St. Thomas More Newman Center

In the early 2000's this was the official site for the St. Thomas More Newman Center.
Content is from the site's 2002 - 2004 archived pages providing just a glimpse of what this site offered its parishioners and the community of Ohio State University.

The current website for the St. Thomas More Newman Center is found at :

St. Thomas More
Newman Center
64 W. Lane Ave.
Columbus OH 43201
Phone: 614-291-4674

"For us Christians, Jesus Christ is the perfectly fulfilled human being. In him, we see the depth of our potential and sublime character of our call. He blazed a trail, and if we follow it, life and death are made holy and take on a new meaning. The Spirit of Jesus, poured out through his death and resurrection, energizes us for the task of developing our potential. Stay open to the Spirit, who accomplishes surprising things in us (Jn 3:8)." (85)


Our Mission Statement


Inspired by the Gospel of Jesus, the St. Thomas More Newman Center is home to the Roman Catholic Community at The Ohio State University. We extend our hospitality to OSU students, faculty and staff as well as to Catholics and other Christians throughout the Columbus metropolitan area. We are a community through baptism which gathers around the Word and the Eucharist to experience life, nourishment, challenge and encouragement to become what we receive - the Body of Christ. We are a community growing in ministry through the experience of healing and reconciliation, with ourselves, with one another, with a wounded world, and with God. We are a community committed to the development of an adult faith life by nurturing the linkage between the intellectual, emotional and spiritual growth through all of life's stages. We pray that our lives may be transformed by the power of this Gospel and be a channel for God's love in the world.

(Composed in consultation with the Newman Community and adopted March, 1989 by the Newman Community Council.)

Six Goals of Campus Ministry

"Empowered by the Spirit" - A Pastoral Letter on Campus Ministry - National Conference of Catholic Bishops

1. Forming the Faith Community

"This aspect of campus ministry is worthy of vigorous and creative efforts so that the Catholic community can be an authentic sign and instrument of the Kingdom on campus." (44)

2. Appropriating the Faith

"The goal is an adult appropriation of the faith that fosters personal commitment to Christ and encourages intelligent witness in the world on behalf of the Gospel." (57)

3. Forming the Christian Conscience

"A conscience that remembers its source and is nourished and supported by the community of faith is the best resource for dealing with the complex questions of personal values and ethics." (65)

4. Educating for Justice

"Campus ministry is called to be a consistent and vigorous advocate for justice, peace, and the reverence for all life. All the baptized should understand that action on behalf of justice is a significant criterion of the Church's fidelity to its missions." (73)

5. Facilitating Personal Development

"Christians must proclaim an ideal of self-fulfillment that is solidly rooted in the sacredness of persons, is placed in the service of the common good, and stays open to the God who is the source of all growth." (87)

6. Developing Leaders for the Future

"Campus ministry has the great opportunity to tap the immense pool of talent in our colleges and universities and to help form future leaders for society and the Church." (93)


Masses at the Newman Center

Information on Masses at the Newman Center.

Everyone is welcome to worship with us at the Newman Center! Although the focus of our ministry is the Ohio State University's students, faculty, and staff, we are blessed to have many people and families in our congregation who support and participate in our mission. Our liturgies are contemporary, lively, and participatory. Firmly based in our Catholic tradition, we place great emphasis on excellent music, accessible preaching, and a spirit of welcome that calls all of us deeper into the mystery of God's love.

Our Mass Schedule

Sunday Masses
5:30 p.m. *

10 a.m.
6 p.m.
9 p.m.
* In order to make our Saturday Mass available for community members, friends and visitors, the following will be in effect this fall:
When the kick-off for a home OSU football game is at noon or 8 p.m., the Saturday Mass will begin at 5:30 p.m.
When the kick-off for a home OSU football game is at 3:30 p.m., the Saturday Mass will begin at 8 p.m.
Daily Mass is celebrated in our Chapel, which is located next to the Lane Avenue entrance, Monday through Friday at 5:30pm., when the Newman Center is open.
On Wednesdays there is a Mass at 12:30pm at the Ohio State University Medical Center, 5th Floor Rhodes Hall.
Holy Days of Obligation
In the Catholic Church's calendar, these days are considered important enough that we are obliged to attend Mass on that day:
  • January 1 - the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God (see special schedule)
  • The Ascension of the Lord - 40 days after Easter; in the Diocese of Columbus this feast takes the place of the Seventh Sunday of Easter
  • August 15 - the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (no obligation in 2009)
  • November 1 - the Solemnity of All Saints
  • December 8 - the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
  • December 25 - the Nativity of the Lord/Christmas (see special schedule)
Mass on these Holy Days (except for Christmas) will usually be celebrated the evening before at 5:30pm and on the day at 12:30pm and 5:30pm. There may be exceptions to this schedule; please check the current Sunday Bulletin for up-to-date information.



