Participants in the Newman Centre’s Date Night Series, incorporating exercises that strengthen the body, mind and soul.  Photo by Luke Mandato

Dating for body, mind and soul

  • February 17, 2024

The Toronto Newman Centre’s Date Night Series is continuing to incorporate exercises that strengthen the body, mind and soul. 

The “Faith & Fitness” event Feb. 21 will be a date night that focuses on education surrounding physical health and healing. 

The Catholic chaplaincy on the University of Toronto’s downtown campus launched its monthly Date Night Series in the Fall of 2022, giving dating, engaged and married couples an opportunity to enjoy a night out together while keeping conversation rooted in meaningful faith-based topics. 

Newman staff and volunteers turn the centre into a fine dining experience for the couples, which typically includes a speaker who speaks after dinner on a topic relevant to diners from the lens of the Catholic faith. The food, complete with an appetizer, main course, dessert and coffee or tea, is prepared by an in-house team fronted by Fr. Mark Kolosowski, Newman’s pastor and executive director.

The upcoming Faith & Fitness will feature guest speaker Paul Babits, a Master of Science, Kinesiology and Exercise Science student from the University of Toronto. 

“This month’s talk will provide a rationale for why, within the context of the Catholic faith, we should be physically active,” read the synopsis of Babit’s upcoming talk. “It’ll provide practical recommendations for how attendees can direct their efforts towards improving their quality of life through physical fitness with the goal of becoming closer with God.”

Since the inaugural event, the Date Night Series has attempted to bring Catholic couples closer together in a variety of ways, while always keeping each date’s concept fun and interesting. 

This year, the team is focusing on health- and healing-themed date nights. 

“Above all, Jesus taught us that we must do all things with and for love. When we are unwell, that becomes difficult and poses challenges in relationships that may negatively impact those around us,” said Rachelle Ezechiels, Newman’s operations manager. “Ultimately, God truly heals us, but there are things we can do to be good stewards of our health, both body and soul, and that is what we aimed to present in this year’s Date Night series.”

Last November at a similar date night event, couples were treated to a pre-meal workout routine courtesy of Fr. Paul Magyar, a fitness enthusiast, with exercises designed for two and meant to show the importance of caring for both body and soul. This January, an event titled “Eating for the Microbiome” continued the trend with the addition of a Catholic psychotherapist who spoke about maintaining healthy relationships and communication with your partner.

Since its creation, the Newman Centre has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from participants. Comments range from praising the event’s rotating approach in topics and themes to the quality of the food served and the friendliness of the staff, with most indicating the desire to participate in future events at the centre. 

Tickets for the event are $50 per couple and include the cost of the dinner. 

The operations manager also confirmed that following February’s event, the centre is planning a Lenten-themed night in March prior to the Easter Triduum, before finishing this semester’s series in April. Weather pending, the final event is planned to be an outdoor social BBQ.

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