With strong support, Newman Center at SEMO ahead of schedule

The Newman Center, home of Catholic Campus Ministry at Southeast Missouri State University, exceeded fundraising goals with the help of more than 400 community supporters to construct a new facility after outgrowing the previous building.

Construction is ahead of schedule with a goal of having the roof on the structure before Christmas to allow interior construction to continue through the winter, according to Deacon Tom Schumer.

With plans to begin occupying the space next summer and operate fully by the start of the 2021 fall semester, Bishop Edward M. Rice recently blessed the site and is scheduled to consecrate and bless the new space in August 2021.

The new 18,000-square-foot St. John Henry Newman Center will house a 7,000-square-foot worship space, two classrooms for what will become the Aquinas Institute for Catholic Studies, a multipurpose room with the capacity for about 150 people, a student lounge and a kitchen.

Schumer said the Newman Center has secured pledges in excess of $5.2 million for the new facility. Since the Newman Center isn't a parish, they depend fully on the generosity of the community. Without this support, this project would not have been able to happen, much less exceed the fundraising goal -- in less than 10 months.

Having held masses at alternate locations during construction, students and members of the community who attend Mass at the Newman Center are assuredly anxiously awaiting the opening.

Once again, our charitable community embraced a praiseworthy cause in support of what is sure to be a beautiful, sacred space providing guidance along the faith journey for many years to come.