Fr. Peter Turrone presides over Mass for the Our Lady of Fatima feast Oct. 13 at St. Thomas Aquinas Church. Turrone credits the intercession of St. Joseph for a gift that will allow him to renovate the church. Photo courtesy of the Newman Centre

Prayers answered for Toronto's Newman Centre parish

By 
  • November 6, 2017
Newman Centre chaplain Fr. Peter Turrone had no idea where the Toronto parish was going to get the money to fund a huge renovation project.

A priest friend recommended he turn to the intercession of St. Joseph. After all, he would know a thing or two about construction.

“So I prayed the novena for 30 days and then I just let it go and let God answer how He wants,” said Turrone.

Several days after he finished his Holy Cloak 30-day novena in December last year, Turrone got a call from the Archdiocese of Toronto telling him that an anonymous donor had left a portion of his estate to the Newman Chaplaincy Centre at the University of Toronto.

It was an answer to his prayers.

“I was overwhelmed with a sense of joy to be able to have received that grace,” he said. “We’ve been working (on the project) since.”

Because of the $600,000 bequest, renovations at Newman Centre’s St. Thomas Aquinas church are only a few weeks away.

In the first phase of the project, Turrone is working with architects and contractors to redo the floors and the pews. The wooden altars will be restained and the sanctuary will be recarpeted.

The second phase will be focused on making the church more accessible for its disabled parishioners. Turrone is also planning some small repairs to the roof and the exterior facade of the church.

“We had a very tiny amount (of money) coming from our church maintenance fund. It was like a drop in a bucket,” he said. “The Lord is always having to remind us that everything ultimately is in His hands… I’m assuming that He’ll send us the right carpenters, as well.”

Not much is known about the anonymous donor. All Turrone knew was that the man was not a parishioner at the university parish, but had a great love for the Church. He had left instructions in his Will to leave a huge portion of his estate to help various missions and ministries in the Archdiocese of Toronto.

“He was a man who deeply loved the Lord and the Church, so he left pretty much everything to the Church,” he said.

Turrone equally credits St. Joseph for the graces that have been pouring in over the renovation project. He plans to have renovations finished in time to have a rededication Mass on March 19 next year, the feast day of St. Joseph. This is also a week before Holy Week.

While construction is underway in the church, daily Masses will be celebrated in the Oak Room of the Newman Centre. Sunday Masses will be celebrated at Regis College.

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