Celebrating 125 Years of Penn Newman

Serving the University of Pennsylvania since 1893

Our Mission

We are an apostolic Catholic community entrusted to Mary, working with the Penn university community to live a full Christian Life by generating spaces of prayer, encounter, reconciliation and service, from one heart to another.


History: Birth of the Newman Movement

Nothing would be done at all if one waited until one could do it so well that no one could find fault with it.
— Cardinal John Henry Newman

It was in 1893 that Timothy Harrington, a graduate medical student at the University of Pennsylvania, together with John J. Gilbride, James J. Walsh and his brother Joseph met with Father Garvey, pastor of St. James Parish, to explore ways of providing students with an ongoing enrichment of Catholic faith. The fruit of their work was the establishment of the Newman Club and eventually the Newman Apostolate, a recognized ministry within the Catholic Church. Newman Centers take their name from John Henry Cardinal Newman, the 19th century theologian whose insights placed theology at the heart of the university experience.

Penn Newman provides all Catholic students with the opportunity to:

– experience excellent liturgy, thereby enriching their life of faith;

– engage in spiritual formation;

– acquire theological education;

– attain archdiocesan certification (e.g. in liturgical ministries and as lay leaders).

Newman Centers are critical to the maintenance of values and integrity in the education of future leaders, especially in secular institutions. Leaders with integrity, compassion, and a strong ethical sensibility will always be in short supply and greatly needed and demanded. The Newman Center at the University of Pennsylvania has served, does serve, and will continue to serve as a training ground to nurture and cultivate such talent.