Ruane Remy, The Catholic Register

Ruane Remy, The Catholic Register

Ruane is a former Youth Editor at The Catholic Register. She attended Ryerson University's Master of Journalism program and studied Professional Writing with a Biology minor at York University. Follow her on Twitter @RuaneRemy.

(CORRECTION 24/10/12 to Michael Taylor's job title)

TORONTO - Citizenship and Immigration Canada has granted half-a-million dollars over three years to the University of Toronto for its Religious Diversity Youth Leadership project.

Launched in late September, the program investigates and acts upon the problems and possibilities of living in a religiously diverse society.

“The most important thing the CIC funding was looking for was the kind of projects that would bring together communities that wouldn’t normally be talking to each other,” said Pamela Klassen, professor in the Department for the Study of Religion and director of the Religion in the Public Sphere Initiative.

The project promises to bring together and build networks of communication between students, faculty, community leaders and youth in the Greater Toronto Area. It is run by the U of T’s Multi-Faith Centre for Spiritual Study and Practice, the Religion in the Public Sphere Initiative and the Centre for Community Partnerships. The project aims to raise awareness on how religious diversity and civic responsibility are connected and to work against exclusion and marginalization.

“We put in a proposal, the RPS, together with the Centre for Community Partnerships and the Multi-Faith Centre that was focussed on a university-based project that would take students out into the community and bring various community organizations in contact with students and with the wider university,” Klassen said.

The project has three main activities. The religious diversity youth training activity will have U of T students enrolled in a service-learning certificate program, which is meant to prepare them for serving in diverse communities, including religious communities.

In the next category of activity, academic and service-learning community partnerships, young adults will work in community organizations or university departments to see first-hand how civic responsibility and religious diversity play out in real-world situations.

“Just as our society becomes more diverse, our responses to spiritual and religious care should evolve with it,” said panelist Michael A. Taylor, Regional Manager with the Ontario Multifaith Council and a mental health professional. “A nation that accepts diversity should accept the entire diversity of a person.”

The third category of activity is the public forums and community research workshops. This connects policy makers, scholars, community leaders, practitioners and students.

The first forum was held on Sept. 27, the day the project launched. Titled “Care of Souls and the Soul of Care,” the forum lasted two days and was held to discuss the successes and failures of religion in publicly funded health care and the challenges religious diversity poses for biomedical health care.

On day two of the forum, the community research workshop brought together palliative care doctors, neonatologists, nurses, executives, hospital chaplains, scholars and students.

“What happens when a young baby dies in an ICU in the hospital and it’s a Muslim baby and the parents don’t want to wash the body, but the nurse thinks the body must absolutely be washed,” said Klassen, recalling the events of the workshop. “How do they negotiate those very emotionally fraught kinds of questions and understand what kinds of compromises the health care system can and cannot make to accommodate religious concerns?”

Future forums will address gender and sexuality in religious communities, youth violence and religious identity, as well as religion and the arts.

MARKHAM, ONT. - A new youth study group aims to help young Catholics find answers to their questions about faith.

The Salesian Sisters are inviting Toronto-area youth age 15 to 35 to study the youth catechism from October to July. Sr. Corazon Beboso will be running the program at the Don Bosco Centre in Markham.

“The Catechism of the Catholic Church is more for adults, for bishops, for priests,” said Beboso, who calls it “very theological.” In contrast, the YouCat, or youth catechism, targets youth to deepen their faith.

Pope Benedict XVI presented the YouCat as a gift to World Youth Day 2011 pilgrims in Madrid, Spain.

“The YouCat study group is not a training program. It’s not a prayer group,” she said. “It is a young adult-led discussion sharing session wherein they come, they bring their questions, they bring whatever impact the world has on them... (and) they place it at the table for discussion depending on the topic that we have chosen.”

But Beboso promises prayer will be incorporated.

“There’s a bit of fun too because we have to make use of the things that are happening around, and then afterwards we pray, we stop and say what does the catechism say?” she said.

