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The Antelope

Newman Center becomes parish, builds church

KYLIE SCHWAB / ANTELOPE STAFF The newly-named St. Teresa of Calcutta Newman Center is building a new church.

The Catholic Newman Center at UNK is planning to build a new and all inclusive place of worship. They hope to expand their reach across campus and within the Kearney community.

UNK’s Newman Center has recently become a parish and is now called the St. Teresa of Calcutta Newman Center.

“There has been a Newman Center since the club’s inception in 1952,” said Jacob Coatney, Newman Center’s development director. “Where we’re at right now, we struggle to cater to everyone. Our plan is to build a dedicated facility that will be more approachable by the community.”

The Newman Center currently sits just east of UNK’s campus and encompasses seven buildings. The new church will be a part of University Village which is under construction south of West Center. 

The plan comes from the need for a larger space.

“At times we feel sort of packed in like sardines,” Coatney said. “We have simply outgrown the space we have here.”

A dedicated space will help the Newman Center feel more connected.

“Right now the Newman Center is located in a garage that was transformed into a chapel,” said Daniel Reiter, a UNK sophomore. “I can’t wait for the new chapel so we can worship in a space that will better cater to our needs.”

 The new chapel will give the opportunity to host larger crowds.

“When there are Masses that students want to particularly attend – like Ash Wednesday – the chapel is so full, and that is awesome,” said Emily Saadi, a junior political science major at UNK. “It’s great that there’s so many students at worship, but there’s so many more students that could be served if we had the space for them.”

Since the Newman Center has become a full-fledged parish, all Catholic UNK students are considered members, though the church is welcoming to non-Catholics, too. A bigger and more updated space will be just what the parish needs to grow. 

Students can look forward to more than just a larger chapel area.

“We host a lot of different services at the Newman Center,” said Fr. Neal Hock, pastor of the St. Teresa of Calcutta Newman Center. “As we propose the new space, we want to ensure we can host these different services and provide areas for them. There will be social gathering spaces, offices and even a space to serve meals.”

The St. Teresa of Calcutta Newman Center is being designed by Kevin Clark. Clark designed the Newman Center at the University of Nebraska Lincoln.

“I’ve been to other chapels Clark has designed, and all of them are absolutely gorgeous,” Reiter said. “We’re super excited to have him design this new Newman Center for us at UNK.”

This new proposed space opens the door for more opportunities within the Newman Center.

“I’m personally involved within the music ministry program at the Newman Center,” Saadi said. “I think that the new chapel and developments will help us build the program even more. Music is one of my favorite parts of Mass, and to have the space to worship in that capacity is going to be amazing.”

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