Journalist Peter Jesserer Smith reports at the National Catholic Register that a trend in Catholic student housing at public universities can help Catholics retain their faith during their college years:
Catholics have broken ground on three large-scale student housing projects at public universities, reports Smith, based upon the idea of Blessed John Henry Newman that Catholics should live and learn together in community at secular universities, where the majority of Catholics attend post-secondary school.
Faith-based housing at Texas A &M and Florida Institute of Technology are being modeled after Catholic housing at other universities.
“If we could build large-scale housing for our Catholic students at public universities, we would see a transformed Church,” Msgr. Gregory Ketcham, chaplain at St. John’s Catholic Newman Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, told the Register.
Smith writes about Ryan Mattingly, a 2012 graduate and seminarian for the Diocese of Peoria, Ill., who lived in Newman Hall:
“I started living out my Catholic faith for the first time in my life, really,” Mattingly said. Friendships and the welcoming environment of Newman Hall inspired him to rediscover the faith, sacraments and prayer and give up a party lifestyle. “It gave substance to my faith — just living out the faith in an everyday manner at a large, secular university, where the faith isn’t that encouraged.”
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