Fr. Lukasz

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


Fruit of the Vine 2017

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Mark your calendars for our annual wine tasting fundraiser.

Enjoy delicious wines, fantastic food, and socializing with other St. Catherine’s parishioners. Bid high and bid often on a wide variety of silent auction items and experiences. This event will be dedicated to raising funds for the wonderful campus ministry and educational programs that St. Catherine’s provides for our community.

The online ticket sale is now closed but you can still get tickets at the gate! It’s $30 and $50. Babysitting will be available for $20 per family.

The event begins at 6:30 pm.

New Students!

Are you new to the U? Do you want a faithful, fun community that will support you in as you enter a new stage in your life? Are you looking to return to or investigate the Catholic faith?

Whether you are new, returning, or seeking, the Newman Center welcomes you!

Meet new friends and deepen your faith at our Fall Semester events!

Blessed BeansAugust 24, 7-9pm: Join us for a curated coffee tasting, live music, and games

Mass on the Grass & Sunday SupperAugust 27, 6:30pm

Kickoff Undergrad Night with dinnerAugust 29, 6:30pm

Tailgating for Utah vs. San Jose StateSeptember 16, 6-7:30pm

Denver Homeless Outreach Service Trip – Fall Break

Search RetreatNov 10-12

Newman Hike & Mass in the Mountains – date TBD (soon!)


Want to get more involved? Join us for our weekly liturgies and events!

Student Mass & Sunday Supper –  Sundays, 6:30pm

Undergrad Night with dinner – Tuesdays, 6:30pm

Adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament & Confessions – Wednesdays, 7pm

Small Groups – various days and times. Topics include philosophy, Theology of the Body, book groups, knitting, and more

Catechesis and Faith Formation – date TBD


Questions? Contact Angie Hall at [email protected]

Mass on the Grass 2017

Sunday, August 27th, 6:30 PM

Come, let’s start off a new academic year St. Catherine’s style! We will celebrate our annual Mass on the Grass across the street from our church, to pray for the U campus community and for all our parishioners, especially welcoming the new students.

Mass will be followed by a delicious FREE Italian dinner provided by Valter’s Osteria.

Please spread the word!

Onward and Upward: Newman on the Way of St. James

This past May 28 students and young adults from St. Catherine’s backpacked a part of the Way of St. James in Spain. The pilgrimage on this ancient trail was led by Fr. Lukasz and his Dominican friend from Poland, Fr. Dawid Kolodziejczyk. Read a story by one of those young people, John Esquivel, about what this experience was like.

As you may know, we walked 322 km (just about 200 miles) this past May in Spain in what’s called El Camino De Santiago, the pilgrimage to the tomb of Saint James. We walked as little as 13 miles and up to 24 miles during certain days. I can certainly say it’s been an experience like no other for I learned so much about my community and myself by doing this walk. I will not lie to you; this walk is tough as it takes of a lot of perseverance, faith, hope, and endurance to do.

I learned many valuable lessons for life. This is a walk about learning how to adapt to your environment, how to listen to your body and test your limits, how to train your mind to do things it never thought it could do. It taught me how to be comfortable with being by myself, and at the same time with others and how to properly balance it in order for me to be at peace. It taught me how to just keep walking, and walking, and walking. I learned to not complain and not to think about the walk in terms of “how much is left?” or “Is it over soon?” too much, because at the end of the day, you’ll be with your community bonding over experiences and enjoying mass with them in gorgeous churches. Sometimes you will walk alone, and you’ll have time to sort out your problems and pray, sometimes you will walk and not think at all just walk, and sometimes you will be sharing experiences and enjoying other people’s companies. You will undoubtedly meet people from all over the world, and see why they do the Camino.

