August 18, 2021
The University of St. Michael’s College is pleased to announce that Sonal Castelino has been appointed the University’s new Director of Campus Ministry. Castelino began her duties remotely from France in mid-August, and will arrive on campus for the start of the fall semester.
“Sonal is a perfect fit for St. Michael’s as we continue to revitalize our Campus Ministry to reach out to the needs of all students, faculty, staff and alumni,” says University President David Sylvester. “She appreciates how important a time the university years are for spiritual development and she is keen to offer her support and guidance to students of all faiths as they encounter life’s big questions. Though her work will be on the front lines (look for her new office next to the COOP), Sonal will also be a member of the senior leadership team of St. Mike’s, helping to move our community forward on the strategic initiatives identified in St. Mike’s 180. We are delighted she will be working with us.”
It was while a commerce student at the University of Toronto’s Mississauga campus that Castelino first became involved in campus ministry, asking questions about her Catholic faith. As her questions and desire to grow deeper in her faith increased, she enrolled in the Master of Divinity (MDiv) program at Regis College, also earning a certificate in pastoral competence.
After graduation, she worked at the Newman Centre as Associate Director of Formation, where her duties included creating the Faith and Reason Lecture series and developing a Rite of Christian Initiation of Adult (RCIA) program. The experience helped her establish key connections, including the Archdiocese of Toronto and Canadian Catholic Campus Ministry.
More recently, Castelino worked as the Recruiter and Student Life Coordinator at Regis College, where she created a mentorship program, helped with campus visits, worked with students to form reading groups, and co-handled the College’s social media platforms. She also served as co-Chair of the board of the Jesuit Volunteers. She recently completed her first vows with La Xavière Missionnaire du Christ Jésus.
Describing herself as a “relational” person with an open-door policy, Castelino is keen to work with students who are making the transition from an adolescent approach to faith to a more mature adult faith.
“The university experience is a human experience. I want to create a space where people can name their needs,” she explains. “The experience of encounter is important in my life, and I want to create a space that is inclusive rather than exclusive.”
Castelino envisions many ways to make this happen, ranging from working with MDiv students who are engaged in field placements to broaden the scope of Campus Ministry and earn the practical experience they need for their degrees, to arranging a lecture series based on a dialogue between disciplines, in keeping with St. Michael’s commitment to innovative interdisciplinary academic programming.
Fr. Morgan Rice, CSB, pastor of St. Basil’s Parish and a member of the search committee that selected Castelino, notes that “St. Mike’s has been blessed with contributions from members of various religious communities throughout its long history. Having recently made first vows with La Xavière Missionnaire du Christ Jésus’ Sonal will bring her particular experience of community life and prayer as well as her community’s charism into her ministry at St. Mike’s. I look forward to seeing how the community life of students, faculty, and staff will be enriched as a result.”
Campus Ministry programming at St. Michael’s is funded, in part, by endowments established by the Basilian Fathers of the University of St. Michael’s College and the McGovern family, and by generous donations from alumni and friends.