The Pursuit of Truth

Michael and Mindy Mansfield, CE 2019

When Michael and Mindy met at their Fluid Mechanics class, they had a few things in common: they were both studying Civil Engineering, they both grew up Catholic, and they both were involved in InterVarsity, a non-denominational evangelical group on the campus of SDSM&T. A common friend invited them to a fluids study group and, in spending time together, they desired to get to know each other more. Michael, who grew up Catholic, considered himself no longer Catholic, but Evangelical in his college years. He asked Mindy out on a date, and over a cup of hot cocoa, they discussed Mary and the differences between Catholicism and Evangelical Protestantism. They made a promise to each other, one that Mindy felt was a great act of faith and put her belief in the Catholic Church on the line. They promised that they would search for TRUTH together and accept whatever it was that they found.

 

Days turned into weeks, which turned into months, and they found themselves more involved in Intervarsity and becoming more involved in the life of the Rapid City Catholic Newman Center. It was Fr. Dillon, the chaplain during that time, who was a great solace to Mindy and helped answer many questions that they both had about the many intricacies of the Catholic faith. It is no surprise that, in their pursuit of truth and beauty, they found it in many facets of their lives. That included things such as the friendships, community life, the liturgies, the Eucharist reserved in the chapel, and in the times of prayer and study at the Newman Center.

 

When it became clear that Mindy was the one Michael wanted to spend the rest of his life with, he proposed to her after spending some time together in adoration at a parish in Kansas City during their summer internship. Then in their senior year, the Newman Center had it’s first ever Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) team and both Michael and Mindy were interested in a deeper life of discipleship under FOCUS missionaries. They both led Catholic bible studies on campus, were in one on one  discipleship, and built a deeper relationship with Christ their senior year.  Traditionally, the bride wants to celebrate the wedding in her home parish, but because of the ministry of the Newman Center and their involvement, Mindy said “Mike and I love the Newman Center and couldn’t imagine getting married anywhere else! It has been a beautiful place for us to grow in our Catholic Faith and make authentic friendships.”

 

So, this August, Michael and Mindy, together with friends from the Newman Center, Intervarsity, and their families, pledged their lives to each other in the culmination of their search for Truth, Beauty, and Goodness. Now that they are graduate students and live off campus. They spend more time at the Newman Center between classes, finding time for personal prayer, and time together to pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament. The experiences they’ve had at the Center give them hope that as they move to Kansas City, continuing their Graduate program, that they will find the same fellowship and community life in their new Catholic parish as they start a beautiful family and life away from SDSM&T. They both feel blessed to have been around the Newman Center - centered on Christ. 

Chaplain's Corner

Fr. Mark McCormick, Newman Center Chaplain

On Sunday October 13, we celebrated the canonization of Cardinal John Henry Newman as one of the newest Saints in our Catholic Church. Newman Centers were named in honor of Cardinal John Henry Newman and were inspired by his writings. The first Newman Center was established in 1893 at the University of Pennsylvania and today there are over 2,000 Newman Centers across the United States. We are blessed to have two in our Diocese.

 

Being the chaplain and living at the Rapid City Newman Center has been a great gift and blessing to my priesthood in so many ways. The youthful energy of the students and their zeal for the Christian faith brings me hope and encouragement. They are hungry to hear God’s word and thirst for the living presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. This can be seen in the 15 Bible studies that are being held throughout the week hosted by our hard-working FOCUS Missionaries. We usually have 15 to 20 students who come for daily Mass and 50 to 60 for Mass on Sunday evenings. We do a walking rosary every Monday evening around campus, regardless of weather and I mean regardless of the weather. There have been several times already this year that we have prayed the rosary in sleet and snow with a howling wind to boot!

 

I enjoy the table conversation I have with the students at the different meals we share in, although sometimes the conversation at the dinner table concerning their studies makes my head spin, so I return to St. John Henry Newman’s motto cor ad cor loquitur — “heart speaks unto heart.”  It’s a reminder that the Christian life is a call to holiness, a call to bring the human heart and desires into a deep and personal intimate communion with the Heart of God. As Newman says in one of his prayers:

 

Dear Jesus, help me to spread

Thy fragrance everywhere I go.

Flood my soul with Thy spirit and life.

Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly

that all my life may only be a radiance of Thine.

Shine through me, and be so in me

that every soul I come in contact with

may feel Thy presence in my soul.

Let them look up and see no longer me

but only Jesus!

 

To strive to do this for our students is my great privilege and challenge as their chaplain.

Meet the New Director

by Brendan Murphy, Newman Center Director

Greetings! My name is Brendan Murphy, the new director here at the Rapid City Newman Center. I am very excited and honored to be working here at this beautiful center and look forward to a wonderful year serving the Catholic students here at the SD School of Mines & Technology (SDSM&T) in Rapid City and our wonderful alumni that live throughout many wonderful communities in these great United States.

 

I was born and raised in North Minneapolis. I come from a Catholic upbringing and was very blessed to have attended Totino-Grace High School, a Catholic school located in Fridley, MN and then attended the University of St. Thomas where I graduated in 1997. I was a commissioned officer through the ROTC program at St. Thomas and attended intelligence school in San Angelo, Texas before being stationed at Ellsworth AFB in Rapid City in 1998. After serving at the Weapons School, the 77th Bomb Squadron and the 28th Bomb Wing at Ellsworth, I joined the SD Army National Guard (SDARNG) 2004.  

