Fr. Chris Cauchi took over as chaplain at the Newman Centre at the University of Toronto’s downtown campus at the start of the summer. Photo by Vanessa Santilli

Newman Centre’s new pastor not there to reinvent the wheel

  • August 9, 2012

TORONTO - As the new chaplain at the Newman Centre, Fr. Chris Cauchi is looking forward to serving the spiritual needs of students at the University of Toronto.

“Newman is such a vibrant place,” Cauchi told The Catholic Register. “I’d like to first observe what’s going on, learn, and I’m very blessed I don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Many priests and laypeople before me have already laid the foundation.

“My hope is to be able to nourish and support that growth that is going on here.”

Cauchi moved into the Newman Centre June 27, taking the reigns from Fr. Michael Machacek. He’ll also serve as pastor at St. Thomas Aquinas Church, located just next door to the Newman Centre.

Cauchi, who turned 32 on Aug. 11, was first assigned to be associate pastor at St. Barnabas parish in Scarborough, where he helped co-ordinate the youth ministry. When he moved to St. Michael’s Cathedral two years later, he was involved with the young adult ministry along with being the assistant chaplain for Ryerson chaplaincy.

Born in Canada, his family decided to move to its native Malta when he was three years old. It was in Malta where he entered the seminary.

“We have the policy of the internship year,” said Cauchi. “We have to do it outside of the diocese, so being Canadian, I thought it would be good to do it here.”

He returned to Malta for his theology but his diocese of Gozo has a policy where you must serve abroad for at least two years after ordination.

“So in my case I came here and from two years it became seven and I’m still here. And I like it.”

His appointment to Newman came as a surprise, he said.

“But I’m very glad to be here.”

His role will comprise three components: the parish, the residency formation program and the chaplaincy outreach to students, he said.

“I want to emphasize my mission would be to try to make justice with the three of them.”

The challenges of the job will reflect the challenges of every Catholic, said Cauchi.

“How can we remain rooted in the tradition of the Church? How can we grow personally and communally in our relationship with Christ? How is Christ calling this community to leave behind what’s familiar and go to the unfamiliar territory that Christ may want us to be?

“These are some questions that every believer needs to focus on, that our community is focusing on. And I think the Holy Spirit will continue to guide this community and this process of change.”

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