The Newman Center

514 C St.
(Corner of 5th & C)
Sunday Mass Time
During the Schoolyear:
9pm @ St. James Parish
Office Hours
M-TH 12noon-4:00pm
(530) 753-7393

The UCD Newman Center is a spiritual organization that ministers to the Catholic community at UCDavis. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has established chaplaincies called Newman Centers, named in his honor, to care for the spiritual needs of those engaged in university life (students, faculty, & staff) and to serve as a Catholic presence in the university environment. Newman Centers can be found at most large public universities across the United States. Nearby you can find the Tom Anderson Memorial Grounds.


During its 43-year history, the Newman Center has developed its staff and programs to offer the UC Davis community members a full range of services and activities to foster personal development and spiritual growth. These include: scripture and bible studies, counseling, spiritual direction, Sunday & several other liturgies, quarterly retreats, social activities, social justice projects, discussions & lectures, library facilities & resources, sacramental preparation, and campus outreach.

Weekly Activities

During the Schoolyear:

Student Mass
9pm, St. James Church
Men's and Women's Group
7pm Newman Hall
Faith Formation
7pm, Newman Hall
On-Campus Mass
3pm, UC Davis
Grad Group
6:30pm, Newman Hall
Newman Night
7:00pm, Newman Hall
Newman Choir Practice

Monthly Activities

Community Service
Social Events

Other Activities

During Winter break, students participate in the Tijuana Housebuilding Project, where they work with Esperanza International to build houses in Tijuana, Mexico. The Center sponsors several lecture opportunities given by prestigious academics & religious scholars who speak on issues pertinent to Catholics. Every year, several students travel to Southern California to attend sessions at the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress. The Newman staff also organizes a religious retreat each quarter, which all students can attend. During Final Exam weeks, the Newman Center hosts Hospitality Days where students are welcome to partake in complementary meals and study in the Center's library. In coordination with St. James, the Newman Center is also involved in the RCIA program. The Newman Center is an active participant in the Interfaith Campus Council


The Newman Chapel The Newman Center was originally the second site of St. James Catholic Church. The first chapel was built in 1875 but burned down in the early 1930s. This chapel served as its replacement; it was dedicated by Bishop Robert Armstrong of the Sacramento diocese. In 1935, Bishop Armstrong established the Aggie Newman Club at St. James, appointing faculty advisors Lloyd Doneen & Harold Olmo to direct the club for Catholic university students.

As the St. James community continued to grow, parishioners saw the need for a larger church hall so they moved the parish to a property donated by John & Mary Lillard, one of the Davis' most prominent families, on the corner of 12th & B Streets.

In 1964, Bishop Alden Bell purchased the old chapel to be used as a center for Catholic campus ministry. Just three blocks from the UCDavis campus, it was an ideal location for a Newman Catholic Student Community. The first director of the Newman Center was Fr. Andrew Coffey, who became a monsignor and is currently a pastor emeritus at St. James Church. The original parish rectory, a two-story house next to the chapel served as the office and residence of priest-chaplains until 1973. Since then, chaplains have lived away from the Center so that the building could be used exclusively for staff offices, a library, and a community meeting space.

Shortly after the Center began to operate, the interior of its Romanesque style chapel was renovated. The pre-Vatican II arrangement of the original parish church has all the pews facing east towards the altar. These pews were removed and replaced by 250 stacking chairs. The choir loft was removed, the original wooden floor was carpeted, and the altar was moved to the center of the south wall. The chairs now surround the altar on three sides.

Sister Mary Pat White Controversy

In 1997, William Wiegand, then the Bishop of the Diocese of Sacramento, requested the Newman Center comply with diocesan regulation and liturgical norms. The Center under the previous Bishop Quinn had been known for "innovative liturgies", "parishoner homilies", and lay sharing of Communion under it's director Sister Mary Pat White. Sister Mary Pat also had been "sharing Eucharistic prayers" and con-celebrating with priests during the celebration of Divine Services. As a result, Sister Mary Pat was transferred following the directives from the Diocese. In protest, community members and faculty of UC Davis led a protest from Davis to the Cathedral in Sacramento.

More information may be found here.

Distinguished Newman Alumni

Monsignor Andrew A. Coffey was the first director of the UC Davis Newman Center in 1965.

Marya Welsh was the first female to be hired in the UC Davis Physical Education Department. She played an instrumental role in establishing intramural and extramural sports programs for women. During her 40-year career, she was a leader in state organizations committed to the advancement of women’s athletics. In addition to her contributions to women’s athletics, she served as dean of women for two years, and organized the Prytanean Honor Society. The tennis courts on the UC Davis campus are named in her honor.

[list is incomplete... check back later]

One of many Newman A Frames. Front of the newer A-Frames. What a color scheme! The backs of the A-Frames around campus spell NEWMAN from 2010


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