The study group is an offshoot of a discernment program that started last year. Called Duc in Altum (put out into the deep), the title is based on Luke 5:4-11, which refers to going farther to catch fish.

“So for us the fish that we want to catch with these young adults is know yourself, know your relationship with God, know your faith, know the Church and what the Church expects from you,” Beboso said.

After the discernment program, the participants wanted to know what was next.

“I said why don’t we make this study group as a response to the invitation of the Holy Father to make 2012-2013 the Year of Faith.” And so the YouCat study group was developed.

Beboso hopes the program will help participants figure out “how our quest for the truth is wrapped in the language of young people’s experiences today.”

Registration is $30 for the entire program. The price includes a copy of the YouCat and the balance is a participant’s contribution to the program. But those who come with their own print or e-book copies are asked to make a small donation. Currently, lists 19 sessions at about two sessions a month, the first of which was held on Oct. 1.

Beboso believes youth are attracted to this type of group not only because they are looking for precise answers to the questions they have about the faith.

“They’re also attracted because there are other young people who are searching like them,” she said. “They don’t have the language... to express the faith. They know mentally because many of them are cradle Catholics... So they want to study together with others.”

King City, Ont. - Every time Werner Scheliga drives away from a weekend at Marylake’s Our Lady of Grace Shrine, he leaves feeling enriched and enlightened. But 55 retreats ago, enrichment and enlightenment were not his primary concern.

It was 1956 and Scheliga had recently arrived in Canada from Germany. At just over 20 years old, he hardly spoke a word of English and knew no one. Before he left his homeland, where he was a Catholic youth leader, he was given only one name to contact — Fr. Schindler at St. Patrick’s Church in downtown Toronto.

TORONTO - Sr. Mary Rose McGeady, who took over Covenant House for homeless youth after its founder was accused of financial and sexual improprieties, will be remembered in Toronto as a tireless, enthusiastic and passion- ate role model, said Carol Howes.

Howes, director of Program Services at Covenant House in downtown Toronto, said Sr. McGeady “had the needs of the kids first and foremost and that’s what drove all of her decisions around where the agency went.”

Sr. McGeady, who ran Covenant House from 1990 to 2003, died of respiratory failure in Albany, N.Y., on Sept. 13. She was 84.
After Covenant House was rocked by financial and sexual scandal, Sr. McGeady stepped in and is credited with rescuing the organization, restoring its resources and reputation.

A member of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, during her time as Covenant House president, the number of homeless young people served by the international network doubled annually.

According to Howes, Sr. McGeady inspired Covenant House staff to do more for the kids they worked with.

“I was always really impressed that when she would come to speak to our staff or our donors, she always had some kind of personal story to tell about the kids,” Howes said.

She recalls Sr. McGeady’s habit of meeting youth in elevators, for example, casually speaking to them about their lives and following up when she ran into them at a later date.

“She really did stay very connected to what challenges the kids were dealing with. And that was helpful in terms of helping all of us find ways to be supportive to the kids. “

Sr. McGeady was in her mid-60s when she became president and kept in touch with each Covenant House through travels to countries where Covenant House programs operate.
“She really had a passion for expanding services as much as possible because she was hearing about need all over the place, both here in Canada, across some other (U.S.) states and in Central America,” said Howes.

During her tenure, Covenant House expanded its reach dramatically, with new crisis shelters, street outreach and long-term residential programs for homeless youth.

“Here in Canada, we felt that she was very instrumental in allowing us to expand our services through the purchase of an additional building so we could have transitional housing, our rights of passage program for youth, and that allowed us to have a space for our school program and our job centre program.”

She was a strong advocate who saw need and acted upon it, said Howes. And that’s why there is also a Covenant House in Vancouver.

Covenant House now reaches more than 57,000 children and youth in six countries each year.

Sr. McGeady was born June 28, 1928, in Hazelton, Pa., and worked with children for more than 40 years before joining Covenant House. Howes said Sr. McGeady “would want to be re- membered for the impact that she had on the lives of young people and how she helped them turn their lives around.”