Introduction to Ministries

There are lots of ways to get involved with ministries at the Newman Center. Whether you're looking for a regularly-scheduled way to serve the poor, the homeless, and the hungry, or just wanting to try something new, we have ways to share your faith, serve the community, and develop some new skills.

Introduction to Liturgical Ministries

The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium) presents several descriptions as to the activities of liturgy, though not a strict definition. Liturgy "does not exhaust the entire activity of the Church" (S.C., 9) but is "the summit towards which the activity of the Church is directed; at the same time it is the font from which all her power flows (S.C., 10). … It is very much the wish of the Church that all the faithful should be led to take that full, conscious and active part in liturgical celebrations which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy, and to which the Christian people …have a right and to which they are bound by reason of their Baptism (S.C., 14)." Thus liturgy, which is comprised of public, communal, ritual activities, must be seen and distinguished as different from personal, private prayer and other pious exercises.

Along with "full, conscious and active" participation as members of the Sunday assembly, we invite your participation in these ministerial opportunities which enhance our liturgical celebrations.


Liturgy & Sacraments

The Development of the Liturgy

Our popular usage of the word "Mass" for our celebration of the Lord's Supper comes from the Latin word "missa", which is the word for the blessing used at the dismissal of the Eucharist. The word eucharist, derived from the Greek word that means 'thanksgiving'. It has been used, for centuries, as the common name for the Mass or Lord's Supper because Jesus himself gave thanks at the Last Supper. The historical roots of the Eucharist can be found in the meals that Jesus ate with his followers and other people of his time. These meals served as a symbol of peace, trust and community. After the Resurrection, the Apostles continued the tradition of a meal together. These meals were not just friends gathering to eat together; they were seen and celebrated in the light of the Resurrection, with the memory of the Last Supper and the assurance that Christ was with them as he promised. This memory is not just the human capacity for recalling a previous experience, it is an act of remembrance (anamnesis) or making what Jesus did present to us again. As Saint Paul wrote, "For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you … For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes." (1Corinthians 11:23-26) Thus, our celebration of the Eucharist is not only an act of thanksgiving, fellowship and communion with those who are gathered with us; it is done "through Christ, with Christ and in Christ" for we proclaim the death of the Lord, until he returns in the fullness of his kingdom.
Daily Mass was not the rule in the early centuries of the Church. All Christians gathered on Sunday, the day on which the Resurrection took place, to celebrate the Eucharist. Since it was no longer a meal, the meal aspect of the Eucharist had disappeared during the second and third centuries, the Eucharist took place in the morning before work; Sunday was just another workday. The service consisted of parts of the synagogue service (remember, the early Christians were Jews first and brought their worship traditions with them), as well as readings from the accounts of the Apostles or the prophets. The president or leader of the assembly offered a sermon. Prayers for the general needs of the community followed. Gifts of bread and wine, which would be used in the Eucharist, as well as food for the poor and needy were brought forward; quite often right from the fields, thus the necessity for the president (presider) to wash his hands.

The conversion of the Emperor Constantine, in 312 A.D., allowed Christians to be more public in their worship as Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire. The Eucharist was no longer celebrated in small groups or in homes (the upper room), but in larger groups in buildings whose style was influenced by the architecture of the government. The style of the celebration shifted from simple to more involved. Since missionaries were now able to spread the Gospel without fear of official reprisal, other cultures soon became Christian. Eventually their cultural influence and diversity began to affect the style of the Eucharist. Processions, readings from Scripture, responses to the readings, and the profession of the Nicene Creed came to be added to the core original celebration. During the Carolingian Empire (late 8th to early 10th century) the congregation shifted from being an active participant in the Eucharistic Prayer to a passive spectator as the Eucharistic Prayer came to be said silently by the priest. In the 13th century the elevation of the host and the chalice after the consecration allowed the congregation to "see" and thus adore the sacrament. Reception of Holy Communion by members of the congregation declined and by the 17th century reception of Holy Communion by the laity was extremely infrequent. (Some of this was due to the heresy, Jansenism, which stressed moral austerity, the evil of the human body and human desires, a restrictive concept of grace and a scrupulous approach to the reception of the sacraments.) Private Masses, without a congregation developed around the 6th century. They were often celebrated for the special intention of a donor who offered monetary support for the upkeep of the Church. They became so frequent that the private Mass of the priest came to be seen as the norm; the community aspect of the Eucharist had diminished.

