Newman University community members excitedly filled the pews of St. John’s Chapel on Thursday, Sept. 25, for the annual Mass of the Holy Spirit and Matriculation Ceremony.
Matriculation Mass is a fall Newman tradition to celebrate first-year students. It marks a passage from accepted student to a “bonified student of Newman University,” Sister Therese Wetta, ASC, director of mission effectiveness, said.
“The Mass is the biggest prayer of the Catholic Church,” Emily Simon, assistant director of Campus Ministry explained. “Thus, when we have a big event, we pray a Mass, thanking God and asking for his blessing. Of course, welcoming a new class and the start of a new academic year at Newman University is the opportune moment to come together as a community in prayer.”
A special Mass of the Holy Spirit
Newman was honored to welcome Most Rev. Carl A. Kemme, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Wichita, who offered the Mass alongside celebrants Rev. Adam Grelinger, Rev. Joseph Gile, Rev. Chad Arnold, Rev. Michael Simone and Rev. Jeff Jacobs. Rev. Jacob Carlin served as the master of ceremonies.
First-year student Abigail Klausmeyer presented the first reading of the Acts of the Apostles in English, and first-year student Isabella Torres presented the second reading of the Corinthians in Spanish.
In his homily, Bishop Kemme reminded all of the power and importance of prayer.
“Begin all things in prayer,” he said. “St. Paul would say, ‘Pray without ceasing.’ Without prayer, we will soon lose our way. We will grow tired and weak and perhaps even give up on our journey. But with prayer, we receive power from above, an energy that is divine. An inspiration to do what we on our own cannot do.”
“Let us go forth then, to begin this new year, and know that you are in my prayers so that this year you will discover more and more of the truth, beauty and goodness of God himself,” Bishop Kemme added.
The Newman Troubadours were directed by Music Director Deanne Zogleman and accompanied by Carole Pracht. Throughout the Mass, the Troubadours led the hymns “Sing a New Church” and “There is One Lord.”
In her presentation of the incoming class, Georgia Drewes, associate director of admissions, noted that the students come from 24 different states and 15 foreign countries.
“Faculty, staff and continuing Newman students, this class comes to us after achieving high levels of academic distinction in their previous studies and includes students who have demonstrated excellence not only in academics but also in leadership, community service, fine and performing arts and athletics,” Drewes said.
The commonality, she continued, “is that these students have selected Newman as the place to fulfill their dreams.”
Alden Stout, vice president of academic affairs, officially welcomed the class into the academic community of Newman University.
“Students, you are launching an exciting phase in your educational pursuits,” Stout said. “It is our belief that with the grace of God, and empowered with distinctive knowledge, skills and values, you can transform the world for a better place.”
All members of the Newman community rose from their seats, and collectively recited the Newman Code:
“As a member of the Newman community, I pledge to live in the spirit of critical consciousness by respecting the dignity of every person, honoring both personal and institutional integrity, and striving to embrace all humanity.”
Celebrating the entering class of 2026
“My fellow students and I come to you from a variety of faith communities,” Gaytan said. “We are urban, we are rural, we are local, regional, national and international. We come with enthusiasm, hope and anticipation. We come to learn and grow.”
Gaytan challenged the class to commit to honesty, academic integrity and sharing ideas openly.
“We will always strive to respect the rights and dignity of others,” she said. “We are happy to be part of the Newman academic community.”
President Kathleen Jagger gave her concluding remarks to the Newman community and thanked Bishop Kemme and all visiting priests for being a part of the 2022 Matriculation Mass.
“Coming to college can kind of be like hitting the reset button on who you are and who you want to be,” Jagger explained to the incoming class. “By your mere presence here, you’ve set yourself apart, declaring that you have the persistence and grit to do what it takes to succeed.”
She shared her hopes that students will continue to strive for excellence, leaning on God’s guidance to help them through the challenging and rewarding journey to come.
“Possibly the most important piece I could echo from Bishop Kemme’s homily is to put God at the center of all your ambition,” Jagger said. “Let him light your path. This can only come if you make time, sit in silence and listen to him.”
Jagger invited the students to use St. John’s Chapel as a place for personal worship, reflection and peace — regardless of what faith they practice.
“I will be praying for each of you as you begin your college experience in meaningful ways,” she added. “Don’t forget to have fun. Invest in one another, care for one another, affirm one another.”
Jagger ended her remarks with the invocation of university namesake Saint John Henry Newman and Saint Maria De Mattias, foundress of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ, sponsors of Newman University.