Futures Feature: St. Thomas More Catholic Newman Center

If you’re looking for a welcoming community where you can create meaningful, lasting friendships while also growing in your faith, then the St. Thomas More Catholic Newman Center is the perfect place for you.

“The Newman Center is a home for Catholic students and all those searching to find God in their life,” Father Jason Kern, the priest at the Newman Center, said.

The Catholic Newman Center underwent a recent change of address. Built in 2014, the new building is located at 1502 Warren Street, which is across the street from the MSU campus bell tower, just a short walk down the street from Chipotle.

The new facility features a game room, with a pool table, foosball table and dartboard, two study rooms, a lounge area with a fireplace, a classroom, office area, gathering hall, and, most importantly, a chapel for mass. Even with the new accommodations, Sunday service at 8 p.m. continues to be overflowing every week with parishioners.

The Newman Center offers a lot of opportunities for students to grow in their faith. Whether you are just starting out on your faith journey, or are looking to go deeper, the Catholic Mavs are willing take the journey with you.

“The Newman Center offers many large group gatherings with Catholic Mavs night and our large Social Events Wednesdays as well as many small group gatherings through our various Bible Studies,” Joe Bakken, the Newman Center’s Campus Minister, said. Bakken is in charge of programing and central outreach for the Center, as well as oversees all the events and service project opportunities, including mission trips.

Some of the events that the Newman Center organizes include: Theology on Tap, where free pizza and 1919 root beer are provided as a special speaker discusses an interesting topic surrounding the Catholic faith; Grill the Priest, where students are able to ask the priest questions they’ve always wanted to know the answer to; praise and worship nights; Christmas and New Year’s parties; swing dances; and an annual talent show.

“Bottom line,” Bakken said, “there are so many opportunities for students to get involved.”
These big events happen every other Wednesday night and there is always plenty of free food and great people to connect with.

One event in particular that might interest new students is the Welcome BBQ, which happens the first Sunday before fall semester starts. This is a great time opportunity to connect with other students and learn about the Newman Center’s various activities. Getting involved in a bible study is also a great opportunity to meet others who are on the same path of discovery and a way create strong connections with others. What better way to create lasting friendship than while growing closer in your relationship with God?

Bakken also encourages students to attend Catholic Mavs nights, especially those first weeks of the semester when there will be a root beer kegger. This is a weekly event that happens Thursday nights. It begins with mass at 8:15 p.m. and is followed by food, fellowship, and a fun event such as Karaoke on their big screen in the gathering hall, Trivia, board games, bonfires, cookouts or even half apps at Applebee’s once in a while.

Bakken stresses to not worry about just showing up, even if you don’t have someone to go with.
“We have a very welcoming atmosphere and our desire is that all students feel at home here at Newman,” he said. “One thing that I hear from so many students is that here at Newman they have not only experienced an immense joy and enrichment of their faith, but that through this process, they have made the best friends that they have ever had.”

Father Kern also comments, “The lively community and faith life of our student parish allows for all people to come and receive the Sacraments of the Church or discover a deepening of their relationship with Jesus while studying at MSU.”

The Newman Center also offers daily mass at noon on Tuesday and Wednesday, all day adoration on Thursday, and the sacrament of reconciliation 30 minutes before every mass. Father Kern has also stated that they will be adding an 11 a.m. mass on Sundays starting fall 2016.

“The numerous opportunities to grow in your faith make your time at MSU enriched and meaningful so that God can continue to remain at the center of your life,” Father Kern said.

Alissa Thielges

Alissa is a sophomore majoring in mass media at MSU. When she doesn't have her nose stuck in a book, she enjoys eating pie and fangirling over various fictional characters. You can get in touch with her at her email

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