In the Camino you will be challenged to reach distances you never thought you could and make sacrifices. You will grow closer to God, but the way you will not be the same as others, just follow the signs leading you. There were points where I felt deep helplessness only to see the end goal nearby and seeing hope and how God strengthened me with perseverance, because in the end it will all be fine. Among the most valuable lessons I learned were how to be enduring, persistent, and resilient in the Camino. God will never forsake you. I learned how to smile after the hardest days, because sometimes people need that reassuring smile. I learned how to get inspiration from people, and how to inspire people to keep going and to realize that we cannot make it to the end goal without others. I feel blessed to say we walked thought it all; rain, fog, cold, strong wind, intense sun, thunder, perfect weather etc. I learned to accept myself and my limitations as well as the good qualities that pulled me through the Way. Things in the Camino will sometimes be disappointing, but patience is key to overcome this.

Finally, while the Camino did not change my life, it gave me the tools to change my life, and for that I am most grateful to God. I was really scared to do this walk, thinking I would not be able to do it…yet here I am talking about I walk I did about a month ago. I strongly recommend doing El Camino de Santiago if you seek personal growth and to grow closer to God and others.

Above: visiting St. Teresa’s shrine in Avila

Above: walking through the farmlands of Leon

Above: Cruz de Ferro (Iron Cross), the highest point on the Way. At the foot of this cross pilgrims are encouraged to leave little rocks they have been carrying, symbols of their sins and struggles

Above: celebration of daily Eucharist in Samos

Above: singing Taize chants after a long day of backpacking in the mountains of Galicia

Pilgrimage to Poland

This May Fr. Jacek took a group of Newman Center parishioners and friends to Poland for a 9 day pilgrimage. The first three days were spent in Warsaw where we first learned about the history of Poland, in view of the Vistula River, and under the watchful eye of a Marie Curie statue, a famous Warsaw resident. We toured the Royal Castle, experienced the Polin Museum of the History of the Jews, visited the Warsaw Dominican Priory, and St Hyacinth’s church. We listened to Chopin in the Park and ate pierogis and beer whenever possible. Then we motored down to the shrine of the Black Madonna of Czestochowa and arrived at our apartments, one block from one of the most beautiful town squares in Europe.

In Cracow we experienced the Wieliczka Salt Mines, visited the Saint Maria Faustyna Kowalska shrine, and spent half a day at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Following the extermination camp we made our way to the St John Paul II shrine. The shrine has only been open for one year and sits on the remnants of the quarry where John Paul discerned his vocation. The church is decorated with mosaics and is amazingly beautiful. Here, together we prayed the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy contemplating one of the most horrific events of history along with the stunning work of St John Paul. At St Mary’s Basilica, we saw the gothic architecture of Poland and listened to organ music in the evening. At the Jagiellonian University’s Collegium Maius, we learned about Copernicus and his contributions to math and astronomy in the year 1400. We completed out our visit to Cracow by walking through the Jewish Ghetto and watching the ordination of eight new Dominican Deacons at the Church of the Holy Trinity.

Fr Jacek, besides sharing his comprehensive history of Poland, both spiritual, political, and economic, can also take credit for introducing us to cherry vodka, home cooked Polish cuisine, and splendid public transportation. Many thanks to Fr. Jacek for a wonderful trip.

Joyce Barra


Leveraging the Talent: Changes in St. Catherine’s Dominican Leadership


What makes St. Catherine’s different than other Salt Lake City parishes? Some may mention the liturgy, or architecture, or the strong sense of community. One should definitely mention its character as a university parish, a Newman Center. Now, my hope is that along with these features another quality gets listed: that St. Catherine’s is a Dominican parish.

Why does that matter? The most basic answer is our Dominican fraternal life. That fraternal life is what initially attracted me to the Dominican Order, and it is at the heart of our ongoing discernment of the model of leadership that would best suit our community here at St. Catherine’s. Dominicans are brothers together. This means that we live an intentional and communal life, always striving to use each man’s talents together for one common goal: preaching and the salvation of souls. Our fraternal life means that our individual ministries and projects stem out of our shared reflection on the needs of the Church. And in order to answer these needs well, we need to keep leveraging our talents.

