Arts News

{mosimage}TORONTO - Robert Galea , a talented guitarist and songwriter, as well as a seminarian from Malta now studying in Australia, played his music for a crowd of 60 people gathered in a small yet welcoming Salt + Light Television studio Jan. 16.

The event, titled Hungry for the Spirit, was a collaborative effort of Salt + Light Television , Civitas, the archdiocese of Toronto and Faith Connections and was filmed for later broadcast on Salt + Light’s concert series Openings.

Developmentally challenged thrive in arts program

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Victor Bernardo breakdances in the middle of the room as about a dozen Don Bosco Catholic High School students cheer him on. It’s a retreat day with high school students at St. Jude’s Academy for the Arts on Weston Road.

Bernardo, 25, has been attending the arts academy, which is a non-profit day program for developmentally challenged young adults, for several years.

Vampires made real

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{mosimage}The Twilight series of books may not have sold as many copies as the Harry Potter series over the past decade, but it certainly seems to be taking its place as the new literary candy.

Twilight did however, sell more copies in Canada this past year than Harry Potter books sold during 2007 — the year of the final Harry Potter book release — although the growing fame is where the comparison should stop. Twilight is a different kind of story altogether.

Mining the minds of ancient monks

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Before the Seven Deadly Sins there were the Eight Bad Thoughts. This was the name given by the Desert Fathers of the early church to that swirl of temptations by which the devil sought to drive a wedge between them and God.

Acedia, anger and pride — these were the worst of the eight, thought those proto-monks. They were powerful urges that could drive a spiritual seeker to abandon the quest, give up on holiness and give in to despair.

Toronto teacher short-listed for Giller prize

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Catholic high school teacher Anthony de Sa is receiving high marks for his first book of short stories. It’s been short-listed for the lucrative Giller Prize.

The 40-year-old father of three and head of the English department at Toronto’s Father John Redmond Catholic High School said he was completely caught off guard when he heard the news in early October.

Novalis deal completed

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Bayard Canada has put the finishing touches to a deal that will give it ownership of Novalis, Canada’s largest Catholic book and periodical publisher.

The ink has dried on the deal signed Oct. 1 between Saint Paul University in Ottawa, which owned Novalis, and Bayard of Montreal, which since 2000 has been handling the distribution and marketing of Novalis books and magazines.

Unknown facts unveiled in Pope John Paul II film

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{mosimage}VATICAN CITY - Pope John Paul II was lightly wounded by a knife-wielding priest in Portugal in 1982, one year after a gunman tried to kill him in St. Peter's Square, according to one of the late pope's closest aides.

The disclosure came in a biographical film screened for the first time at the Vatican on Oct. 16, the 30th anniversary of Pope John Paul II's election. Pope Benedict XVI and many of the world's bishops were in attendance.

'Sheen Affair' on tap for Somerville election

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{mosimage}TORONTO - A slice of American-Canadian relations, examined in the battle to get Bishop Fulton Sheen on Canadian TV back in the 1950s, will be the subject of the annual Somerville Lecture on Christianity and Communications.

Professor Mark McGowan, historian, author and principal at the University of St. Michael’s College in Toronto, will present the annual lecture on Nov. 6 at Toronto’s Newman Centre and Nov. 7 at St. Jerome’s University in Waterloo.

Hope for Hollywood

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{mosimage}In Hollywood, the mission field is as fertile as the wheat fields in Saskatchewan — or so you might hear from Mark Matthews, the founder of Bibles and Brew.

Bibles and Brew is a group of about 15 men who meet bi-weekly in the throes of Hollywood culture to discuss what it means to be Catholic and to support each other in the faith.

ROM to host Dead Sea Scrolls

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{mosimage}TORONTO - The Royal Ontario Museum has reached out to Israel and back to the beginnings of Christianity and Judaism as we know it to bring the Dead Sea Scrolls to Toronto.

Some of the most significant pieces of the 2,000-year-old writings will be on display at the ROM from June 27, 2009, to Jan. 3, 2010. Scrolls on display will include passages of Genesis, Deuteronomy, Psalms, Isaiah, the War Scroll, the Community Rule and the Messianic Apocalypse.

Praising God in song

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{mosimage}MISSISSAUGA, Ont. - The 19th International Festival of Religious Song in Mississauga will bring both professional and amateur performances to the stage in competitions this year.

The festival, originally started by members of the Polish Catholic community and promoted by Catholic Radio Toronto, is meant to encourage musical talent, especially for use in praising God. The new professional category this year will provide a place for more established Catholic musicians to compete, whereas everyone previously competed on the same level.