Catholic faith center to open at NorthView
Published: Sunday, February 24, 2013
Updated: Sunday, February 24, 2013 16:02
More than 400 Catholic students are getting a permanent place to worship at the new UCF-affiliated NorthView apartments.
From year to year, the Catholic Campus Ministry at UCF bounced from one facility on campus to another as it tried to accommodate its growing student population. Now, a 20,000 square-foot space located on Lockwood Boulevard will join the Hillel Jewish cultural center also being built at NorthView apartments.
The current space CCM occupies at UCF is nearly one-10th of what the organization will call home in the fall semester, when the facility is scheduled to open.
According to a press release, CCM’s current center is a storefront located off campus that is 2,400 square feet.
Sophomore computer engineering major Chelsea Reyes has led Bible studies for CCM since last year and has also been able to participate in daily rosaries and weekly activities the ministry also hosts on campus.
“I was here when we had the little center and it was kind of ridiculous, but we were able to hold all of our events in that tiny place,” Reyes said. “Now in just one year we’re already moving to something that’s 10 times that size.”
All services that CCM hosts on campus will move to the facility, but students such as Reyes who do not have a vehicle will not be out of luck — a continuous direct shuttle will run between NorthView and UCF.
Students who are part of the religious organizations and have settled at NorthView do not have to be residents of the complex to use its religious facilities.
“We have been longing for a permanent home for campus ministry at UCF,” Tony Marco, associate campus minister of CCM, said in a press release. “This new center is a tremendous gift that will lead to a flourishing of the Catholic faith on campus for those currently involved in the Campus Ministry and will be a beacon of hope to students who are rediscovering their Catholic faith.”
Assistant director of UCF Housing and Residence Life Jimmy Moore said the exterior of NorthView apartments is ahead of schedule on construction, and builders placed the last piece of the seven-story structure on Tuesday.
While the exterior looks ready for use, the interiors of the faith facilities are not. The faith communities will manage the interiors of their respective centers.
In regard to the Catholic center, Marco and some students have met with builders to provide input for the design, which according to a press release will cost $2 million for the interior.
For its initial interior design endeavors, CCM will receive financing from the Diocese of Orlando’s Alive in Christ Capital and Endowment Campaign.
Reverend Scott Circe of CCM said $1.2 million have already been raised for the facility’s interior. Fundraising efforts will provide the majority of the amount necessary to complete the internal structure and amenities of the new CCM center.
According to the press release, the fundraising will continue after the Catholic center is complete in order to sustain ongoing operating expenses and ensure future operations funding.
Freshman general business major Victoria Suro said there will be no shortage of activity at the new center when it opens. Currently, Catholic students at UCF have access to Mass twice a week, Bible studies, confession and daily rosary prayer at the Reflecting Pond at noon.
“You can just meet with a group of people and just pray. It’s a wonderful thing to have. With Catholic Ministries I feel like I’ve had so many opportunities to grow in my faith and explore that part of my life, and I’m really excited about the new center,” Suro said.
Though NorthView and its religious centers are scheduled to open in the fall semester, 100 beds out of its available 600 are already reserved.
For students interested in what else NorthView has to offer, a preview event will be held March 12 at Memory Mall from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
In addition to the event, a mobile NorthView preview center will be visiting campus periodically next week with pictures and information about its new facilities.