The following article, written by Andrew Junker, was posted in
the September 6, 2007 issue of the Phoenix diocesan newspaper,
the Catholic Sun.
|Bishop Thomas Olmsted blessing the Pope Mobile.|
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college campus is accustomed to high-speed objects flying across its
grounds: students bicycling down the mall, professors hurrying to their
next class, a popemobile disseminating campus ministry information...
OK, so only
students at ASU Polytechnic in Mesa will experience that last
That’s because Legionary of Christ Father Michael Goodyear, chaplain of
ASU Polytechnic’s John Paul II Newman Center, recently outfitted his
SUV with pictures and messages of his office’s namesake.
[Thomas J.] Olmsted asked me to come to the Polytechnic
and initiate campus ministry, there was no history of anything
there,” Fr. Goodyear said.
“We didn’t have an office space, no
Newman Center. There was no list of Catholic students,” he
said. “We had nothing.”
Many of those challenges remain for Fr.
Goodyear, who is entering his second year as chaplain at
Arizona State University’s east campus.
He still has no office on
campus, but he did manage to procure one on wheels.
thought, ‘What can we do to get the word out
that we’re there and create a buzz on campus and
have a space?’” he said. “What’s in our grasp is
He drives his “popemobile” on campus and it serves
as advertisement for the Newman Center and as a mobile
“I’m trying to be as visible as possible,” the chaplain
Building from the ground up
Founding a Newman Center or a
parish in any circumstance is difficult, Fr. Goodyear said, but
the nature of ASU Polytechnic presents its own challenges.
Mesa campus has very few students who live on site.
Most are commuters who attend classes and leave. Fostering community
on campus has been difficult.
“Getting started is not easy. At
the beginning, it’s going to be slow, so I’ve tried
to encourage the students to work with it,” Fr. Goodyear
|Fr. Michael Goodyear stands outside his “popemobile” Aug. 15. The SUV serves as an advertisement and mobile office for the chaplain at ASU Polytechnic.|
“Bishop Olmsted has brought to mind in a couple of
his helpful, fatherly moments that this is the mustard seed,”
he said. “It’s going to take time.”
That’s why the popemobile
is so important. It gives the students something to rally
around, he said.
“We want to take it out hiking and,
in the tradition of John Paul II, kayaking, as he
would so often do with his students. We even have
visions of flipping the kayak upside down and celebrating Mass
on it like he did,” Fr. Goodyear said.
But the popemobile
reaches beyond the campus, too.
“It’s evangelization 24/7,” Fr. Goodyear said.
has gotten positive notice from drivers on the Loop 101
and in a Kinko’s parking lot. Catholics come up to
him and share how much the late pope meant to
The car also features oft-repeated messages of John Paul. “Do
not be afraid” and “God is with you” adorn the
Toyota FJ Cruiser’s doors.
“It might just be a reminder that
somebody needs on the freeway or in the streets or
parked at the grocery store,” Fr. Goodyear said.
This coming school
year, Fr. Goodyear hopes to build on last year’s successes,
like the Thanksgiving Mass and dinner he hosted for the
students and the outdoor Stations of the Cross on the
campus’s front lawn.
“This year we’re going to add an activity
called Newman at Noon. It’s a discussion on topics that
have something to do with Christianity, faith and morals,” he
said. “Just bring your lunch, bring your Bible and we
can have a discussion.”
Newman at Noon is going to be
student-led, which is important for campus ministry, Fr. Goodyear said.
He has worked with students for 13 years and has
found great things happen when he challenges students “concretely into
taking the Church and her mission into their hands.”
chaplain has found a few students ready to take on
Freshman Anthony Mancuso said he got involved in the
Newman Center because of the community it helps build.
so many ups and downs associated with college that it
is comforting to know that there is a community and
a God always there to support you no matter what
the situation is,” he said.
Rachel Knebelsberger, also a freshman, agreed.
when students go off to college, they are faced with
the decision of whether or not they want to continue
practicing their faith,” she said. “Campus ministry creates a community
of support for students and it also makes living a
life of faith fun.”
Fostering supportive friendships is the highest priority
for Fr. Goodyear.
“These are years for a lot of people
that determine how they’re going to live the rest of
their lives,” he said. “If they have good friends, they
do well. They thrive.”
And that’s something that can be accomplished
with or without office space. Though having a mobile office
dedicated to John Paul II certainly doesn’t hurt.
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Article reprinted with permission, copyright 2007 The
Catholic Sun, www.catholicsun.org.
To learn more about Fr. Michael
Goodyear and the John Paul II Newman Center at the
ASU Polytechnic in Phoenix, click here.