This style of liturgy allowed, even encouraged, people to follow along in their personal missal because the ritual language, Latin, was a language that people did not understand, much less speak, so the altar boy/server responded on the people's behalf while the priest "said his Mass". Some people would say their own private personal prayers during Mass because this was seen as the time to pray since an unknown language combined with ritual actions that were, for the most part, hidden by the priest's body (his back was to the congregation for most of the Mass) reinforced the private spirituality of the priest. When needed, bells were rung to inform the congregation that something important was happening. Thus it was a logical development that people thought in terms of "what part of Mass is the most important" and began asking questions like "when am I considered late" or "have I missed Mass" or "when can I leave" and acted accordingly.

The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium) published on December 4, 1963, presents liturgy as a dynamic event. Since then the Catholic Church has been working to renew its liturgical celebrations -the sacraments, as well as the Eucharistic liturgy. These changes have been major and minor and are ongoing. The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy tells us that liturgy "does not exhaust the entire activity of the Church" (S.C., 9), but is "the summit towards which the activity of the Church is directed; at the same time it is the font from which all her power flows. (S.C., 10) … It is very much the wish of the Church that all the faithful should be led to take that full, conscious and active part in liturgical celebrations which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy, and to which the Christian people …have a right and to which they are bound by reason of their Baptism (S.C., 14)."

Key principles of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy are:
1. The heart of the liturgy is the celebration of the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ - his life, death and resurrection by which we are redeemed. The "theme" of every Mass is the Paschal Mystery and throughout the year the liturgy of the Church reflects on various aspects of the Paschal Mystery. (S.C. 7, 102, 106)
2. Every liturgical action is an action of Christ together with his body, the Church. No other type of prayer or devotion can equal this sacred action. (S.C., 7)
3. In the liturgy, which includes the Mass, the Sacraments, and the Liturgy of the Hours, Christ is present in many ways -in the person of the minister, in the Holy Eucharist broken and shared, in the Word of God proclaimed, and in the assembled people of God who pray and sing together. (S.C. 7)
4. The liturgy is made up of both immutable (unchangeable) elements, divinely instituted, and of elements subject to change. These not only may, but also ought to be changed with the passage of time if they no longer express the holy things they signify. (S.C. 21)

Thus liturgy, which is comprised of public, communal, ritual activities, must be seen and distinguished as different from personal, private prayer and other pious exercises. The Eucharist, the Mass, is no longer the "priest's Mass" or a time for a person to be in personal prayer, a "me and Jesus" time. Members of the assembly or congregation are no longer passive spectators, for we are called to be active, conscious participants. When Catholics gather for liturgy, we may gather/come to Church as individuals, but we are a community of faith/an assembly of like believers, who, based on our Baptism are called to pray/to worship together, not independently.

Father Chuck Cunniff, CSP
Saint Thomas More Newman Center
The Ohio State University



Silence, Acclamations, Singing

Silence offers us the possibility of hearing something that may be important or critical to our being that may be lost in the everyday background noise of life. "The quieter you become the more you hear" is a contemporary proverb. Our everyday lives are full of sounds: some joyful, some hurtful; some of benefit and some are just noise. The Church recognizes that silence needs to be part of our liturgy, our prayer together. Like Elijah it is often in the silence that we hear God's voice. (see 1Kings 19:12) With silence interspersed throughout the liturgy, one is able to hear within one's being.
  • The assembly is invited to silence only five times during the Eucharistic liturgy:
  • At the beginning of the act of penitence - a time to call to mind our sins and to reflect on our need for repentance.
  • When the priest says, "Let us pray…" - an invitation for each individual present to collect themselves and to recognize that all are in the presence of God and to call to mind their own prayer.
  • After each Scripture reading - time for the Scripture to resonate within one's being.
  • After the homily - moments of quiet reflection on what was just heard.
  • After all have received Holy Communion - having received the Body and Blood of Christ and shown our union with one another as members of the Body of Christ via our singing together, the assembly is given time, as individuals, for private prayer of thanksgiving and praise to God.
Another place where silence is appropriate is during the general intercessions or "prayers of the faithful". Silent pauses, during these prayers, allow the assembly to offer, in quiet, their own prayer or name that coincides with a particular intention. Silence is also an appropriate response to the general intercession.

