Sue Paterno’s dream came to fruition Saturday morning while she was surrounded by close friends and family.
The Suzanne Pohland Paterno Catholic Student Faith Center was dedicated and opened at 10 a.m. during a Eucharistic celebration and blessing ceremony. The Paternos helped to raise the money for the $6.5 million structure.
Paterno’s children and grandchildren came to support her and watch the opening of the first Catholic student center at Penn State.
“This will be a great place for (students),” she said, adding that it will be a “home away from home” for many Penn Staters.
But Paterno wishes her late husband and former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno could have joined her at the dedication. She said the coach would describe the building as a “national championship for Penn State.”
Joe Paterno had a large part in raising the funds for the project as Sue said the couple did almost everything together.
“We did everything that way,” she said. “I didn’t coach, but he didn’t cook.”
Paterno recognized the Rev. Matthew Laffey, director of the Catholic Campus Ministry at Penn State, as also playing a large role in the center. Laffey said the building came out just as he had hoped, and
he said it will be a “stunning addition” to Park Avenue architecturally.
“It’s a beautiful building,” he said. “There’s not another building like this in town.”
Laffey said the center, which features a reconciliation room, gathering spaces, meeting rooms, a library, a cafeteria and a staff living area, will have a “great impact” on Catholic students at Penn State and ones to come in the future.
Paterno agreed, saying the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center, which will still hold weekend Masses due to space concerns, is a wonderful place, but the sheer number of groups wanting to use the building makes it cramped and hard to book.
The Paterno Center will feature daily Masses and provide that meeting space for Catholic students, she said.
The ceremony and blessing of the building and holy items was led by Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona- Johnstown Bishop Mark Bartchak, and the building is now open for use.
Matt Morgan can be reached at 235-3928. Follow him on Twitter @MetroMattMorgan