Newman Catholic Center at UMass Amherst to celebrate 50th anniversary with weekend events
(Photo by Rebecca Drake)
SPRINGFIELD – Springfield Bishop Timothy A. McDonnell will mark the 50th anniversary of the Newman Catholic Center at the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a special Mass and gala event on Sunday, Oct. 13, beginning with a 3 p.m. liturgy.
The 60,000-square-foot facility, located at the main entrance of the state’s flagship university, is one of the largest Catholic Newman centers on a secular campus in the United States.
Opened in April 1963, the center was the dream of the late Msgr. David Power, a longtime UMass Catholic campus chaplain. In 1978, Father Joseph “Joe” Quigley, Msgr. Power’s assistant for many years, was appointed director of the center, a post he held until his retirement in 1993.
Father Quigley quickly became a legend on the university campus, known for his easygoing manner and three-point homilies. After his retirement, he remained at the Newman Catholic Center.
Prior to the construction of the center, there was a Newman Club dating back to 1929; students would meet regularly in open classrooms and attend Mass at nearby St. Brigid Church. Current Newman director, Father Gary Dailey, credits the late Springfield Bishop Christopher Weldon and Msgr. Power for their foresight.
“What an amazing vision they had because they purchased this land, which was then on the outskirts of the university, thinking that one day this university would expand and it certainly has,” said Father Dailey.
In addition to a popular café, lounges and study areas, at the heart of the Newman Center is the Seat of Wisdom Chapel, the site of a daily Mass and, during the academic term, five Masses for Sunday obligation. In addition to a staff consisting of two priests, two deacons, a woman religious and three laypersons, Newman Center also is home to the Newman Students Association, which hosts student-based service and spiritual activities, as well as a peer ministry program.
In addition to the Sunday Mass and Gala, on Saturday, Oct. 12, there will be an 11 a.m. golf tournament at Cherry Hill Golf Course, and a 6 p.m. barbeque at the Newman Café.
Two special segments on the Newman Center history and anniversary events will be featured on the Oct. 19 edition of the Springfield Diocese's weekly newsmagazine, "Real to Reel," which airs Saturday evenings at 7 on WWLP-22NEWS.