Catholic campus center expands to new building and faces

Catholic campus center expands to new building and faces

Catholic campus center expands to new building and faces
September 17
20:30 2015

Matt Payne | Senior Staff Writer

@MattePaper

St. John Paul II University Parish and Campus Ministry on Eagle Drive is not an area exclusively for students who identify as Catholic.

The ministry strives to integrate with the student body as a collective, regardless of religion

“We have students who will visit our various pavilions on campus, students who have gone to UNT for nearly four years, and are in complete shock at the fact that we even exist,” UNT campus director Bailey Chandler said. “That’s not to say that we’re constantly bursting at the seams, because we are.”

Despite the common shock when students learn of a dedicated Catholic student ministry on campus, the two-story Catholic Campus Center is constantly overflowing with students. They frequent the chapel for personal solace in the form of prayer, or simply a quiet place to study. The center is also a lively place for social interaction.

Business manager Julie Garrison spoke about the several events catering to the overwhelming portion of UNT students who come to the campus ministry.

“We provided over 3,000 meals to several students last year,” Garrison said. “We host three adorations over the weekend and we are always welcoming anybody who walks through that door. Our goal is to provide a second home away from home for anybody who needs it.”

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Students socialize outside of St. John Paul II University Parish and Campus Ministry on Eagle Drive. Matt Payne | Senior Staff Writer

With centers at both UNT and TWU, the Catholic Campus Center was established in the mid-1980s. The center strives to accommodate as many churchgoers and visitors the staff can maintain.

So far, the ministry has retained its spot on Eagle Drive. Over the course of the coming year, another center will be built on the adjacent McCormick Street.

“For a while, we’ll have the benefit of having two buildings with the old and new one,” Chandler said. “We’ll certainly need it with the hundreds of students who come day-in and day-out.”

The church has had to adjust the organization of their campus center to accommodate the overwhelming number of people who come to visit the church during events. The new location will effectively double the space available to the church, according to Garrison.

Since last Monday, the community is currently undergoing what is called a nine-day novena, a nine-day prayer in the wake of the Pope’s arrival to the United States. Throughout the novena, the ministry prays over a variety of subjects that include the welfare of the student body and the presidential candidates-to-be in the 2016 election.

Former UNT student and frequent campus center visitor Julian Carter has been participating in the nine-day novena.

“We get all different types who come through here, so you never really know who’s going to be in the commons area just hanging out,” Carter said.

Over his year of frequenting the center, Carter has strengthened his faith while having the chance to interact with a variety of different faiths.

“Non-denominational or no faith at all, this little house has been an invaluable resource,” Carter said. “Even at the onset of this novena, people who aren’t even Catholic have been coming in to enjoy the company and exhibit support.”

Featured Image: The Catholic community is currently undergoing a nine-day novena in the wake of the Pope’s arrival in America. Matt Payne | Senior Staff Writer

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