(With files from Catholic News Service.)

TORONTO - Sacrifice and temptation are common among priests in the fictional shantytown of Villa Maria in the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires. But director Pablo Trapero is intent on art imitating life in White Elephant.

The film focuses on two priests of the Third World Church who are somewhat isolated from the larger Church body because they live and work in slums. They are devoted to helping Argentina’s poor like their predecessors in the 1960s and ’70s, but do not always live the holiest of lives.

“I like to put the camera in their lives because they are unknown,” said Trapero, who was in Toronto mid-September for the screening of White Elephant at the Toronto International Film Festival. The film is in Spanish, with English subtitles.

Though he emphasizes the movie is fictional, Trapero felt it was important to give the priests, social workers and numerous others working a space to show what it means to exist in the slums of his homeland.

The film gets its title from a real White Elephant, a still-unfinished hospital in the Argentinian slum known as the Hidden City. The hospital was meant to be the largest of its kind in all of South America when on-again off-again construction began in the 1930s, but now the homeless turn to it for shelter. For Trapero, the hospital symbolizes “this idea of the dream that became a nightmare.”

This theme of lost hope is not limited to architecture, but is perpetually emphasized in the priests’ lives. Fr. Julián (Ricardo Darín) is what a Third World priest should be: dedicated and unselfish. Coming from a well-off family, he chose to spend years living with the people he ministers to.

“He has the luxury to decide to be poor,” Trapero said.

Fr. Julián uses his influence with the higher-ups of the Church to try to gain resources for the people in the slum. To do so, he must travel to the nearby urban centre, demonstrating that the divide between rich and very poor is a short car ride away.

Back in the slums, he tries to diplomatically navigate a world of warring drug lords and police that divide his flock and endanger the youth he tries so hard to protect. But after years in the slums, he is ill and, now facing his own mortality, struggles to suppress feelings of bitterness and anger.

Fr. Nicolás (Jérémie Renier) is the younger, cooler priest, originally from France, who the youth admire and who crosses a line Fr. Julián believes priests shouldn’t in a dangerous slum. Fr. Nicolás comes to Villa Maria after a violent incident in the Amazon. He suffers from survivor’s guilt and believes he doesn’t deserve God’s love. Though he turns to Fr. Julián, a long-time friend and his confessor, for spiritual guidance, he also turns to social worker Luciana (Martina Gusman) for physical comfort.

According to Trapero, Fr. Nicolás follows intuition more than rules and thinks too much of his needs, rather than the needs of others.

“You know when you should do something, but you decide not to do it,” Trapero said in reference to Fr. Nicolás.

But White Elephant is nothing like the 1983 American mini-series The Thorn Birds, where a priest is torn between his ecclesiastical goals and his love of a woman. Fr. Nicolás feels no guilt about his relations with Luciana, said Trapero.

“They are trying to be close and support each other in their life, but they are not pretending they will have a family.”

Trapero’s film does not hold priests to a holier-than-thou standard, but portrays them as men who chose a difficult vocation and who deal with it in their own imperfect ways.

Trapero shines light on life in all its misery. The scenes in White Elephant appear as if they were filmed slowly, when really life happens in such a steady pace. And as a result, the film is dull at times, like the monotony of life can be, yet the scenes of sorrow, death and passion are more prolonged and pronounced.

“Love is what they are trying to understand, not just love about God or about a woman,” Trapero said. “Everything they do is moved by love.” It is love that has Fr. Julián and Fr. Nicolás risking their lives for the youth of Villa Maria.

“It’s easy to be a martyr. To be a hero too,” said Fr. Julián. “The hardest thing is working day after day knowing your work is meaningless.”

And that is the question that lingers once the film is finished: In the face of dreams turned to nightmares, is their work meaningless or is the fact that there are priests who continue to work tirelessly in the slums hope enough?

The Catholic Register is pleased to introduce our new Youth Speak News team. These 14 young people were selected from a record number of applicants to The Register's successful YSN program.