 

I was very blessed to have served with so many amazing people and was given many incredible career opportunities throughout my time, both in the Air Force, and in the SDARNG. After 21 years of military service, I retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in February of 2019. I realized my good fortune and wanted to ensure I remained present as a husband to my wonderful and loving wife of more than 18 years and to my seven year old son, whom I love deeply and cherish my close relationship with more than some can imagine.  

 

I feel very honored and humbled to have been given this opportunity to serve once again… just in a different manner, and by the holy grace of God. It is a pure joy and privilege to serve these wonderful students, faculty, alumni and ardent supporters here at the Rapid City Newman Center. Being connected so closely with the campus of SDSM&T is a blessing and reminds me every day how incredible college life really is. I look forward to forging lasting bonds with the students that call the Newman Center their home and hope to develop this place into one of the best centers around the country to connect with Christ.  From my family to yours, thank you!  And we appreciate your kindness, your prayers and your support as we forge ahead in this new and blessed endeavor.

GAINING FOCUS

by Debra Bienert, Newman Advisory Board President and Lecturer – SDSM&T Department of Mathematics

by Debra Bienert, Newman Advisory Board President and Lecturer – SDSM&T Department of Mathematics

FOCUS is coming to the Rapid City Newman Center! FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) is present on over 130 campuses across the country. Their commitment to the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology (SDSM&T) means FOCUS is active at 5 of the 6 universities here in SD. A FOCUS team of two young men and two young women will be arriving in Rapid City in early August to work with the students at SDSM&T over the coming academic year. We hope to continue our relationship with FOCUS well into the future. They have been trained in church teaching, prayer, Sacred Scripture, and evangelization and discipleship. There are over 650 missionaries just like them working with chaplains and campus ministers across the country.

 

Young people today are bombarded with video games, the world wide web, electronic toys, texting, and propaganda, all aimed at making them happy. But true happiness eludes them, and depression is far too common. Never have young people been more vulnerable and never has filling their hearts and minds with something meaningful been more important.

 

College and life’s challenges are stressful and an often-ignored element to help students deal with this stress is their faith. Over 80% of young people will leave their faith by the age of 23 and the fastest growing religious demographic in the United States are people who list their faith as ”unaffiliated”. The faith of our young people is the future of faith in this country.

 

FOCUS will provide one-on-one authentic friendships with real conversations with the students. FOCUS will be building community with face to face fellowship giving students the opportunity to grow, to serve, and to teach others while they share the message of Jesus Christ. FOCUS wins the hearts of college students, builds them in their faith, and sends them into the world to impact others.

 

The four missionaries that are coming to Rapid City are spending the month of July raising funds to help support their time here in Rapid City. Having four missionaries on campus requires a significant investment of $68,000. The Diocese and the Cathedral have committed $30,000 for one year; the Advisory Board to the Newman Center is helping with support; and we are asking for your help as well to guide our young people in lives of virtue and excellence in the name of Jesus Christ. Please give; the need has never been greater. As St. John Paul II said, “The greatest deception and the deepest source of unhappiness, is the illusion of finding life by excluding God.” Please help our young people find God.

FOCUS is coming to the Rapid City Newman Center! FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) is present on over 130 campuses across the country. Their commitment to the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology (SDSM&T) means FOCUS is active at 5 of the 6 universities here in SD. A FOCUS team of two young men and two young women will be arriving in Rapid City in early August to work with the students at SDSM&T over the coming academic year. We hope to continue our relationship with FOCUS well into the future. They have been trained in church teaching, prayer, Sacred Scripture, and evangelization and discipleship. There are over 650 missionaries just like them working with chaplains and campus ministers across the country.

 

Young people today are bombarded with video games, the world wide web, electronic toys, texting, and propaganda, all aimed at making them happy. But true happiness eludes them, and depression is far too common. Never have young people been more vulnerable and never has filling their hearts and minds with something meaningful been more important.

 

College and life’s challenges are stressful and an often-ignored element to help students deal with this stress is their faith. Over 80% of young people will leave their faith by the age of 23 and the fastest growing religious demographic in the United States are people who list their faith as ”unaffiliated”. The faith of our young people is the future of faith in this country.

 

FOCUS will provide one-on-one authentic friendships with real conversations with the students. FOCUS will be building community with face to face fellowship giving students the opportunity to grow, to serve, and to teach others while they share the message of Jesus Christ. FOCUS wins the hearts of college students, builds them in their faith, and sends them into the world to impact others.

 

The four missionaries that are coming to Rapid City are spending the month of July raising funds to help support their time here in Rapid City. Having four missionaries on campus requires a significant investment of $68,000. The Diocese and the Cathedral have committed $30,000 for one year; the Advisory Board to the Newman Center is helping with support; and we are asking for your help as well to guide our young people in lives of virtue and excellence in the name of Jesus Christ. Please give; the need has never been greater. As St. John Paul II said, “The greatest deception and the deepest source of unhappiness, is the illusion of finding life by excluding God.” Please help our young people find God.

NEWMAN CENTER HOURS (updated Mar 15, 2020)

Monday-Friday 11am-5pm

Find us: 316 East Kansas City Street, Rapid City SD 57701