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My Journey to JPII Newman:

The Road Less Traveled

May 6, 2019

Omaha, Nebraska.  The last place on earth I ever imaged myself going for graduate school.  Prior to moving here, I could not even point out Nebraska on a United States map.

Home is in a city just north of Detroit, Michigan.  I am a non-traditional student and have worked the past seven years in various Detroit-area hospitals as an x-ray and CAT scan tech in emergency departments.  I have many exciting, scary, sad and joyful stories to tell of the amazing patient interactions I was blessed to have during my radiology work.  Although very good, Radiology was never my passion, and I felt I needed to follow previous career dreams that I had suppressed.  God called me to Omaha to pursue those dreams.

I accepted the offer to attend the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Athletic Training Master’s program.  Next, I began looking for apartments and searching for Catholic young adult happenings.  During my search, I was looking at the archdiocesan website and saw information about a Newman Center that offered housing. 

A mix of living and Catholic stuff, exactly what I was looking for.  It seemed like a good location in proximity to school, and they said they offered daily sacraments, so I was sold.  I signed my contract before ever seeing the building.

July 2, 2017, I arrived at the JPII Newman Center to move in.  The building was impressive!  Everything so nice and new and modern.  My mother and I cried when we saw that my floor’s lounge was named the “little way” lounge in honor of St. Therese.  My parish back home is a St. Therese Basilica; thus, I felt that much closer to home.  Small details made a large impact.  St. John Paul II crucifixes hung over the entrance of every apartment, common spaces had names reflecting saints, and residents all shared a love for their faith.

During the past two years, I have been blessed to be involved in community events, be a lector, serve as service community chair on the parish council, co-lead a blood drive, and be big sister to my amazing brother and sisters in Christ that I met through the community.  I get to walk downstairs and go to Mass!!!  What a gift to be a lay person but have the perks of community religious life with daily sacraments!!  Last year, during a prayer team meeting, I was given the spiritual gift of speaking in tongues.  Although I have had a very amazing spiritual life, praying in tongues was unlike any prior experience.  I can best describe it as my heart literally being ripped open and pouring itself out to its creator.  It was a conversation of love that I will never forget.

May 3, 2019, I will be graduating with a Master’s degree (hopefully with a 4.0gpa) and will be a ceremony marshal, carrying a gonfalon banner.  Two years went by so fast, and I will miss everyone so much.  I am so grateful for my two years spent at the JPII Newman Center.  Please keep me in your prayers as I begin my next adventure with Christ in Salt Lake City Utah for a seasonal internship with Major League Soccer team, Real Salt Lake.

Christine Center, ATC | UNO Graduate ’19 & JPII Newman Alumna

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