Sorin rector leaving for East Africa
By MAUREEN SMITHE
Assistnat News Editor
When Father Steve Newton took the position as Sorin rector 11 years ago, he never anticipated staying long. As for next year, when he leaves the Golden Dome for East Africa, he plans on an extended stay.
"I'll be there for at least three years," Newton said. "However, I suspect this [visit] will [last] the rest of my life."
Specifically, Newton will be exploring treatment options for Africans struggling with addiction, a job similar to the one he now holds as executive director of Life Treatment Center in South Bend. "The problem rates are the same as they are here, but there are no treatment programs," he said, noting that he discovered this during his first visit there.
After Newton presented his suggested solutions for the poverty-stricken region and formed a federation to provide direct assistance to those who need it most, he still felt as if he could do more.
"I realized the need was strong and I was being called to help," he said. "As a Christian, I am obligated to."
Newton will concentrate his efforts in Uganda and Kenya. He will live "with the Holy Cross Community in Jinga, Uganda" in accommodations that lack "the comforts of my suite at Sorin Hall."
On a previous visit to the region, Newton spent five days in Nairobi without running water.
"The life of a priest in Africa is just a little better than the life of an ordinary person there," Newton said.
Despite his excitement, Newton will miss the life he has established here.
"I will miss very much the people," he said. "I've met the best people of my life at Sorin."
Students that live with Newton express similar sentiments.
"I think his leaving stinks from a selfish point of view because he is the coolest rector you could have," said sophomore Timothy Fallon. "But, in the bigger view, he is being put to much better use of who he is and what he can do."
"I think we all will miss him. My roommates and I think he is a great guy," said freshman Mike Crnich.
Newton plans on occasional returns to the United States, primarily for fundraising. Despite the distance, Newton said he will maintain strong contact with his friends at Notre Dame.
"Now with e-mail it will be easier," he said.
At this point, Newton does not know who will be the next Sorin rector.
All News Stories for Friday, December 3, 1999