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Newman Center to move to Holy Ghost Parish

Rev. Wayne E. Killian says the move is "a positive for all involved."

The parish restructuring announced recently by the Diocese of Allentown means positive changes for Lehigh’s Catholic worshippers.

The Newman Center, which houses Catholic Campus Ministry at Lehigh, will move to nearby Holy Ghost Parish, on the western edge of the university’s campus, and become the Office of Catholic Campus Ministry of Lehigh University at Holy Ghost Parish. The shift, scheduled for mid-July, will mean more space for student activities as well as greater worshipping options.

The Holy Ghost complex includes four buildings; the facility to be used by Lehigh students will be called Newman Hall. The Newman Association and Newman Foundation will continue in their current forms.

Newman Hall is the parish’s former church. The first floor includes a large area for gathering, studying, and recreation, and there is a full-size basketball court on the second floor. All students, not just Catholics, are invited to use the facility.

“It’s to our advantage,” says Newman Center director Rev. Wayne E. Killian, who will also become Holy Ghost’s pastor. “It’s a large building, so the students will have plenty of space, and it will be open to their convenience, whenever they want to use it, all day, every day.”

Lehigh weddings and Sunday evening Masses will continue to be held in Packer Memorial Church. Holy Ghost will celebrate Mass on Saturday afternoons and early Sunday mornings, both times a first for Lehigh.

Holy Ghost Parish is located on the western edge of the university's campus.

“These new quarters will allow us to expand our programming to fit the needs of the students and the community parishioners,” says Scott Wojiechowski ’09, the Newman Council’s vice president for activities and membership. “I love the duality of the parish—serving Bethlehemites and Lehigh students. This partnership between the university and the diocese will be in perfect lockstep with the continual improvement of community relations. I'm so happy this change is happening now.”

With Roman Catholics comprising the largest religious affiliation in Lehigh’s student body, the Newman Center and Lehigh’s partnership with Killian and the Diocese of Allentown remain important facets of the university’s religious life, according to university chaplain Lloyd Steffen.

“The chaplain’s office wants to do everything it can to make sure the needs of our Roman Catholic students are met,” he adds. “We want to work in concert with the Allentown Diocese and Father Killian as he undertakes these new responsibilities.”

Moving Catholic activities to Holy Ghost will provide easier access for Lehigh’s Catholic students living on the campus’s west side. In addition, the move will allow Lehigh students and the parish’s many senior citizens to become more involved with each other, Killian says.

“It’ll be great for the parishioners to be able to experience a younger generation, and for that generation to be aware of their seniors,” Killian says. “It’ll just be a great experience for our students to be in touch with the local community and to engage them. It’s a positive for all involved.”

Steffen notes that the Newman Center’s move, along with the pending arrival of new rabbi and Hillel Center director Seth Goren and other initiatives in the planning stages, signals that spiritual affairs at Lehigh are undergoing some positive changes.

“We’ll have some new invigoration in our religious life here,” Steffen says. “Religious groups remain active and engaged.”

--Tom Durso

Posted on Monday, June 09, 2008

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