Lianne Milan Bernardo

Lianne Milan Bernardo
Hometown: Toronto, Ont.
Education: Master's degree in European, Russian and Eurasian Studies from Carleton University.

Marie Boston

Marie Boston
Age: 24
Hometown: Calgary, Alta.
Education: Third-year fine arts and drama student at the University of Calgary.

Tristan Bronca

Tristan Bronca
Age: 20
Hometown: King City, Ont.
Education: Fouth-year journalism student with a history minor at Carleton University.

Emma Brown

Emma Brown
Age: 19
Hometown: Orillia, Ont.
Education: Second-year journalism student at Carleton University.

Zack Candy

Zack Candy
Age: 21
Hometown: Lanark, Ont.
Education: Third-year English student at the University of Ottawa.

Caroline D'Souza

Caroline D'Souza
Age: 15
Hometown: Toronto, Ont.
Education: Grade 11 International Baccalaureate student at Blessed Pope John Paul II.

Camilo Guzman

Camilo Guzman
Age: 20
Hometown: Toronto, Ont. Education: Former religious studies student at I.V.E Seminary.


Beatriz Jereza
Education: Second-year journalism student at Ryerson University.

Suzanne Joanes

Suzanne Joanes
Hometown: Brampton, Ont. Education: First-year Concurrent Education student at Queens Uni- versity.

Jean Ko Din

Jean Ko Din
Hometown: Thornhill, Ont. Education: Third-year journalism student at Ryerson University.

Francis Olaer

Francis Olaer
Hometown: Guelph, Ont. Education: Grade 12 student at St. James Catholic High School.

Darren Pereira

Darren Pereira
Hometown: Toronto, Ont. Education: Grade 12 student at Brebeuf College School.

Reagan Reese Seidler

Reagan Reese Seidler
Hometown: Saskatoon, Sask. Education: Political Science graduate student at the University of Saskatchewan.

Terence Wong

Terence Wong
Hometown: Richmond Hill, Ont. Education: Fouth-year history and political studies student at Queens University.


































BRAMPTON, ONT. - A group of Brampton high school students are finding out if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen — and away from the cameras.

Rogers TV is going into the kitchen at Brampton’s Cardinal Leger Secondary School where hospitality and tourism students star in a new reality TV series, Cardinal’s High School Cafe. The show features Grade 12 students operating all aspects of an upscale bistro, and it’s not just the kitchen that gets heated.  

The show first aired on Sept. 3, the opener of a six-episode season that features mainly five students, one per episode, and the challenges and struggles they encounter on the job and with each other. Episode six is the season finale where the students cook at their principal’s house for administrators. It airs Oct. 8.

“I want to keep the suspense, but all sorts of things go wrong on that episode,” said Kerry Greco, the show’s community producer and the school’s hospitality and tourism teacher.  

Greco, after 20 years experience in the hospitality and tourism industry, including owning her own pub and restaurant, started teaching English when she first entered the education field. But when she realized that tourism and hospitality would be offered, she wanted to make students aware of the opportunities available to them.

She had approached Rogers about giving students a chance to show off their culinary skills, which landed students the gig of cooking demonstrations on daytime. Then Greco pitched the idea of reality TV.

“Students who are not always successful in the traditional academic environment can really thrive in the hospitality program,” Greco said.

The first student to be featured on the show, Chris Kelloway, discovered the joy of cooking at age 10.
In Grade 10, he enrolled in the Hospitality and Tourism Specialist High Skills Major program and stayed until Grade 12.

“I just had a passion for cooking and putting all my creativity into dishes I had made,” he said.

At the bistro, Kelloway and the students in the program served students, faculty and local community members, including seniors from a nearby residence.

Greco tapped into funds available for students enrolled in the Specialist High Skills Major in hospitality and tourism, and that’s how the cafe, equipped with an industrial kitchen, was built.

“They learn what it is to actually serve in the exact same manner that they would if they were working in a high-end restaurant,” Greco said, a lesson that includes dealing with conflict in the kitchen.

