Pastoral Team

Fr. Peter Turrone, Pastor and Executive Director

Dear Newmanites,

It is with great joy that I begin my new ministry as Executive Director of the Newman Centre and Pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church. During my MSc and PhD studies in Medical Science and Neuroscience (1998-2004) at the University of Toronto, I used to attend daily Mass and weekly Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at St. Thomas Aquinas and volunteer as a Lay Minister to the Sick at Princess Margaret Hospital. It was an oasis of peace from the stresses of the hospital lab.   Both Father Tom Rosica and Father Pat O’Dea were great pastors to us throughout that time. One of the most memorable moments I recall took place during our Taize prayer service we had during World Youth Day. The Newman community managed to capture the spirit of joy that was felt all over Toronto and make it present on campus.

After graduating from U of T, I began my Philosophy degree through the Oratory of St. Phillip Neri and later completed my Theology degree at the Pontifical Urban University in Rome, Italy.  Afterwards, I had the privilege of working as a missionary amongst the poor in the Mongolian desert for almost 3 years. Living in the desert surrounded by little more than sheep and goats was a blessed preparation for the greatest moment of my life which took place on September 1st, 2012.  After 32 years of wrestling with God over my vocation, I was finally ordained a priest at 40 years of age. 

Over the past two years I have been ministering to the St. Clare of Assisi Catholic community in Woodbridge as their Associate Pastor. With 9000 families, about 8,970 more than in the Gobi, it was a great opportunity to return to my first home and share the Gospel and minister to them.   

During this Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, I come among you as both a brother and spiritual father in Christ hoping to build upon the fine work of my predecessors in forming spiritually and intellectually mature Catholics.  It is great blessing to work with a team of staff whose ministry is motivated by a deep love for both Jesus Christ and His Church. 

Only God knows what the future will bring, however, as our Patron Blessed Cardinal Newman’s famous prayer “Some Definitive Purpose” states:

God has created me to do Him some definite service

He has committed some work to me which He has

not committed to another

I have my mission.

May the grace of the Lord be upon each of us as we grow as “fellow workers in the truth” (3 Jn: 8)

In Christ,

Father Peter Turrone


(July 2016)

Erin Kinsella, Director of Campus Ministry

My name is Erin Kinsella, and I'm very excited to be part of the team at Newman. I'm the oldest of two kids, and am originally from Ottawa. I went to Dalhousie university and I have a degree in Microbiology and Immunology with a minor in philosophy. Although I have lots of different interests, I really enjoy movies and the arts, board games, and travelling.

I grew up Catholic, but fell away from the faith in university. After doing some grad work in Texas, I returned to Orangeville (where my family was at the time) and became involved in the local parish community. After learning more and more about the truths of the Faith, I experienced a profound reconversion during the Sacrament of Reconciliation. This experience has given me a deep desire to share the unconditional love of Christ that I experienced, and the past 10 years have been spent both growing in my knowledge of the Faith and my love of Christ. I look forward to meeting you...drop by the Newman Centre for a visit!


Alexandra Whittle, Stewardship and Program Coordinator

My name is Alexandra Whittle and I am very excited to be joining the Newman community. I thoroughly enjoy people and understanding different perspectives about why and how we behave as individuals and as a community, which is what led me to complete my degree in Sociology. I further specialized as a Social Services Worker for Immigrants and Refugees in my Postgraduate studies.

I have travelled to Mexico on a social justice trip and also to Jordan to interview and identify refugees for resettlement to Canada through Project Hope which was launched by the Archdiocese of Toronto. I also travelled to Spain for World Youth day in 2011. I have always loved working with people in various settings. I grew up in the Catholic church and was quite involved in different ministries. I am grateful for the ways in which this involvement has been at the core of helping me develop as an individual in this society.

In my free time you can usually find me boxing, at choir practice, painting, reading or outside enjoying the weather and star gazing at night when it is summer weather. I am truly looking forward to contributing to the vision and mission and community of the Newman Centre.



Jennifer Coutinho, Operations and Special Projects Manager

Not everything that happens in life can be explained and this was true of the position at Newman Centre where I felt I should “go and see” what the role was about; I mentioned it to St. Joseph. I did not think that I would work in a faith-based environment given my background in the corporate world, however, I felt drawn to the Catholic side of business. I had to journey - “Let Go and Let God” - to recognize that by trusting in His mercy and love, we find purpose in life.

