What are Newman Centers?

Newman Centers are residence and Catholic ministry centers at non-Catholic universities throughout the world. These centers provide pastoral services and ministries to their Catholic communities, in particular to the Roman Catholic student population within universities throughout the world.

Newman Centers were named in honor of Cardinal John Henry Newman and were inspired by Newman’s writings. The first Newman Center was established in 1893 at the University of Pennsylvania.

St. John Henry Newman

Newman’s conversion to Catholicism in 1845 led to his ordination as a Catholic priest and so began his long association with the city of Birmingham, working among the Catholic poor.

He joined the Oratorian Order and founded the first English Oratory at Maryvale, near Oscott, now a teacher training college. The Oratory at Edgbaston near Five Ways was founded later in 1851.

John Henry Newman dedicated his life to education, at home in Birmingham and overseas, establishing today what is University College, Dublin, the largest university in Ireland.

He continued to write, expressing his ideas in both essays and poetry, which remain classics of Victorian literature.

His writings continue to influence the Catholic Church today and have been a source of inspiration to Pope Benedict XVI. It was an earlier Pope, Pope Leo XIII, who created John Henry Newman a cardinal of the Catholic Church in 1879, a great honour for an ordinary priest. It was a final recognition of a remarkable life, a life in pursuit of understanding, a life of service to others, a life shared amongst the people of  Birmingham.