Newman Hall

Berkeley, CA

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Archived Q&A and Reviews

July 2015

RE: Seeking Catholic Parish with Young Families

Check out Newman Center Holy Spirit Parish in Berkeley. Because it's affiliated with Cal, there are lots of younger faces in the crowd. There's an outstanding preschool group ('Little Church') offered during Mass where kids learn the parts of the Mass and life lessons. Faith Formation classes start at the end of the summer. Some grades are taught by parents and some by Cal students. Faith Formation is held during the first half-hour of Mass so kids experience the second half with their parents. The First Communion program for second-graders is outstanding. At other times of the year, children have their own session during Mass in a program called 'Children's Liturgy of the Word'. Regardless of which parish you choose, you have to keep showing up and just 'put yourself out there' a bit in order to feel integrated and engaged. When your kids see you volunteer for something, even if it's small, the whole family begins to recognize itself as part of something bigger. I hope you find an engaging church to call home. Fan of the faithful

May 2011

RE: East Bay Catholic church with 'cry' room

I think your child would enjoy the pre-Kinder program at Newman Hall in Berkeley (Catholic Church for the university). While parents attend mass, young children from toddlers to kindergartners can attend 'Little Church' with Grace Shannon who's a fabulous (and credentialed) teacher. Stories are shared, basic (very basic) prayers are learned, and kids share 'communion' and learn how to express gratitude. I should note that this church is very liberal, so bear that in mind. Come join us. Kids welcome.

Feb 2010

Re: Looking for progressive Catholic Church in Berkeley, Piedmont
I/we love the Newman Center near the Cal Campus. It's run by the Paulists, so very service/community oriented and progressive. Lots of students and families too. Wish we lived closer. love the Newman Center

Hi, I can heartily recommend that you check out Newman Hall at UC Berkeley I've attended services there for the past 3 years, after looking for a community that was liberal and that I could feel comfortable in. I think that you will find it welcoming overall. Good luck. Claire

June 2009

Re: Catholic Church for our family to join
Any Catholic parish in the Bay Area is going to be a far cry from the experience you had as a child. Shop around, although the summer is not a great time to get a feel for any parish. The Newman Center on Dwight and College is also fantastic. They have really great preachers and a big community of kids.

June 2009

Re: Catholic Church for our family to join
Newman Church on College Ave in Berkeley is very kid-friendly, progressive, and just has an overall good vibe. I was initially a little put off by the fact that it is the ''college'' church that caters to the U.C. students, but in fact the congregation is much more than that, and the 9:30 services are catered towards families (childcare, sunday school for older kids, etc), with everyone getting together in the central courtyard for coffee & pastries afterward. We haven't been in a while since my tot is now too fussy to sit still for service, and not into staying in the childcare, but look forward to going again once he grows out of this phase! I'm not crazy about a lot of official church doctrine, but I too yearn for many aspects of the church and find a forward-thinking, loving aspect to this one. Good luck!

June 2009

Re: Catholic Church for our family to join
I, too, was raised Catholic, lapsed after college and returned as an adult because I actually like going to church and nurturing my faith in God. After shopping around the Oakland/Berkeley area for a while I found the best fit for my son and I. Newman Hall, Holy Spirit Parish, on the Cal campus. The first time my son went to the kids play group (ages 2-5) and I was able to sit peacefully through the most beautiful music, choir and ''right on'' homily by the priest, I felt incredibly happy. This parish is cool. My heart has been opened in ways I've never thought possible. The people are thoughtful, kind and funny. The priests are the most inspiring I've ever met. During the Fall/Winter/Spring, kids in kindergarten - 8th? go to Faith Formation while you are at 9:30AM Sunday Mass. My son really likes it and will be starting the 2nd grade group in the Fall. They gather upstairs with volunteer parents and college students. I like the fact that these kids will make their Communion and future sacraments together at Newman, as opposed to being the outcasts at a parish/school. During the summer the kids can sit through Mass with you or go with a group of kids to hear the readings and ''talk about God.'' I would say just check it out for yourself on a Sunday at 9:30. We like the tea, coffee, donuts and bagels after Mass too. It is located at 2700 Dwight Way at College.510.848.7812. Give yourself a little time to find parking. Catholic and Happy

Oct 2007

Re: Seeking tolerant, inclusive Catholic community
It's wonderful that you're giving this some thought. I too was a lapsed Catholic for many years, until my father's death brought me to a new way of thinking. We attend Newman Center Holy Spirit Parish, the Newman center of the Cal community. The 9:30 mass is very family friendly, both in the main sanctuary, as well as in the ''little church'', which is a pre-school program which takes place during the mass. There is a wonderful group leader for this program who is also a Kindergarten teacher. She relies on parent volunteers to handle different Sundays (basically, that means bringing a simple craft project idea or a book to share). If you would like to try out the preschool program there, be prepared to stay with your child the entire time for the first couple of Sundays. It helps him/her ease into the experience. I find the 9:30 mass experience to be rejuvenating and thought-provoking. The priests give engaging homilies, and the congregation does not shy away from voicing their opinions (respectfully) about controversial issues within the church.

The congregation seems diverse regarding race, background, and sexual preference (including same-sex couples with children). There is also a program specifically for lapsed Catholics who are thinking about coming back to the church. Come some Sunday at 9:30 and go upstairs afterwards for coffee and donuts, just to check out the vibe. Good luck in your searching! Catholic searcher