But Kelloway’s favourite aspect of the experience is how they “all co-existed together in one team” to ensure “customers had a great experience.” He has no regrets.

The biggest challenge the students faced, running a fast-paced restaurant, remains the same whether or not they were on camera, said Greco.

“There’s always challenges with making sure that the food is executed to the tables properly and the service is executed properly.”

But the cameras did cause additional stress.

“The best part of the program is that it forces students to really be the star of their own life.

“If you’re there and you’re on camera doing the show, you’re accountable for everything you do,” Greco said.

Off-camera, one of Greco’s past students went on to attend Chef Gordon Ramsay’s culinary academy in London that offers a Cordon Bleu diploma. And since filming season one of the show between February and June, his last semester at Cardinal Leger, Kelloway has graduated and is now beginning his career in culinary management at George Brown College.

“My most treasured story, the very first graduate from the program was the first from her entire family to graduate from high school.

“And I think that’s why the program is there, because she was able to visualize the success that she could have in a very real way,” Greco said.

The bistro is open every Friday at the school for all three lunches, with quality meals such as New York steak on the menu for about $7 or $8.

Cardinal’s High School Cafe airs Monday nights at 11 p.m.

TV star Nathan McLeod is taking his talents from the small screen to the church.

McLeod will lead the band Look Out Below at the Oratory Youth Concert Sept. 21 at Toronto’s St. Vincent de Paul parish.
Known for his role as Gabe, the hot older brother who loves dishing out girl advice to his younger brothers on YTV’s Life with Boys, McLeod’s abilities go beyond acting. Performing in musical theatre since he was nine, the 18-year-old plays the guitar and piano, but thinks of himself as a singer first when it comes to his musical skills.

These skills will be on full display when McLeod headlines the Oratory Youth Concert.

McLeod is a Catholic and said he was attracted to St. Vincent de Paul’s Latin Mass and has been commuting to Toronto from Oakville to attend the service since last summer. McLeod has performed in other churches before, but this is his first time doing so at St. Vincent de Paul. He plans on performing Christian rock, praise and worship and original songs. 

“Every song that I write has a story behind it and God’s always been a really big part of my life,” said McLeod, “so His influence completely affects what I write about, even in my secular music.”

One of the original songs he plans on performing at the youth concert, “Stand Tall,” is about God helping him through being bullied in elementary school. McLeod will also perform “Unborn Baby,” a song he wrote for his older brother Nicholas. The elder McLeod is active in the pro-life community and is currently studying in seminary with plans to join the priesthood, says his younger brother. 

McLeod first turned to songwriting at age 12 when his grandmother Rose Sliger died of a severe form of Parkinson’s Disease. McLeod recalls Sliger as “the luckiest woman in the world” who would always beat him at board games and who taught him about patience.

“Till her dying day she was the toughest woman I knew. She was for sure a great example for my life,” he said.

“Growing up in music theatre, music was always a big part of my life that when something tragic and something that affected me so much as my grandmother dying, it really encouraged me to want to write her a song, which was the reason I learned the guitar.”

With guitar in hand, McLeod will be playing with Look Out Below, a group of five friends from the Etobicoke School of the Arts. 

“We respect Nathan as a singer,” said band leader Sanjay Parker, who classifies his band’s sound as funk dance music.

Parker says they can’t guarantee they all will play together in the future, “so we want to play as much as we can now.”

The concert, organized by St. Philip Youth, will have young acts performing for their peers.

“I believe God is sending me on this journey of music to be in  a position of power so that I can be a good role model and bring about change,” McLeod said.

Alexandra Jezierski is hoping to enlist the help of 100,000 letter writers to influence Prime Minster Stephen Harper and members of Parliament to support a motion that would open debate on when an unborn child becomes a human being. 

The Grade 12 student from Kingsville, Ont. began her Letters4Life campaign in support of Motion-312, Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth’s private member’s motion to open a debate on when a human life really begins.

“We’re hoping it (Motion-312) will help Canada to recognize the humanity of our unborn children,” Jezierski said.

