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Finding a Catholic Community at a Non-Catholic University
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Attending public universities can offer many perks. Some of these perks are in-state tuition, proximity to home, certain majors, or less costs in general. Although public universities are never affiliated with religion, there are many Catholic communities at some of these public universities.


Newman Centers

One of the common Catholic communities that public universities offer is a Newman Center. Newman centers are Catholic campus ministries that offer various activities that include both spiritual worship and social get-togethers. Some of these spiritual worships can include daily Mass, eucharistic adoration, bible study, and praise and worship. Some public universities have very vibrant Newman Centers and can be a great place for catholic students to deepen their faith. Incoming freshmen can search on the Newman Ministry website to find which public universities offer Newman Centers.



If a public university does not offer a Newman Center, you may find that it offers a FOCUS ministry group. FOCUS ministry groups are very similar to Newman Centers, but they also offer opportunities to send students on mission trips to serve the poor and teach the Faith. Students may also be familiar with FOCUS ministry groups through their annual collaboration with SEEK conferences. FOCUS ministry groups also offer times for students to worship together as well as social events. Students may find FOCUS ministry groups on campuses by searching on their website.


Once you have found that the university you are interested in has a Newman Center or FOCUS ministry group, schedule a campus visit at the school and visit the center or with the center's representative if possible. Try and see if you re able to attend an event or ask what events or opportunities of worship they might provide for students. If you are unable to visit the campus in person, reach out to the Newman Center or FOCUS ministry group representative and ask what social and spiritual events they host ever year. Ask how many attend, and how often they occur every week. Kolbe Academy has also done a podcast titled "Vibrant Campus Ministries" that talks about both Newman Centers and FOCUS ministry groups. The podcast can be a great resource of discerning a student's college decision. 


Unfortunately, not every public university will offer a Newman Center and/or a FOCUS ministry group. If this is the case for the public universities that students are considering, be sure to research the following:


  • Local Catholic parishes and young adult groups they may offer 
  • Search nearby public universities and see if they offer a Newman Center or other Catholic ministry groups 
  • Catholic student clubs on campus 
  • Catholic bible study groups near by 


Some universities may also be located near religious groups that may offer events for young adult Catholics to deepen their faith and meet other peers. As your student is embarking on their college discernment, be sure to review our college planning folder. You can also find more advice on choosing colleges in our Discerning the Best College Fit article. 

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