 students on Mission trips to Appalachia and Albania… and we continue to make upgrades and improvements to our houses – including commissioning an artist to create an image of the newly canonized St. John Henry Newman, who this center (and countless others around the world) – have been named after for well over a century in light of his life and work particularly with Academic settings and the Church.
We appreciate every gift – big or small – to help us reach our Christmas Fundraising Goal of $15,000.00 which with everyone’s help we were thrilled to surpass last year. You can DONATE HERE with your credit card via – Paypal. For those who’d rather send a check, please make it out to “Newman Catholic Center” and mail it to Newman Catholic; 894 Valley Road; Montclair, NJ 07043.
Please know that all of our friends and benefactors will be remembered at our daily Masses in a special way beginning December 3rd – throughout the Christmas season till the feast of the Epiphany on Sunday January 5th (even though the center closes for Christmas break, I still offer daily mass 🙂 )
My special prayers that the Lord will keep you and your families in the His constant care and protection.
Sincerely in Christ,
Father Jim Chern
Chaplain & Director