My background in Business Transformation, Change Management and Telecommunications has prepared me for a “people person” role.  As a Project Management Professional (PMP), I do believe that my passion for Project Management, and experience in end-to-end project delivery, would easily be transferred in managing the day-to-day operations of the Centre as well as special projects.  And, the technical side of me will be ever-present as well!

Drawing from what my parents taught me and the support and encouragement from my family,
I look forward to working with the staff and students at the Centre, as we journey together in implementing the Archdiocese of Toronto’s pastoral plan and growing our campus ministry at the University of Toronto.  And, I need to remember:  “Learn to do thy part and leave the rest to Heaven” - Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman



Anne Skrepichuk, Administrative Assistant

Hello! My name is Anne Skrepichuk and I am very excited to join the Newman Centre community! As a UofT student and continuing afterwards as staff, I was often impressed by the medieval beauty of the buildings of the Newman Centre. Now I am even more impressed by the loveliness of the people who make up this Catholic heart! I look forward to meeting you all in my role as Administrative Assistant.







Maria Da Silva, Communications Coordinator

I immigrated to Canada from India by myself almost a decade ago. The greatest influences in my life have always been God and my parents. My career has spanned three countries - India, U.A.E and Canada and I have worked in the corporate and non-profit communications field.

When I discovered the Newman Centre, I already knew that I wanted to work with a more mission-based approach.  I had volunteered for the Newman Centre and consider myself blessed to be working with a team that is so selfless and dedicated. I am especially inspired by the students and parishioners who share the Newman Centre and bring an amazing sense of true humanity and togetherness. Each one is an ambassador of our patron, Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman who said, “I want the intellectual layman to be religious and the devout ecclesiastic to be intellectual.”

As the Communications Coordinator, I organize, plan and implement communications strategies and infrastructure to promote the mission of the Newman Centre. Each year, I plan, design, edit and produce hundreds of bulletins, newsletters, emails, brochures, appeals, posters, and various promotional material. I am also the social media lead, official photographer and videographer and curate a 40K-and-growing audio-visual library. The promotional mandate covers the Newman parish, chaplaincy and Newman Foundation of Toronto events and activities. Lastly, I assist every member of staff in a variety of requests, including assisting with Masses and related activities. 


Christina Labriola, Music Ministry Director, 11 a.m. Sunday Mass Choir

Hello, Newman community!

My name is Christina Labriola and I am thrilled to be joining you this January as the new Music Ministry director for the 11 a.m. choir. I am a recent graduate of the Master of Sacred Music program at Emmanuel College, and before that, of the Faculty of Music, where I focused primarily on choral conducting and piano. This past fall, I began doctoral studies in theology at Regis College, where I hope to study the intersection of faith and the arts, especially spirituality and music.

Giving voice to my love of God through music is a natural and essential part of my spiritual life. I recognize that all music is a precious gift from God. How better to show gratitude for this gift than to offer it back to God, joining our voices with everything that breathes in the song of praise which began at the very moment of creation! I believe that music and the arts can move us beyond ourselves and point us towards the beauty of God. When we join our hearts and voices in songs of praise and prayer during the Mass, we participate in a profound and important act that is central to the faith life of the community. We reach out to one another, to God, and to the world.

It is my hope to be able to enable this kind of worshipful music-making at the Newman Centre. I am very excited to be a part of the such a vibrant Catholic community, at the heart of the U of T campus. I look forward to meeting, working, and making music to the Lord with you all!



Charlie Min, Music Ministry Director, 7 p.m. Sunday Mass Choir


Samantha Koon, Development Officer

I was hired by the Archdiocese of Toronto to work with the Newman Centre.  I am a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE), and have over a decade of experience raising funds for various charities.  My strength is to formulate fundraising strategies, to put those strategies into action, to cultivate and solicit donors through the art of stewardship, and to build relationships.  

I enjoy working with the supporters of Newman Centre, and I am excited to be part of the Newman team since it gives me an opportunity to serve God with my skills.  I feel the energy of working with the students on campus. I can witness to Newman’s chaplaincy and its programs that help support students in their faith while studying at the University.  I am eager to act as a catalyst between the supporters of Newman Centre and students who are in need.  

Let’s work together to invest in youth and to foster their relationships with God during their studies.  Please call (647) 831-6076 or email to show your support for Newman Centre!  


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