“The spiritual state of the Newman Center is amazing. There is so much good happening there for so many,” Fr. Kyle Doustou, pastor of The Parish of the Resurrection of the Lord and priest at the Newman Center, told CNA on Aug. 27. The Newman Center is one of the churches in the parish’s cluster.
The physical state of the building, however, falls short of amazing. In addition to the structural problems inherent to a building dedicated in 1969, the center is “impossible to heat efficiently,” and is liturgically problematic as the building’s chapel is open to the rest of the Newman Center, Fr. Doustou said.
“With our new plans, the structure will be rebuilt to handle the Maine winters, reconfigured so that we have more space for all of our formation programs, and we will have a separate chapel with beautiful stained glass windows, statues, etc.,” Fr. Doustou explained.
In addition to Mass, adoration, and other sacraments, the Newman Center is a place to “pray, study, play, and serve,” and is the closest Catholic church to the University of Maine’s campus. Fr. Doustou told CNA that the renovations will be key in establishing the church’s identity and helping with the mission of evangelization.
According to the Diocese of Portland’s website, the planned renovations include a “quiet, beautiful narthex where one can transition into the presence of God;” different entrances for the chapel and for the main hall, a separate chapel “featuring a new sacristy, tabernacle, altar, ambo, and main crucifix,” a steeple with a bell, a Marian garden, and spaces for students to have meetings and foster community.
“The building is essential. We're right on College Avenue, right in the midst of all the frat houses, right in the the midst of all the traffic and energy,” Fr. Doustou said.