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Newman Center: Engaging the Students of San Jose State University



By Liz Sullivan

The Newman Center is in the midst of a revival. Located across the street from the San Jose State University campus, and the run by the Diocese of San Jose, it is the home of the school’s Catholic Campus Ministry.

As a sign of the Diocese of San Jose’s commitment to engaging the catholic students at the university, a full-time administrator was recently hired: Mary Gandeza. Gandeza is the Associate Director for Youth and Young Adults, with a focus on the Newman Center. A resident of San Jose, Gandeza is a parishioner of St. Lawrence and Our Lady of Peace.

“I am blessed and grateful to be working at the Newman Center, said Gandeza.  “We have wonderful students who are on fire for their faith which is inspiring and humbling. God has given me the great opportunity to walk alongside these young adults who desire to deepen their love of God through the sacraments, companionship, fellowship and fun.”

The Newman Center, which used to just be called the Catholic Campus Ministry, had a strong presence in the university’s community with a full-time Chaplain, administrator and staff. However, problems with the ministry caused it to shutdown during the 2007-08 school year.

When Steve Do took over as the Diocese’s Director of Youth and Young Adults in 2010 he made it part of his mission to revive the ministry. Armed with a new name – the Newman Center opened in the fall of 2010.

Now the center is opened seven days a week and Father Joe Kim, the Diocese’s Director of Vocations and Evangelization, spends one day a week at the center and says Mass on Sunday nights.

“We are trying to make the center more accessible to the students,” said Do. “It is a huge relief to have Mary there. We know we can be present to them and it now has some leadership and guidance. Mary has the experience in campus ministry and she has a strong desire to serve. It is a very exciting time. There is more direction and more interest and that’s great.”