This is an open letter to Catholic students and parishioners of the Aquinas Newman Center. It is known that the Dominican priests who have been there for decades are being moved elsewhere and new priests are moving in. To clarify, most major universities have a Newman Center of their own, whose purpose is campus ministry and encouragement of new Catholic vocations. From what I understand, Archbishop Sheehan has found our Newman Center to be wanting and that is why he wants new leadership.

As a Catholic student, I would like to attest to the lack of outreach from the Aquinas Newman Center. Their website is extremely vague and unhelpful regarding campus ministry. The Student page says they meet on Mondays for Bible study, but does not mention when, or where exactly. It says, “there’s a ton of things for you to do,” but there are no links and no information about any of the activities.

The calendar is often not updated for months at a time. For example, for Catholics, Ash Wednesday and Lent is about to begin in a few days and the website still shows resources for Advent and Christmas. I subscribed to the weekly email, which comes about once a month, and is equally unhelpful.

I stopped in and the pamphlets were disorganized and only seemed geared toward parishioners and Catholics in general, not students.

Not only that, but no one was there except a housekeeper.

Another time I went in to inquire about receiving confession on Good Friday and was told there were no times left, but there was “another Christian church up on Yale” that might have services.

My point: even though I was actively seeking to become involved, I was unable to find what I needed. What must that mean then for the young people of our community who might be thinking about the religious life? They are unlikely to be recruited by the Aquinas Newman Center, and that is why new leadership is needed.

Jennifer Smith
UNM student