A Cathedral, a Think-Tank, and a Coffee Shop

How did St. Catherine’s begin this new ministry year? What has changed since the Dominican friars revamped their leadership model? What’s new at Newman?

What’s new? Certainly the variety of Dominican friars you can see around St. Catherine’s! For the last two months our parish has had not two but three resident friars getting involved in diverse ministries, both local and diocesan. As brothers of St. Dominic, we believe that our genuine investment in common life is the only solid foundation of a fruitful preaching. With the lay leaders of the parish we have been also discussing how to best imagine what our Newman Center is, and here is what we came up with: “A Cathedral, a Think-Tank, and a Coffee Shop”.

Let me explain this seemingly strange set of images. We would like to develop our parish community as a place of rich prayer life shared with the university and with the entire city (“cathedral”). Shared prayer, shared immersion in God’s beauty and goodness, would create a foundation and framework for an authentic dialogue and intellectual growth in pursuit of truth (“think-tank”), which would hopefully spill over to daily social interactions not only through programs and events but primarily through spontaneous conversations and time spent together (“coffee shop”).

How do we make this happen? It always takes time to let a new vision sink in, but we have already launched some new projects, as well as continued some old ones, that I believe may show what the cathedral, think tank, and a coffee shop is like in action.

A Cathedral:

Liturgy of the hours: that’s how the Church breathes, with the daily rhythm of psalms and readings from her Tradition. We just changed the schedule of these chanted prayers to give our busy parishioners multiple opportunities to participate. Monday through Friday we pray Morning Prayer at 7:30 AM (~15 minutes), Office of Readings at 9:00 AM (~15 minutes), Midday Prayer at 11:50 AM (~10 minutes), and Evening Prayer at 5:30 PM (~20 minutes).

Adoration: we invite you to spend some time in quiet adoration before Blessed Sacrament, to listen more attentively to the voice of the One Who Is. We offer two adoration times a week, on Wednesday night (7:30 – 8:30 PM, with confessions available), and on Sunday evening, just before the Candlelight Mass (6:00 – 6:30 PM).

Blessed Sacrament Chapel: our sacred art project is progressing slowly but surely. In a month we will be able to open the chapel for personal prayer while our artists will continue their work on stain glass and the central panel. Today for the first time you can see a preview of our work.

A Think-Tank:

What Is the Church? Fr. Jacek will be leading monthly Adult Faith Formation discussions on Church origins, significant events, and influential persons.  All are invited to join any of the series discussions.  Meet in Cate’s Cafe on Sundays at 12:30 pm (bring a lunch if you wish): September 24, October 15, November 19.

Parents Group: Fr. Jacek will continue the program for our CCD parents that Fr. Lukasz started last year. Every Sunday, whenever classes are in progress, the parents are invited to Cate’s Café at 9:30 – 10:30 am for coffee and faith related conversation.

Better Founded Faith: Fr. Marcin started a program for young adults who would like to explore in-depth the foundations of the Catholic faith. Every other Thursday at 7 pm he gives a presentation based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church, followed by small group discussion and sharing.

Social Justice: in addition to several service projects sponsored by St. Catherine’s (Family Promise, monthly donation to the Weigand Center, sandwich making), our Social Justice Committee is inviting us to reflect on the current priorities in how Catholic Social Teaching may apply to the issues that our city and our nation face. Towards that end we will be having a presentation by Jean Hill, the diocesan government liaison, on October 3 at 7 pm in the Gathering Space.

A Coffee Shop

Hike & Mass: there are two upcoming outdoor Masses, designed to bring our community together, surrounded by beauty, to worship the Creator. The first one is a parish-wide hike to Lake Catherine on September 23 (meet at Newman at 8 am), the second is a high school youth group hike to Cecret Lake on September 30 (email [email protected] for more info).

New Vans: have you been surprised by how much our ministry travels? Hikes, national park retreats, annual student leaders training, road trip pilgrimages… It has been on our mind for a while to purchase cars that would serve better the needs of our mobile community. It is my joy today to announce that our Dominican community decided to replace their old cars with two minivans that will be used for big ministry trips as well as for daily rides to and from campus. The funds for the vans came from the Dominican community savings. Fathers Lukasz and Marcin have already offered several “Dominivan” rides to Sunday Mass and weeknight ministry events. 

Tailgate, Fruit of the Vine, Aquinas weekend, St. Patrick’s, April BBQ…: our development committee has planned social events for the whole year. The upcoming Tailgate Party (September 16) is the first of that series, followed closely by our annual fundraiser, Fruit of the Vine, on October 14 (get tickets here). We hope you will be joining us!

I pray that this new year of ministry brings us closer to Christ and to one another.

In Christ,

Fr. Lukasz, OP