Giving Wall celebrates generosity at Catholic Campus Ministry Center

Giving Wall

Bishop John Noonan and Fr. Ben Berinti, Director of Catholic Campus Ministry, hosted a special ceremony on Friday, April 11, to unveil and dedicate a Giving Wall, the latest addition to the new Catholic Campus Ministry Center, located at the NorthView student housing complex near the University of Central Florida.

The Giving Wall, which includes 29 named plaques, will stand as a permanent tribute to the generous men and women who contributed approximately $1.5 million to fund the interior construction of the 2-story, 20,000 square-foot facility on Lockwood Boulevard.

Among those present was Jeff Messner, whose daughter will attend UCF in the fall. “For my daughter to be able to have access to this ministry is a true blessing,” noted Messner, a parishioner at St. Joseph in Winter Haven. “When I was a student, so few of these opportunities were available.”

The Giving Wall includes space for additional names in the future, as The Catholic Foundation of Central Florida works to secure annual operating support for Campus Ministry as well as funds to complete the second floor interior.

The celebration comes nearly four months after the blessing and formal dedication of the Catholic Campus Ministry Center by Bishop Noonan on December 16, 2013. Since then, the facility has become a hub of activity and a focal point of evangelization and outreach to students.

“The biggest blessing is the availability of the sacraments. We celebrate Mass regularly. We have Adoration weekly, and the Sacrament of Reconciliation is available almost all of the time,” said Troy Cunio, a history major in his junior year at UCF.

Cunio told guests that he initially worried about campus ministry becoming isolated in its new home, a 15 - 20 minute walk from the center of campus. He said those fears have now been put to rest.

“We have been able to reach out to the University in so many ways,” said Cunio. “I can tell you that the Catholic students already see this building as a second home. There is always someone here, living life.”

Fr. Berinti estimates that Catholic Campus Ministry has historically reached about 1% of the 13,000-15,000 Catholic students at the University of Central Florida. With the Center’s increased space and amenities, he hopes to increase that number to 15% over the next few years.

“My goal is for the Catholic Campus Ministry Center to become the center of Catholic intellectual life in our diocese,” said Fr. Berinti. “Anyone who wants to study the intellectual foundation of the faith can do so here.”

His vision for the Center’s second floor, which is currently in the final stages of interior construction, includes classroom and seminar space where students and the general public can explore the rich history and traditions of the Church.

“This is an exciting time at the University of Central Florida,” said Meghan Post, President of The Catholic Foundation of Central Florida. “And we have only scratched the surface of what is possible.”

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