In 1928, one of the oldest student organizations on North Dakota State’s campus was born.
It persists, even though some studies estimate 80 percent of “cradle” Catholics in America leave the church by age 23.
Thirty-six North Dakota Agricultural College students formed the Catholic Students Club which later became Bison Catholic. Bison Catholic is the main student run organization in the Newman Center, located just southeast of campus off of 12th Avenue North.
The purpose of the Bison Catholic is to build upon the foundation of the New Evangelization and to advance the mission of St. Paul’s Newman Center through student leadership.
“Bison Catholic offers many opportunities to students on campus,” said senior Quinn Steffan, an animal science major. “The mission of the Newman Center is to provide students with the opportunity to know Jesus Christ.”
College students meet at mass every day. Mass times include 5:15 p.m. Monday and Wednesday, 9 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday and 12:10 p.m. Friday at 12:10 pm along with weekend masses which include 4:30 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday.
Following the 5 p.m. Sunday mass, the Newman Center offers supper for $1.
Bison Catholic campus missionaries offer student discipleship, bible studies, spiritual retreats, faith formation, praise and worship, keynote speakers and large-scale conferences.
“We help students to build virtue in their lives as well as leadership with context and prayer opportunities of peer ministry, student advisory board, mission trips, retreat experiences and music ministry,” Steffan said.
The Newman Center has many activities throughout the week including dances with lessons, Ultimate Frisbee, men’s night, women’s night and ample free food.
The Rev. James Cheney, the Newman Center’s priest, is also available for students to talk with and learn more about themselves and their relationship.
“We have Bible studies offered for students and many extra activities and programs within the organization,” said John Fischer, a sophomore in music.
Steffan added the Newman Center offers a quiet place to study as well as free popcorn and drinks.
“Being a part of Bison Catholic has given me the opportunity to grow in my faith while building friendships I would never regret,” she said.
“The community in general is my favorite part. It’s a very welcoming environment and I have met the majority of my friends there,” said Fischer. “It’s a great place to be to meet people with the same backgrounds and like mindedness. But you also meet many different characters from different majors.”
The best benefit of being a part of Bison Catholic is definitely the sense of community. It’s more of a family than an organization, Fischer added.