Fr. Peter Turrone, Pastor and Executive Director
It is with great joy that I begin my new ministry as Executive Director of the Newman Centre and Pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church. During my MSc and PhD studies in Medical Science and Neuroscience (1998-2004) at the University of Toronto, I used to attend daily Mass and weekly Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at St. Thomas Aquinas and volunteer as a Lay Minister to the Sick at Princess Margaret Hospital. It was an oasis of peace from the stresses of the hospital lab. Both Father Tom Rosica and Father Pat O’Dea were great pastors to us throughout that time. One of the most memorable moments I recall took place during our Taize prayer service we had during World Youth Day. The Newman community managed to capture the spirit of joy that was felt all over Toronto and make it present on campus.
After graduating from U of T, I began my Philosophy degree through the Oratory of St. Phillip Neri and later completed my Theology degree at the Pontifical Urban University in Rome, Italy. Afterwards, I had the privilege of working as a missionary amongst the poor in the Mongolian desert for almost 3 years. Living in the desert surrounded by little more than sheep and goats was a blessed preparation for the greatest moment of my life which took place on September 1st, 2012. After 32 years of wrestling with God over my vocation, I was finally ordained a priest at 40 years of age.
Over the past two years I have been ministering to the St. Clare of Assisi Catholic community in Woodbridge as their Associate Pastor. With 9000 families, about 8,970 more than in the Gobi, it was a great opportunity to return to my first home and share the Gospel and minister to them.
During this Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, I come among you as both a brother and spiritual father in Christ hoping to build upon the fine work of my predecessors in forming spiritually and intellectually mature Catholics. It is great blessing to work with a team of staff whose ministry is motivated by a deep love for both Jesus Christ and His Church.
Only God knows what the future will bring, however, as our Patron Blessed Cardinal Newman’s famous prayer “Some Definitive Purpose” states:
God has created me to do Him some definite service
He has committed some work to me which He has
not committed to another
I have my mission.
May the grace of the Lord be upon each of us as we grow as “fellow workers in the truth” (3 Jn: 8)
Father Peter Turrone
Erin Kinsella, Associate Director of Campus Outreach
My name is Erin Kinsella, and I'm very excited to be part of the team at Newman. I'm the oldest of two kids, and am originally from Ottawa. I went to Dalhousie university and I have a degree in Microbiology and Immunology with a minor in philosophy. Although I have lots of different interests, I really enjoy movies and the arts, board games, and travelling.
I grew up Catholic, but fell away from the faith in university. After doing some grad work in Texas, I returned to Orangeville (where my family was at the time) and became involved in the local parish community. After learning more and more about the truths of the Faith, I experienced a profound reconversion during the Sacrament of Reconciliation. This experience has given me a deep desire to share the unconditional love of Christ that I experienced, and the past 10 years have been spent both growing in my knowledge of the Faith and my love of Christ. I look forward to meeting you...drop by the Newman Centre for a visit!
Alexandra Whittle, Program and Event Coordinator
My name is Alexandra Whittle and I am very excited to be joining the Newman community. I thoroughly enjoy people and understanding different perspectives about why and how we behave as individuals and as a community, which is what led me to complete my degree in Sociology. I further specialized as a Social Services Worker for Immigrants and Refugees in my Postgraduate studies. I have travelled to Mexico on a social justice trip and also to Jordan to interview and identify refugees for resettlement to Canada through Project Hope which was launched by the Archdiocese of Toronto. I also travelled to Spain for World Youth day in 2011. I have always loved working with people in various settings. I grew up in the Catholic church and was quite involved in different minstries. I am grateful for the ways in which this involvement has been at the core of helping me develop as an individual in this society. I am truly looking forward to contributing to the vision and mission of the Newman Centre.
(Photo and email coming soon)
Patrick Douglas, Director of Human Resources and Operations
I fondly remember when I was “called” to serve on staff at the Newman Centre back in 2001. As a young professional developing a career in business and information management at Xerox I discovered something was lacking. Finding a young, vibrant Catholic community at the Newman Centre inspired me to go deeper in my relationship with God and to discover the vast richness of the Catholic faith. By abandoning my own plans for success to work for the Church, God has blessed me one-hundred fold. Of personal importance, it was through Newman that God lead me to my vocation as husband and father of ten precious children, affectionately known as the “Little Douglings”.
