THE Newman Society at the University of Queensland has attracted 70 new members after its major membership drive at the university’s Market Day on February 27.
The society, named after Cardinal John Henry Newman, is the oldest club on campus, dating back to the 1920s.
The society concentrates on three main areas, spiritual, scholastic and social. This approach is used in the everyday activities of the society, which includes weekly meetings and Mass on campus.
Other activities include regular talks on spirituality and theology, two retreats a year and an annual ball.
Newman Society president Graham Beal said the weekly activities attracted many Catholics new to the university.
‘A large proportion are international students who are studying here,’ he said.
‘Being a new student at university is very challenging and having a group of fellow Catholics to meet and socialise with is a great help to those assimilating into university life, especially when some of them are in a foreign country for the first time.’
Graham said it was important for young people to be interested in religion, which wasn’t a popular concept at university.
‘So many students claim that they are post-religion,’ he said.
‘The challenge of evangelisation is all the more difficult with such mindsets, however, our society’s approach seems to be encouraging more interest in Catholicism as we have just started a Newman Society at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT).
‘This new chapter of the society has more than 30 members already, even though it’s only a few weeks old.’
The University of Queensland and QUT chapters will come together for activities throughout the year.
The society is also a member of the International Movement of Catholic Students Australia (IMCSA).
‘Even though we are all inspired by the number of active fellow Catholics, we feel compelled to tell other students about the Newman Society’s existence so that they might get as much out of it as we do,’ said Graham.
The society meets each Wednesday at 1pm at the Chaplaincy Centre on the University of Queensland’s St Lucia campus.
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