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Bishop, students, CSUSB officials celebrate Newman Center groundbreaking

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SAN BERNARDINO—If all goes well, Catholic students at California State University, San Bernardino will have their own gathering place just off campus in less than a year.

 The joy and hope of the long awaited CSUSB Newman Center was in the air on September 21 at a ceremonial groundbreaking in which Bishop Gerald Barnes blessed the property at 2564 Kendall Drive in San Bernardino. 

 Sister Pesio Iosefo, SMSM, Campus Minister for CSUSB, described the Newman Center as a “home away from home” for students. The 5,000 square foot building, located about 1.3 miles from campus will provide students and faculty with office spaces, several meeting rooms, a library, music room, kitchen and a prayer garden. Currently, Newman Club students meet in various conference rooms around the CSUSB campus for Mass, Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) and Confirmation classes, Confessions, club meetings and social functions.

 A key development in moving this building project forward was a generous donation of Mary Ganje, in memory of her husband, Tony. In March, Ganje created the endowment “Honoring Our Past, Investing in Our Future,” to help fund the $2.3 million construction cost. The Newman Center is expected to be completed by the summer of 2018, said David Meier, Director of Construction and Real Estate for the Diocese.

 While it will surely serve Newman Club students who identify as Catholic, the center will be open to any University students and faculty who wish to spend time there.

 In his remarks, CSUSB President Tomas Morales noted that Newman Centers have historically appeared as Catholic ministry centers at non-Catholic universities and served as places for ecumenical and interfaith dialogs and social justice meetings. He said he was hopeful the CSUSB Newman Center will continue that tradition.

 “It is a place where individuals can come and gather, pray and reflect, study and relax,” Morales said at the groundbreaking ceremony. “It is a place to exchange ideas, to enjoy the company of others, or to spend some alone time.”