LINCOLN (SNR/NC) - Bells that will sound throughout campus and downtown Lincoln were blessed by Bishop James Conley and installed in the newly constructed bell tower at the Newman Center – St. Thomas Aquinas Church at 16th & Q streets in Lincoln June 5.
The four newly-cast bronze bells, named St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke and St. John. The 80%-copper, free-swinging bells have a combined weight of 1,900 lbs. and should be heard up to 2 miles away.
Those in attendance also signed the church’s final steel beam before it was hoisted into place.
Construction of the new, 650-seat St. Thomas Aquinas Church will be completed in the spring of 2015. Construction of St. Thomas Aquinas Church is the second phase of a comprehensive expansion effort by the UNL Newman Center. The first phase included the construction of a 68-bed Phi Kappa Theta Catholic fraternity house at 17th and Q streets, which was completed for the 2013-14 academic year. The new 30,000-square-foot Newman Center will provide increased ministry space, social hall, offices and enhanced student technology services. A final phase of the Newman Center’s expansion efforts will include the construction of a Catholic sorority house.
Donors from across Nebraska and around the country have committed $16.8 million toward the Newman Center’s “A Great Problem to Have!” capital campaign thus far. A $25 million capital campaign was launched in July 2010 to fund the expansion efforts and will continue throughout construction.
The Newman Center has served the spiritual needs of college students at UNL since 1906, becoming a “home away from home” for generations of students. The unprecedented growth of student participation in liturgies and ministries over the past 15 years is partially attributed to the FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) program at the Newman Center since 1999. The Newman Center currently holds nearly 100 FOCUS Bible studies each week.