Journeying Together Towards Christ - Natalie Doummar

An excerpt from a speech given by Natalie Doummar at Newman Centre’s 2018 Graduation Mass and Banquet. There are three aspects that have marked my five years at the Newman Centre. 
Firstly, an invitation. Whether the beginning of your relationship with Jesus wasn’t the greatest or you were already intensely living your faith, one thing is for sure: God has called you to communion with Him. This is never by force, whether through somebody at the Newman Centre inviting you to that first event, or simply through a silent tug at your heart as you passed by the building.
Next is discipleship. Under the leadership of Fr. Chris Cauchi and Fr. Peter Turrone, and through a lot of construction, we have grown and developed as a community. Though we are many, we manage to maintain a “small community” feel — maybe it’s the free food, or the comfy couches! I’ve heard countless times from new members that they feel a calm, welcoming spirit here. I know that you truly cultivate this gift of the Holy Spirit, judging by the countless hours you’ve volunteered at daily and Sunday Mass, being a Student Campus Minister, and/or serving on the NCSC (Newman Catholic Students’ Club) executive team, being a Basement Bro or Girl, serving at Soup and Bagel Lunch, leading Faith Studies, making sandwiches for Street Patrol, on mission trips in Jamaica, praying for change on campus, representing Newman at orientation events, practicing for choirs or plays, being waiters at lectures and socials, baking, cooking, rearranging furniture, and all those times you
were on-call for whenever anyone needed help with anything. The feeling of welcome we experienced when we entered into this community, we reflect to new members.
We have journeyed together towards Christ, accompanying one another through both joys and difficulties. Knowing that there are dozens of faithful young Catholics here who are fearless in their pursuit of God’s will grounds me, reminds me that I’m not crazy for what I believe in, and encourages me in my pursuit of the Truth. Lastly, there's prayer. The grace I have experienced through the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Confession is enormous. I am fed by Jesus’ personal love for me and for the whole world. In dwelling in the Eucharist I have learned silence and love, and I have found peace — things that our world so desperately needs. I have become comfortable with saying the name of Jesus, and speaking to Him as I would any other person — I now truly recognize Him as the source and center of my life. 
I encourage you to take these three qualities with you. We mustn’t be afraid to invite those around us to that deeper relationship with Him. We can’t get so busy that we don’t have time to journey with others. While in our culture people are becoming increasingly isolated, we must band together under Christ and Mother Mary. And we must not forget that union with our Creator is what we are made for, so we should spend that time with Him everyday. As you move on, I pray you will
continue to find peace, love, joy, and all the beautiful things you’ve found here. These relationships created here have the capacity to last because they are rooted in Christ. May He infinitely be the center of our lives. 
Natalie Doummar is a fifth year student graduating with a B.A. and a B.Ed. in June 2018. She is going on to do a Masters of Theological Studies at the University of St. Michael's College at the University of Toronto.

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