Catholic High School Newman Clubs experience growth in 12th year
By Sarah Nelson
Finding ways to reach the Catholic teens of Pueblo requires creativity, dedication and a desire to “seek and save that which is lost.” Statistics show that only 24 percent of Catholics regularly attend Mass on any given weekend. How do we reach the “missing teens” with a compelling message of the Catholic faith if we rarely see them at Catholic Mass?
Enter an innovative idea: Newman Clubs. Newman Clubs or Newman Centers are missionary efforts that reach out to Catholics at non-Catholic high schools and universities. The establishment of this movement was inspired by the writings of Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman encouraging societies for Catholic students who attend secular universities.
In Pueblo there are currently three functioning high school Newman Clubs that foster a Catholic identity, create a space for faith conversations and provide camaraderie among students surrounded by caring adults. Parish leaders and volunteers from Holy Family, Our Lady of the Meadows, St. Mary, Shrine of St. Therese and Search serve at the three current Newman Clubs at South, Central and newly added Centennial High School. There are plans to potentially create a Newman Club at East High School in the fall.
At each school, the Newman Clubs take place during the student lunch hours every Tuesday (Centennial and Central) or Wednesday (South) each week. Typical attendance during the Newman clubs ranges anywhere from 45 to 65 students per school per week. “I always look forward to Tuesdays just because of Newman Club. Can’t wait for next year,” said Dakota Burns a student from Central High School.
A core component to the success of making Newman Clubs an enticing option is the delicious food brought and served to the students each week. The typical cost to fund each of the Newman Clubs is approximately $300 per month per school. The entire cost to run the program (for the projected four schools) is around $10,000 per year. Efforts for several city-wide fundraising projects are underway to ease the financial strain of carrying on this worthy cause, which is currently funded through diminishing budgets and generous donors.
For many teenagers, the Newman Club has been a powerful component in strengthening their faith. Duncan Richards from Central said, “Words cannot describe what Newman Club has done for me this year.” Senior Rachel Rossi from Centennial concurs, “Newman Club is a chance for teenagers to escape the stress and drama of high school for a little bit and fellowship in a supportive atmosphere. The joy and insight the leaders bring is easily the highlight of my week.”
Please be on the lookout in future Today’s Catholic publications for the dates/times/locations of upcoming city-wide fundraisers. If you wish to make a donation to support the joint efforts of the Newman Clubs, please contact Ms. Linda Davis at Our Lady of the Meadows, coordinator for the joint Newman Clubs of Pueblo. Ms. Davis can be reached at (719) 561-3580 x20.