Many think that the silence of the monastery is the norm for the Church. Complete silence in a parish church during the gathering of the community prior to the start of the Eucharistic liturgy should not be expected, for the gathering of the community is an important aspect of liturgy. Most parishes will encourage a time of silence immediately prior to the beginning of the liturgy. This allows everyone (presider, ministers, as well as the assembly) to gather himself or herself and prepare to celebrate the Eucharist.

Acclamations are the opposite of silence. Acclamations are shouts of joy, often sung, that the assembly exclaims. The Gospel Acclamation/ Alleluia, the Sanctus/Holy, Holy, the Memorial Acclamation and the Amen that brings the Eucharistic Prayer to a close are the most notable. Responses and dialogues usually happen hand-in-hand. The priest or deacon makes a statement to which the assembly replies. The classic and most familiar dialog is: "The Lord be with you. And also with you." The purpose of acclamations and responses/dialogues are to facilitate participation and to involve the assembly, not just as individuals but to get them to realize that they are praying together.

Singing is not new to the Church. It began with the followers of Jesus singing psalms and hymns when they gathered in the early days of the Church. It has continued over the centuries. While there was a time prior to the Second Vatican Council when the assembly did not sing, this was an aberration over the history of the Church. Words, instruments, tunes and melodies have changed over history, but the Church continues to sing. Singing reaches beyond the individual, it is communal in nature and should not be seen as only for the professionally trained or those in the music ministry. All are encouraged to sing because singing makes us part of a communal prayer that is larger than oneself and is as ancient as the Church.

The revised General Instruction encourages and emphasizes the importance of singing. There are parts of the liturgy that just call out to be sung: the Gospel Acclamation and the Acclamations of the Eucharistic Prayer (Sanctus/Holy Holy, Memorial Acclamation, and Great Amen) emphasize the importance of these parts of the liturgy. The Gathering Song and the Communion Song allow the assembly to join their voices in song and to experience their union with one another and with God. The Gathering Song does just that; it gathers the people into becoming a community. The Communion Song expresses unity with Christ and one another. The Responsorial Psalm offers a response to the Word of God having just been proclaimed. Other venues of song confirm and support these key elements of liturgy.

Fr. Chuck Cunniff, CSP
Saint Thomas More Newman Center
The Ohio State University




Adult Education


Resolving to do something new in 2004?  How about tapping into your creative energy to add fullness and balance to your life?  The Artist Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity is a 12-week course designed to help you discover or recover your creativity as a part of your spiritual journey.  It will be offered in a supportive group setting on Tuesday evenings. There is no fee except you will need to purchase the book "The Artist Way" by Julia Cameron (available at Barnes & Noble).  If you are interested in participating or want to learn more, plan to com to the initial introductory session on Tuesday, May 18 at 7:00 pm.

with Rick DiCarlo

Wednesday evenings, 7:00 PM

Introductory Session - May 18, 2004 at 7:00 PM


This year's chapter of "Our Story, Our Song," will be held on Thursday, May 27 at 7 pm and will begin our multi-event farewell to Fr. Dave O'Brien, culminating in an evening celebration on August 28.  In honor of Fr. Dave, this year's sing-along has been renamed "Dave's Top 10" and will feature ten songs chosen by Fr. Dave along with presentation by our Drama Ministry and stories about Dave's time here in Columbus.  We invite you to submit stories, humorous or otherwise, to be considered for sharing during the sing-along.  Stories can be given to Eric Utsler or submitted by e-mail to 

THURSDAY, MAY 27 at 7:00 PM


"The Multi-Cultural Face of the Catholic Church in the United States"

with Fr. Gil Martinez, CSP

Monday, January 26, 2004

   8:00 PM 


With Fr. Dave O'Brien, CSP

Monday evenings at 7:30 PM

June 28, July 5 & 12, 2004 

with Fr. Vinny McKiernan

A time to learn about this ancient form of prayer that enables us to dwell intentionally in the mystery of God with resulting spiritual, physical and emotional benefits.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

  12 Noon & 7:30 pm


Sundays, "Break Open the Word" at 6:00pm Mass, and class from 4:30 pm to 6:00 pm

Adult Confirmation Class

Students are invited to prepare for the Sacrament of Confirmation. Classes run for seven weeks. Contact Mary Ellen Thomas at the Center.

