The Most Rev. Eugene J. Gerber, Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Wichita, recently visited the Newman University campus. During his stop, he took time to speak about the important role he believes Newman plays in educating individuals in the region.
Gerber describes Newman as a school of excellence that is fully Catholic and Christian, and has Christ as the center. He refers to the Newman community as a “Communion of people.”
Although he agrees with many that society is facing major challenges from today’s culture, Gerber has great hope for the future. Part of his hope is in Newman and its students, faculty and staff.
“The hope I have comes from this historical pattern that when a society declines there is always a remnant of people who remain faithful,” Gerber said. “And, the whole new growth takes place on the backs of those who remain faithful.
“Without a Newman University you don’t have an institution in the Church, in this state, in this community that is remaining faithful that can subsequently make life better in its recovery, and make even better than it was before,” Gerber explained.
Gerber has had a long connection with Newman and the Adorers of the Blood of Christ, the founders of the university. After his ordination in 1959, Gerber served as a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Wichita. In 1976, he was installed as the third bishop of the Diocese of Dodge City where his work brought him closer to the Adorers.
When Bishop Gerber returned to Wichita as bishop, he teamed with former Newman President and Professor Emerita (History) Tarcisia Roths, ASC for more than two decades on numerous projects to enhance Newman.
“Bishop Gerber is passionate about the need for a Catholic university in the diocese, and is unwavering in his support of Newman University,” Sister Tarcisia said.
His good works and dedicated leadership have brought Kansans of all faiths closer together. Bishop Gerber’s service and contributions extend well beyond Newman and the Catholic community. He helped create programs and build organizations that benefit people of all faiths such as the Center of Hope, the Lord’s Diner, the Guadalupe Clinic, Harbor House and more.
With all his work, he still thinks Newman has a special role for the region, calling the university a “light” and “salt.”
“I cannot conceive of Kansas or the Diocese (of Wichita) without Newman University because in its place would be a certain darkness – it would lose life that it gives to individuals and futures of the students,” Gerber said.
Click on the video below to watch a short portion of our interview with the Most Rev. Eugene J. Gerber, Bishop Emeritus.