Newman to reach out to commuter students

  • April 1, 2010

{mosimage}TORONTO-The Newman Centre will be launching a new initiative to assist its chaplaincy outreach to students at the University of Toronto.

Fr. Michael Machacek, pastor and executive director of the Newman Centre parish and chaplaincy at the university’s downtown campus, said the new initiative will address the chaplaincy needs of the Monday-to-Friday commuter students and provide more programs and activities during the daytime such as faith-sharing and socials.

There are also plans to raise the Newman Centre’s profile within the university and get the word out about its student outreach, he said.

Plans for the new initiative will be unveiled at the April 13 annual Newman Foundation fundraising dinner. The event, called “Getting to Know Newman,” will feature a personal tour of the centre and information about its outreach and spiritual programs.

The Newman Foundation event will be held at the Newman Centre. It raises funds to support the Centre’s activities.

This year, the economic downturn has led to a drop of $2,657.14 in donations from parishioners compared to last year.
Borrowing from the event’s title, Machacek said students and parishioners will have an opportunity to know more about Cardinal John Henry Newman because there will also be a focus on the study of the centre’s namesake and his writings in the fall. This coincides with the beatification of Cardinal Newman by Pope Benedict XVI in the archdiocese of Birmingham during his papal visit to Britain in September.

Machacek, 51, is no stranger to the Newman Centre. He was an engineering student at the University of Toronto when he first found the Newman Centre. He attended weekday Masses and participated in faith-sharing groups at Newman in the 1980s.

“One of the reasons why I’m happy at Newman is because it helped plant the seeds of my vocation and it’s a bit of a homecoming,” said Machacek, who was posted to the centre in July.

So far, Machacek said one of his best experiences at Newman has been learning from the faith of his parishioners, including the student campus ministers who live at the centre.

“The level of the faith that they share is really edifying, gratifying and humbling,” he said.

For more information on the Newman Foundation of Toronto event, call (416) 979-2468.

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