"Newman South" On-campus Bible Study

Get comfortable with our Book and see how it  it can speak to your life. 
Tuesdays at 7:00 pm at the Ohio Union.  Contact Mary Ellen Thomas at the Center.

Newman Student Community Night -- Wednesday Night, 9pm 

Every Wednesday, 9:00pm in the upper lounge, students gather to meet new people and discuss issues that are important to their faith, while having a lot of fun! Great people, great discussions, great faith, and refreshments. All students are welcome! Come early at 8:30pm for socializing and "Glory and Praise". Contact Fr. Mark Villano at the Center.

20 and 30 Something Group

Young Adult Catholics meet for fun, friendship and fellowship. An opportunity to grow spiritually, to socialize with other young adults, and to serve the community through social action projects. Tuesdays 8:00pm in the upper lounge. Contact Fr. Dave at the Center.

Common Ground

A group promoting education and reconciliation meets with Fr. Dave monthly.

Religious Education of Youth

To register for any of these classes or for more information, call Eileen Butler at the Center (291-4674).

Home-Based Family (Religious Education) 

Meets monthly at the Newman Center.

Children's Kindergarten to 8th Grade

Meets on Monday evenings 6:30pm to 7:30pm.

High School Group (For grades 9 through 12)

This group meets on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of each month from 7:30pm to 9:15pm in the lounge. Come join the group for hot topics and for activities such as putt-putting, camping and skiing.


Pastoral Team

  • Fr. David O'Brien, C.S.P. (Director) 
  • Fr. Dave, a native of West Hartford, Ct., has been involved in campus ministry for over 25 years. He has been Director of the Newman Center since 1995. Here he works mainly with the Pre-Cana program, young adult group, and the Pastoral Council.
  • Fr. Vincent McKiernan, C.S.P. 
  • Fr. Vinny is in his 10th year on the Newman Center staff. A native of New York City, he has ministered in Baltimore, Boston, New York and New Jersey as well as in Reno, Nevada. He received his Masters in Greek and Latin and taught these subjects at the Paulist College Seminary. At Newman he teaches Centering Prayer and does Spiritual Direction and Counseling. He is very interested in working with International Students. He is fond of word processing, also know as punning! 
  • Deacon Phil Rzewnicki 
  • Phil has been a permanent deacon since 1985. He moved to the Columbus diocese in August, 1997 as an employee in agricultural science at Ohio State University. He and his wife, Anna, serve in a variety of ministries at the Newman Center. Phil particularly is involved with social justice activities. He is also a member of the Baptism preparation team and leads Wednesday prayer services. He provides special program assistance to the rest of the staff at Newman to ensure worship-filled liturgies, a prayerful community, and education to advance the faith. 
  • Fr. Lawrence Rice, C.S.P. 
  • Mr. Eric Utsler 
  • Eric has served as Newman Center's Music Minister/Pastoral Associate since 1995.  Born in Indiana, he received degrees from Indiana State University and Bowling Green State University, and assisted music ministries in Terre Haute Indiana, Boston and Salem Massachusetts and Fort Wright Kentucky before his arrival in Columbus.  Eric can be heard on Ricky Manalo's recording "Beyond the Days", available from Oregon Catholic Press
  • Ms. Mary Ellen Thomas
  • Edward Koharchik, C.S.P. - Paulist Intern
  • Ms. Eileen Butler - Religious Education Coordinator 

Administrative Staff

  • Ms. Cheryl Hoon - Business Manager 
  • Mr. Drew Muehlenbruch - Building Manager 
  • Ms. Suzana Silva - Secretary 

Newman Community Council

  • Carla Pestana - President 
  • Joe Poelking - Vice President 
  • Karla Gengler-Nowak - Secretary 

Catholic Student Coordinators

  • Nick Wahrer
  • Monica Baumann 
  • Angie Byrne 
  • Kim Koch
  • Pam Seger 
  • Nathan Cline