So the UNL Newman Center is being torn down which means some of us are feeling like a flock of sheep without a shepherd…no, that analogy doesn’t work…a flock of sheep without a stable. I’m sure sheep don’t need stables, give me a break I grew up in Wisconsin.
Bad analogies aside, we feel weird and maybe a little dispersed. Our temporary building works well enough, it’s a bit cramped and not designed for Catholic liturgies (i.e., no kneelers, also does everyone agree that the pews are super close together?).
But, the weirdest part is having Sunday Mass in the Centennial Ballroom at the Union. I’ve heard whining and moaning about it, but I’m going to give you 3 reasons why it’s actually super awesome.
1. JESUS is LITERALLY in the Union
During Mass the priest literally brings Jesus Christ (Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity) into a public university building. We talk about bringing Christ to campus in our hearts and actions, which is super important, but think of how much more powerful it is that Jesus is physically present four separate times on Sundays. Think of all the other things that happen in the Centennial Room (meetings of some kind I’m sure) and how that room is now saturated with Jesus in a very physical way.
2. That room is ugly, Praise God.
We were pretty spoiled with our Newman Center. The blue stained glass, that majestic painting behind the tabernacle, the fact that we had a tabernacle and a crucifix (check out this cool 3D tour!) and now we are in a big open room with no art, no color, no sanctuary, etc.
But I see it as an opportunity to realize how easy it is to get distracted in Mass and how we need to cling to Jesus because He is the reason why we are there. The art and structure help draw us back to Christ, but now we are left to beg the Holy Spirit to draw us closer to Him and recall what’s really happening…in the UNION of UNL. I mean, Pagan Life had a pagan ritual outside of the Union by the fountain, but I see that pagan ritual and raise it one Transubstantiation.
3. It’s like Purgatory.
Gosh, it stinks and it’s a change, and we hate change, but think of what’s to come! The new building will be totally worth all this hassle. And in the grand scheme of things, it isn’t even that big of a hassle. We are being stripped down to the bare bones of Mass and hopefully will grow in devotion to the Eucharist and then when the new building is done, we will be better prepared to fill it to capacity.
So we can totally handle this. I encourage the Newman community to keep attending Mass in the Union even though it’s ugly!
Have a great day!