St. Francis of Assisi Parish and Newman Center at Ball State in Muncie will celebrate its 50th anniversary on Oct. 15. Founding Pastor Father James Bates, along with then-Bishop Raymond Gallagher, dedicated the parish and Newman Center in 1972, which grew out of the Newman Apostolate at Ball State, at 1200 W Riverside Avenue, where it still resides today and has served thousands of Ball State Alumni. The parish, now part of the Muncie Catholic Pastorate, currently serves more than 400 families, Ball State faculty and staff, and the more than 2,000 Catholic students of Ball State University. St. Francis will celebrate the milestone with a Mass of Thanksgiving and the long-standing tradition of an Oktoberfest on Saturday, Oct. 15 at 4:30 p.m.
The feast day of St. Francis of Assisi on Oct. 4 will kick off the festivities with Mass at 5:30 p.m., followed by a dessert pitch-in, and the annual Blessing of the Animals in the courtyard of the Newman House. The Mass of Thanksgiving on Saturday, Oct. 15 at 4:30 p.m. will be concelebrated by current Pastor, Father Eric Underwood, and former Pastor, Father John Kiefer, along with other priests who have served at St. Francis through the years. The Oktoberfest will feature a traditional German dinner, live, music, games, and more.
The Newman Center on Ball State’s campus has served the spiritual needs of thousands of Catholic students through its 50-year history. Now it is gearing up to serve the third generation of students. There are multiple opportunities for Ball State students to stay connected with their faith through Cardinal Catholic. FOCUS missionaries maintain a presence at St. Francis of Assisi, offering opportunities for spiritual growth through weekly events and retreats.
In addition to the Mass and festival, the history of St. Francis will be celebrated with a display of historical photos, a series of bulletin articles about the history of the parish, commemorative logo on shirts and other merchandise. Most importantly, organizers look to showcase past students who discovered their vocations through involvement at the Newman Center, both through priestly and religious life as well as the vocation of marriage. Past alumni are welcome to submit photos and stories of how their lives have been impacted during their time at St. Francis of Assisi by emailing Tara Edmondson at [email protected]. Tickets for the event may be purchased at stfrancisnewman.org.
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