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Student Faith Center dedicated

by on September 13, 2012 7:59 PM

STATE COLLEGE — After more than a decade of planning and two years of building construction, Sue Paterno gathered with Catholic leaders, friends, family and Penn State students on Saturday, Sept. 8 for the dedication of the Suzanne Pohland Paterno Catholic Student Faith Center.

Located at 113 E. Park Ave. in State College, the $6.5 million faith center will serve as a spiritual home for Penn State students, faculty and staff. Paterno said Penn Staters are encouraged to use the center as a space to join together in faith.

“This will be a great place,” she said.

Though weekend masses will still be held at the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center in order to accommodate the number of local Catholics who attend services, daily masses in the faith center’s Holy Family Chapel will help serve the 25 percent of the Penn State student population that is Catholic.

In addition to the chapel, the center also includes a Reconciliation Room, gathering and meeting rooms, a library and cafeteria, and a living space for the Benedictine priests who serve as staff members for the Catholic Campus Ministry at Penn State.

Beginning at 10 a.m., the holy blessing and building dedication was led by Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown Bishop Mark Bartchak.

Because the center serves as a shared effort between the Altoona-Johnstown diocese and the Benedictine community of Saint Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe, Bartchak was joined by Reverend Joseph Adamec, bishop emeritus of the Altoona-Johnstown diocese and Archabbot Douglas Nowicki, O.S.B.

All three men praised Paterno and her family for their fundraising efforts for the faith center.

Rev. Matthew Laffey, director of the Catholic Campus Ministry at Penn State, was also recognized for his large role in the creation of the center.

Bartchak also had the honor of delivering the center’s first homily, in which he compared the faith center to the old wedding adage ‘something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a silver sixpence in her shoe.’ Bartchak said that as he looked around the building and the State College community, he could easily find the old, new, borrowed, blue and silver sixpence.

“What is both old and new is the Catholic faith that has been handed down to us from the time of the apostles. . . what is borrowed are the Stations of the Cross that are here for Penn State students as they learn to walk along with Christ who always walks along with us. . .what about something blue? Penn State blue. It is a color of blue that expresses the identity of the Penn State family,” he said.

Bartchak went on to recognize that much more than a sixpence was put into the student faith center.

“As Bishop of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, I am most grateful to all who have contributed to this worthy cause and those who will contribute to the endowment that we need to establish in order for this place to be the spiritual home for our Penn State Catholic Student family that it is intended to be,” he said.

The community’s role in the fundraising efforts and spiritual devotion was not forgotten as Bartchak chose to end the homily by thanking those who helped make the catholic student faith center a reality.

“As I look around this magnificent place, I not only see you and all that you have done to get us to this day. I see the future, when this place comes alive as the spiritual home for our Penn State Catholic student family,” he said.

Sam is a correspondent for the Gazette.
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