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Elon Catholic Students Get New Catholic Newman Center

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Catholic Campus Ministry students at Elon University will have a new home when classes begin for the 2009-2010 school year. Through a collaborative agreement between the University and the Diocese of Raleigh, the Holland House, a 4,000-square foot building will become the home of the new Catholic Newman Center on the campus. The house once served as the official home of two Elon presidents.

“We appreciate the generous financial support of a few major donors who provided transformative gifts to make this a reality,” said Bishop Michael F. Burbidge. “Catholic Campus Ministry at Elon pledges to use this new facility to enhance and support the spiritual lives of students, faculty and staff at Elon.”

The Center will provide students with a library and meeting space and a place to hold weekly programs and dinners. “It will be a place students can call home,” said Father Gerry Waterman, OFM, Conv., director of the Elon Campus Ministry program. “It will also help establish our identity and nourish our faith community, which is so important as an undergrad on campus.”

Father Robert Benko, OFM, Conv., Dean of the Piedmont Deanery and pastor of Blessed Sacrament Church in Burlington, said the new Catholic facility demonstrates the growth of Catholicism in the South. “It’s a testament of how the faith is taking root,” Father Benko said. “We so often hear how that our young people are not that involved in their faith. The response and the participation we are seeing at Elon College suggests otherwise.”

Twenty-two percent of Elon students are Catholic. Approximately 180 students are regular participants in Catholic Campus Ministry programs.

The house is undergoing renovation, after being moved a half mile from its original location to land adjacent to Holt Chapel on south Campus.

We are extremely pleased to form this partnership with Catholic Campus Ministry and the Diocese of Raleigh and look to the Catholic Newman Center as a model for additional identity houses in the future,” said Smith Jackson, vice president for student life and dean of students.

In addition to the library and social activities space, the facility includes living quarters for three Catholic students and a newly hired peer ministry coordinator. Students interested in living in the Holland House should contact Brian O’Shea, assistant to Vice President Jackson at boshea@elon.edu.

Above: The new Elon University Catholic Newman Center undergoing renovation after being moved to its new location on South Campus. The house previously served as the residence of two Elon presidents.