On Sunday September 19, 2010, in Birmingham, England, Pope Benedict XVI beatified Cardinal John Henry Newman, officially recognizing him as “blessed.” In addition to his great significance for people in Great Britain and the world, Newman, writer, poet, and theologian, was particularly influential on campus ministers serving universities and colleges in the United States.
The theme for the pope's visit to the United Kingdom was Cor ad cor loquitur—“heart speaks unto heart.” Newman chose these words as the motto for his coat of arms when he became a cardinal in 1879. For Newman, true communication between people was a dialogue from heart to heart and represented the fruits of a moral life lived in communion with Christ. The relevance of that message is manifest for anyone engaged in campus ministry.
The Catholic Campus Ministry Association (CCMA) and the National Catholic Student Coalition (NCSC) are two groups that were originally founded as the U.S. Newman Foundation.
The first Newman Club in the United States was established in 1893 at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1906 Father Henry Hengells was appointed the first full-time chaplain of a Newman Club at a state university, the University of Wisconsin. Three other dioceses followed shortly thereafter.
Among the numerous Catholic student associations across the United States, many continue to carry the Newman Club name. Several campus ministries are also based in 476 Newman Houses/Centers.
“Cardinal Newman’s vision of a place on campus for integrating faith and intellectual study and creating a supportive community of Catholics guides Catholic campus ministries across our country,” said Father Martin Moran, executive director of the CCMA. “On this occasion, the members of the Catholic Campus Ministry Association join with the entire church in celebrating his life, his work, and his many legacies.”
A short report on Newman’s beatification: