I am tired of snow. I guess that isn’t the greatest attitude to have when it’s only February. Mother Nature is far from done with this winter.
One of the reasons I am tired of the snow is that every major storm delays the construction of our Newman Center aka Campus Ministry Center by one more day. As I sat this morning watching the construction grind to a halt for another day, I started to think about how to update people on the current status of our project.
I thought about my blog, and then I realized, much to my great embarrassment, that the last blog post I wrote was almost a full year ago! 2019 is a blur. Most of the year was consumed with work on the Campus Ministry project. Since I am stuck at home today, what better time to give everyone an update? Let’s recap:
-The Diocese of Colorado Springs owns a piece of property adjacent to The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, one of the fastest growing universities in this part of the country and home to a large population of Catholic students, staff, faculty, administration, and alumni
-We are in the midst of a campaign to raise money for the construction and upkeep of a Newman Center, the heart of which will be a chapel that will seat about 300 people. This building will serve not only UCCS but Pikes Peak Community College, Colorado College, and other constituencies as well
-As of the last campaign update, which I received January 22, we have raised about 5.8 million dollars in cash and pledges. It would be impossible for me to say enough thanks to the 1,731 families in the Diocese who have already given or pledged
-There are 31,091 families in the Diocese, so there is still ample opportunity to get involved. Every gift is important and appreciated. If we can continue to raise money, our campus ministry program and our Newman Center will build an endowment to run the building and operate the program in the long term. This will keep the regular Diocesan budget from having to continually fund the program. Since the Diocesan budget comes in large part from the parishes, the more we can raise now, the less we will have to bother the parishes for continuing funding
-The construction of our project is underway. The site has been cleared. Dirt work is almost finished, and the foundation should be in hopefully by the end of March. The bad weather is making it difficult for us to stay on schedule, but we are still projecting the building will open in December of 2020
-The school year is going well. With the help of a wonderful staff, including four Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) missionaries, our students are active and very excited about the Newman Center project
People ask me all the time: “how can I pray for you?” Well, let’s get specific.
Please pray for our continued fundraising efforts. With about 5.5% of families in the Diocese participating in the campaign, there is still a lot of room to build. How many families participate in the campaign sends a strong message to our college students that we care about them. This is our future. It is about all of us. Every gift matters. Every amount is important.
Please pray for the construction efforts. Weather does impact us. We have an amazing team of people working on the project, but they can’t work on the site when it’s covered in snow. Pray for their safety and for their continued progress.
Please pray for the students. Their enthusiasm is strong, and we have many students genuinely passionate about evangelization and growing in their own spiritual life. Having an appropriate worship space, one that is dignified and beautiful, will very positively impact this growing population of college missionary disciples.
Finally, please pray for me. It’s been a long road. I have been on this journey to build a Newman Center for over six years now. It is exciting. It can be overwhelmingly joyful. It can also be extremely isolating and lonely. It can be very challenging, and I need prayers for perseverance and positivity. I am tired of saying Mass in a classroom and hearing confessions at Panera! I want to see this mission through. Prayers for patience and strength are deeply appreciated.
Thank you for all you do to support Campus Ministry. Stay safe and warm, and know all of us at Campus Ministry continue to pray for you. The Newman Center is a reality because of you, and maybe when I have an actual office, I will be able to post to the blog more often!