— Homily for this past Sunday November 15 follows this note…

Dear Friends of Newman:

Have you ever felt like you’re living in an alternate universe? Spending some time with us here at the Newman Center you might begin to wonder. In an expanding secular world that seems to question the validity of religion’s place… In a culture that seems to be encouraging everyone, especially young people to “Eat, Drink and be Merry for tomorrow we die,” you would be encouraged and inspired to witness what is happening here at the Newman Catholic Center here at Montclair State University.

Our Sunday Night Mass continues to be the most important thing we do as the Catholic Campus Ministry here at MSU and is becoming a fixture on the campus as the number of students continues to increase. Visitors joining us often comment how beautiful and uplifting our liturgies are – and especially how the “students are filled with Joy.” But our activity doesn’t end there. The number of students coming to daily Mass has tripled since last year. Eucharistic Adoration is offered weekly as more and more students want to spend time with Jesus present in the Blessed Sacrament. In fact, between all the spiritual activities, community service opportunities offered on a weekly basis, and the usual number of social events – there’s usually several things going on every day of the semester.

In addition, this semester we have been blessed with 5 missionaries from FOCUS – the Fellowship of Catholic University Students. These selfless young men and women are recent college graduates, who sacrifice two to three years of their lives to Jesus and His Church by ministering to their peers. The missionaries have added so much in such a short period of time. They presently conduct ten bible studies per week; hold monthly Men’s and Women’s Evenings focusing on living chaste, soberly and pursuing excellence in academics and life (as Jesus came that we might “have life and have it more abundantly” – John 10:10) They are challenging their brothers and sisters to realize how they are “Made for More” than what the world shortchanges them as.

There’s so many wonderful things happening here, that it might feel like an alternate universe, but we are very much apart of this world. So I know that this is a difficult economy for many people, but I am confident that I can turn to you – our parents, friends and supporters – will help us continue to do the good work God is directing us to do here for His children. With the increase of students, and programming, our needs continue to increase for supplies and financial resources. Whether it’s something as trivial (but important!) as food for an event or paying a registration fee for a student unable to afford attending FOCUS national conference this December in Florida, we have had to dip into our savings to meet these challenges. I am hoping that this Christmas Season we will be able to raise $10,000 so that we can continue to build on all the good we have started as well as purchase much needed furniture for our new community room (our basement – which was renovated through your generosity this past summer).

Thank you for all of your support and your prayers for us. We remember you often in our prayers, especially when we look around the house and see what has been accomplished through your generosity. May God’s saving Love which we celebrate with the Birth of Jesus Christ at Christmas, shine brightly upon you and your loved ones at this special season of faith.
In Christ’s Peace and Love –

Father Jim Chern,
Chaplain & Director

Please send all donations to: NEWMAN CATHOLIC CENTER; 894 Valley Road; Upper Montclair, NJ 07043