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Laura Temons revitalizes the Neuman Club as a safe harbor for Catholics at Eastern

The term “Catholic” has all sorts of connotations, most of them negative. In the eyes of some Protestants, Catholics are nothing but idol-worshippers and followers of man-made rules. Eastern University prides itself on welcoming all Christian traditions, but that does not prevent some from forming misconceptions about the traditions less common on campus.

Junior Laura Temons, a Psychology major, is a proud Catholic. She is in the process of reviving the Neuman Club, Eastern’s association for Catholic students. Although open to all students, the club will focus specifically on Catholics.

“I like thinking of it as Eastern’s Catholic-Protestant-Orthodox alliance,” Temons said. “[My goal] is for Catholic students on campus to have community and for other students to grow and learn.”

Temons places special emphasis on the educational aspect of the club. The idea is not to convert people, but to promote understanding and hopefully break many of the stereotypes about Catholics and the Catholic church.

Since her freshman year, Temons has experienced several hostile reactions whenever she has discussed her faith. Among other things, she has been told that she is going to hell for being Catholic, while some students and professors alike have joked about her beliefs or blatantly stated that they are wrong.

“I think it’s difficult to have respect for other people who aren’t Christians if you can’t have respect for Christians of different denominations,” Temons said. “I believe in the same God. I’m saved by the same [Jesus]. How does that make me any different from a Presbyterian?”

Temons was inspired to start the club after seeing an offensive picture on Facebook a couple years ago depicting Pope Benedict. At first she suffered in relative silence. However, when the subject came up again in conversation last semester, she decided to take action.

“I got fed up with having to hide that I was Catholic,” Temons said.

As a first step, Temons spoke with Joe Modica, University Chaplain, who suggested that she revive the Neuman Club, which had been on hiatus for the past few years. After much thought and prayer, Temons decided to pursue it.

Each meeting will be divided into two sections. The first 20 minutes or so will focus on devotional readings and prayer, while the second part will address a specific Catholic doctrine.

“I hope a lot of people come to the club … especially those who have misconceptions,” Temons said. “Picking a denomination is [all about] what feels right for you. For me, Catholicism feels right. We’re all still Christians.”

The Neuman Club will meet every Monday at 8:30 p.m. in Walton 3. For more information, please contact Laura Temons at ltemons@eastern.edu.

 

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