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Newman Center bicycle race promotes evangelization on wheels in North Dakota
By: Tanya Watterud
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.- When it comes to evangelization, the Newman Centers in Fargo and Grand Forks put forth a lot of effort and cover a lot of ground. During a bicycle race last month, more than 500 people actively demonstrated their faith by riding 40 miles to raise awareness of the Newman Centers and their role in bringing the Catholic faith to others.

In addition to being a successful evangelization tool, the race generated more than $150,000 that will support the work of the North Dakota Newman Centers.

“The people were so generous,” Deacon Sam Pupino said from St. Thomas Aquinas Newman Center in Grand Forks. Their financial donations ensure that “we can do the evangelization that we need to do on these campuses.”

The stories of participants are as varied as they are. Some participants wore costumes. One participant stopped to fix other racers’ bicycles, lending them another bike so they could continue the race while he made repairs. One rider has ridden in all of the 25 races that have been held throughout the years. Two children in elementary school raised more than $150 each in pledges. A ninth grader raised $1,000.

The evangelization reached well beyond North Dakota’s borders. The parents of one student traveled from Illinois to participate, and took home with them information about how to coordinate bike races at their local Newman Center.

This annual visible and physical evangelization effort is also a friendly competition between the two Newman Centers. This year St. Thomas Aquinas Newman Center earned the trophy with 233 racers and more than $85,000 in donations. St. Paul’s Newman Center in Fargo had 283 racers and raised more than $72,000.

“A lot of positives came out of this,” Deacon Pupino said, “and the most important was everybody had fun.”

Printed with permission from New Earth, newspaper for the Diocese of Fargo, North Dakota.

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