Over the years I have been able to apply my engineering degree (B.Sc. Engineering Chemistry, Queen's University) in the most unique ways in managing the operations at Newman Centre, including: human resources (both staff and students), finances and budgets, fundraising activities, property and buildings, and communications. I also studied human resources management at University of Toronto and attained the Certified Human Resources Leader (CHRL) designation from the Human Resources Professionals Association.
In addition to managing the day-to-day operations of the Centre, I am now pleased to be embarking on strategic planning and special projects, including the implementation of the Archdiocese of Toronto’s pastoral plan in our parish community and growing our campus ministry presence at the University of Toronto in the spirit of our Blessed Cardinal Newman.
Anne Skrepichuk, Administrative Assistant
Hello! My name is Anne Skrepichuk and I am very excited to join the Newman Centre community! As a UofT student and continuing afterwards as staff, I was often impressed by the medieval beauty of the buildings of the Newman Centre. Now I am even more impressed by the loveliness of the people who make up this Catholic heart! I look forward to meeting you all in my role as Administrative Assistant.
Maria Da Silva, Communications Coordinator
I immigrated to Canada from India by myself almost a decade ago. The greatest influences in my life have always been God and my parents. My career has spanned three countries - India, U.A.E and Canada and I have worked in the corporate and non-profit communications field.
When I discovered the Newman Centre, I already knew that I wanted to work with a more mission-based approach. I had volunteered for the Newman Centre and consider myself blessed to be working with a team that is so selfless and dedicated. Working within a community that is so alive with a sense of service is very gratifying. I am especially inspired by the students and parishioners who share the Newman Centre and bring an amazing sense of true humanity and togetherness irrespective of religion in their interactions. Each one is an ambassador of our patron, Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman who said, “I want the intellectual layman to be religious and the devout ecclesiastic to be intellectual.”
As the Communications Coordinator, my role in a gist encompasses the following: monthly Newman Bulletin, the Newman website, email marketing, social media, photography and videography and related databases and their management, advertising and promotions for all Newman parish and chaplaincy events and activities, creating fundraising proposals and reports, direct mail appeals, donor letters and brochures and miscellaneous foundation communications, assisting every member of staff in a variety of requests including receiving visitors, assisting with Mass related activities and events and since we work in a beautiful 125-year old heritage home that requires lots of TLC, I’ve even learned new skills like repairing the washroom! It’s a fantastic team and I’m absolutely delighted to be a part of it.
Christina Labriola, Music Ministry Director, 11 a.m. Sunday Mass Choir
Hello, Newman community!
My name is Christina Labriola and I am thrilled to be joining you this January as the new Music Ministry director for the 11 a.m. choir. I am a recent graduate of the Master of Sacred Music program at Emmanuel College, and before that, of the Faculty of Music, where I focused primarily on choral conducting and piano. This past fall, I began doctoral studies in theology at Regis College, where I hope to study the intersection of faith and the arts, especially spirituality and music.
Giving voice to my love of God through music is a natural and essential part of my spiritual life. I recognize that all music is a precious gift from God. How better to show gratitude for this gift than to offer it back to God, joining our voices with everything that breathes in the song of praise which began at the very moment of creation! I believe that music and the arts can move us beyond ourselves and point us towards the beauty of God. When we join our hearts and voices in songs of praise and prayer during the Mass, we participate in a profound and important act that is central to the faith life of the community. We reach out to one another, to God, and to the world.
It is my hope to be able to enable this kind of worshipful music-making at the Newman Centre. I am very excited to be a part of the such a vibrant Catholic community, at the heart of the U of T campus. I look forward to meeting, working, and making music to the Lord with you all!
Charlie Min, Music Ministry Director, 7 p.m. Sunday Mass Choir
Samantha Koon, Development Officer
I was hired by the Archdiocese of Toronto to work with the Newman Centre. I am a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE), and have over a decade of experience raising funds for various charities. My strength is to formulate fundraising strategies, to put those strategies into action, to cultivate and solicit donors through the art of stewardship, and to build relationships.
I enjoy working with the supporters of Newman Centre, and I am excited to be part of the Newman team since it gives me an opportunity to serve God with my skills. I feel the energy of working with the students on campus. I can witness to Newman’s chaplaincy and its programs that help support students in their faith while studying at the University. I am eager to act as a catalyst between the supporters of Newman Centre and students who are in need.
Let’s work together to invest in youth and to foster their relationships with God during their studies. Please call (647) 831-6076 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to show your support for Newman Centre!
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