So what is happening with the St. Catherine’s Dominicans? By now most of you have heard about our new addition, Fr. Marcin Szymanski, OP. He will be joining Fr. Jacek Buda, OP, who served at Juan Diego Catholic HS last year, and me, which brings the number of Dominican friars at St. Catherine’s to three. Why do we need that many, you could ask? Well, I strongly believe that this is actually the only way to let the specific quality of Dominican ministry do its “magic”. The fraternity with which we approach the people entrusted to our care requires this variety of personalities and talents, so that we can best serve the diverse needs of St. Catherine’s and of the Church in Utah. In order to optimize our performance, we came up with the following model assigning primary responsibilities to each friar:

  • Jacek will be the pastor of the parish, taking care of the sacramental life, faith formation, and the administrative needs of St. Catherine’s;
  • Lukasz will be the campus minister, reaching out to the University of Utah, Westminster College, and Salt Lake Community College, and organizing the faith formation programs of the Newman Center with the help of student leaders;
  • Marcin will work with all the communities at St. Catherine’s, helping with the sacramental life and faith formation of our diverse ministries.

Having said that, I need to add that this division of labor is only an approximation, as the specific tasks each of us will get involved with will depend on both our ongoing fraternal discernment and your continuing feedback.

We are undertaking a division of labor, not a division of love. Each of us will be present to the whole St. Catherine’s community in a way that takes advantage of our talents most effectively. You can expect each of us to celebrate Masses and preach on a rotating basis, each of us to be available for confession or conversation, each of us to be involved with the spiritual, the intellectual, and the social life of the parish. To put it simply, our desire is to divide responsibilities to unite us more intimately in our one goal: to be present and attentive to what our individuals and families need in their journey of faith.

May St. Catherine of Siena with her zealous love of the Gospel inspire all of us as we work together on the shape of our faith community.





Taste of St. Catherine’s

The Taste of St. Catherine’s is now the St. Catherine’s Happy Hour!

Come join your fellow parishioners for the first parish-wide social event this year. Bring a snack and a beverage to share, and spend a night with people you know from the pew. The purpose of this casual event is to create an opportunity for folks to get to know one another.
Friday, February 10th, 6:30 PM.
Contact Fr. Lukasz at [email protected] for more information.

Aquinas Lecture 2017

Learning From Thomas Merton About Living Laudato Si2-st-thomas-aquinas-granger

Join us for the 2017 Aquinas Lecture with one of the most interesting voices of the young theology in America! The Franciscan friar Daniel P. Horan, PhD, teaches at the Catholic Theological Union (Chicago), writes for America magazine, and is the author of several books including God is Not Fair and Other Reasons for Gratitude (2016), The Franciscan Heart of Thomas Merton: A New Look at the Spiritual Influence on his Life, Thought, and Writing (2014),  Postmodernity and Univocity: A Critical Account of Radical Orthodoxy and John Duns Scotus (2014), The Last Words of Jesus: A Meditation on Love and Suffering (2013), Francis of Assisi and the Future of Faith: Exploring Franciscan Spirituality and Theology in the Modern World (2012) and Dating God: Live and Love in the Way of St. Francis (2012).

When: Sunday, January 29th, 12:30 PM

Where: St. Catherine’s Newman Center

Light reception to follow


Interested in learning more about Thomas Merton? Join us for an afternoon retreat with Fr. Horan on Saturday, January 28th.

Christmas Schedule

Working Title/Artist: Zanobi Strozzi  and Fra Angelico: The Nativity, ca. 1435-40 Department: European Paintings Culture/Period/Location:  HB/TOA Date Code:  Working Date:  photography by mma, Digital File DT5285.tif retouched by film and media (jn) 1_8_16

Zanobi Strozzi and Fra Angelico: The Nativity, ca. 1435-40

Christmas Eve, December 24: 5 pm Vigil Mass

Christmas Day, December 25: 12 am Midnight Mass & 10:45 am Mass

Note: the only Mass during the day on Christmas is at 10:45 am


The Octave of Christmas, Monday – Friday, December 26th-30th: daily Mass at 12:10 pm

Parish office this week will be closed.


Saturday, December 31: confessions 4-5 pm, Vigil Mass at 5 pm

New Year’s Day, January 1: Masses at 8:30 am, 10:45 am, 6:30 pm