The Newman Centre at University of Toronto now offers spiritual direction sessions once a week. CNS photo/ Bob Roller

Newman Centre offers students spiritual direction

By  Trinity Regular, Youth Speak News
  • October 14, 2016

The Newman Centre is encouraging a new generation of leaders to strengthen their faith in God.

The Newman Centre Catholic Chaplaincy has created a special program offering 30-minute sessions that provide University of Toronto students an opportunity to seek spiritual direction, supporting students today as they progress throughout their unique journeys in life.

“Spiritual direction is the relationship between the director and the person seeking help,” said Sr. Ann McGill. “But of course, the Holy Spirit is always the third invisible presence.”

Once a week, McGill and Fr. Cris Graas will be available as spiritual directors to those who need someone to talk to. This specific program has been introduced to students as a way of spiritual reflection as well as providing moral support.

Graas explains how it can be easy for young adults to focus on materialistic things, often neglecting their religion and the roots of their traditions and beliefs. Students today tend to stray from spirituality and often lose sight of the significance of reflecting through prayers.

“University students are at a very important point in their lives,” he said. “Figuring out who they are and what God is calling them to become, spiritual direction can help them grow in that.”

Graas said spiritual direction is more than just guidance. Spirituality involves searching for a purpose in life, something that touches our inner self in a special way, he said.

“When people feel alone and discouraged it is good for them to be a part of a community, to find people around them such as in the Newman Centre who have similar ideas and who can be of support in the students’ spiritual lives,” Graas said.

Spiritual conversations are open for anyone dealing with personal struggles, no problem is too big or too small. The overall goal is to fortify students faith in the Lord, and their relationship with the Church.

Graas is available every Thursday from 2 to 4 p.m. and McGill every Wednesday from 2-4:30 p.m. To book a session, email Sonal Castelino at

“God always invites us into deeper relationships,” explained McGill. “He has a plan for all of us and discovering what that might be is not always easy. Sometimes all people need is to talk to someone they can trust and that is what we are here to do.”

(Regular, 16, is a Grade 11 student at St. Joseph’s College in Toronto, Ont.)

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