Students from three downtown university chaplaincies processed and re-enacted the Stations of the Cross on a cold winter day March 4. Photo courtesy Newman Centre Chaplaincy

Travelling Stations of the Cross unites university chaplaincies

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  • March 9, 2016

TORONTO - Toronto’s downtown Catholic campus chaplaincies came together to be visible witnesses of their faith on the streets.

The University of St. Michael’s College Chaplaincy and the Newman Centre Chaplaincy, with the Ryerson Catholic Students’ Association, prayed together a travelling Stations of the Cross by candlelight on the cold, winter night of March 4.

This is the first time the three campus chaplaincies collaborated for any project or event. Erin Kinsella, associate director of campus outreach at Newman on the University of Toronto campus, said that reflecting on Lent and the Year of Mercy was a great opportunity to finally work together.

“(The relationships) have definitely been there since the chaplaincies started and it continues to strengthen all the time,” said Kinsella. “We’ve been looking at the best ways to be able to work together because often some of the students that we serve would also be involved with things at different chaplaincies.”

Kinsella said the travelling Stations of the Cross gave the students the opportunity to visit the three different chaplaincy locations and meet new people. The night was also an opportunity for Catholic university students to be visible to the larger community.

“In the same way that World Youth Day can often be a really good experience for people to see that the Church is universal and that there are a lot of young people who share the same faith, that can be a really big encouragement in the student’s life of faith,” said Kinsella.

“Our aim is for everybody to know that we exist so they can come and find a great community that’s going to be a support for their faith.”

The Stations of the Cross began at St. Paul’s Basilica where students had the opportunity to walk through the Holy Door of Mercy.

About 50 students and community members processed with a cross to different street corners and parks, before reaching St. Basil’s Church at the University of St. Michael’s College campus for a few stations.

Then, the group travelled to Queen’s Park where it prayed a few of the stations in front of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario building.

The night ended at the St. Thomas Aquinas Chapel at the Newman Centre where students had the opportunity to go to confession and gain plenary indulgences for the Year of Mercy.

Kinsella said she hopes this event will be a catalyst for more collaboration between St. Mike’s and Ryerson in the future.

“It’s important that we have our own chaplaincies and our own communities,” said Kinsella. “But because we are so close together, it’s really important for us to maintain and grow in that relationship.”

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