The goal is to send 100,000 letters to the prime minister and MPs asking them to vote in favour of Woodworth’s motion. The letters are tracked online where visitors to the Letters4Life web site can input the number of letters they have sent. By late August, the online letter count was just above 58,000.

Visitors to Jezierski’s site can also choose from two available letter templates: one specifically for Motion-312, the other asking the prime minister to re-open the abortion debate. Jezierski has higher hopes for the effectiveness of the former.

“When Motion-312 came up, I realized that it’s easier to ask our government to do something in increments,” said Jezierski, “and asking them to support Motion-312 is a lot easier than asking them to end abortion.”

She was inspired by a pro-life letter-writing effort by the Teenage Life Club in the United States, a group of high school girls attempting to have one million letters sent to the U.S. government by November in their Stand Up for Life Campaign. 

The second hour of debate on Motion-312 will be held on Sept. 21, the first Friday after Parliament resumes for the fall session. The Letters4Life deadline is Sept. 26, when the vote on Motion-312 is expected to be held.

Woodworth put the private member’s motion forth earlier this year.

“I think that many people think it’s going to solve the abortion question, and it certainly won’t do that,” Woodworth told The Catholic Register.

Motion-312 is meant to create a committee that will focus on scientific evidence and testimony of medical professionals on the development of a child in the womb. For example, “neurologists can testify about the point at which a child’s brain function can be recorded,” said Woodworth. “An anatomist can talk about the development of a child’s organs and limbs before birth.” 

Currently, subsection 223(1) of Canada’s Criminal Code says a child becomes a human being only after birth.

“My goal and deep abiding belief is that no civilized country, including Canada, should tolerate a law like subsection 223(1), which dehumanizes and excludes and condemns any class of person,” Woodworth said.

He had the motion delayed when his mother fell ill last May. “When the vote came up in June, I didn’t feel quite capable of proceeding with the second hour of debate,” he said.

Woodworth’s mother died in late August, but he’s expecting to be able to proceed with the motion as presently scheduled.  

Woodworth is not surprised that youth have supported Motion-312.

“This is an issue which does tend to engage idealism and thank goodness youth possess idealism,” he said.   

Jezierski said the numbers of youth who have rallied behind her campaign is “unbelievable.” She and her peers also host letter-writing parties, where they meet their goal for the event, 100 letters for example, while listening to pro-life music.

There is a core of about 10 Letters4Life members and their main goal is to involve churches and write to bishops. Jezierski cites six bishops as her supporters. Though she is Catholic and so are most of the campaign supporters, she said Letters4Life has multi-faith support.

“I’m grateful for Alexandra’s support and the support of the many thousands of people across Canada who share with me a desire to see an unjust law at least looked at and discussed,” Woodworth said.

However, he does not want to set parameters on the discussion. “I genuinely want people to look at this with open minds and hearts.” 

Whether the motion passes, Woodworth’s advice for Jezierski is, “Canadians at large should understand that no important issue rises or falls on a single vote in the House of Commons.”

In her anti-abortion campaign and in support for Motion-312, Jezierksi has met with hostility online. She said pro-choice supporters threatened her team with “cannibalism and death” over Facebook.

“Unborn children, it’s their lives that we are fighting for, so whatever inconveniences arise, it just makes us more passionate because we know that the unborn children, they’re the most important.”

August 31, 2012

Mission: Apostle

This article was amended on Sept. 26, 2012 to remove a quote attributed to Fr. Carlos Martins.

TORONTO - York University students now have the option of a new extracurricular activity: Catholic campus evangelization.

York’s Catholic chaplaincy launched Apostles on Mission this summer, a six-session program designed to teach students how to minister at the university. Planned and run by chaplain Fr. Carlos Martins and associate pastor Fr. Ben St. Croix, the program targets “the more spiritually mature students,” Martins said. But the invitation remains open and any student is free to join.

These student evangelizers “are going to minister on campus and be an extension of the Catholic chaplaincy in the hallways and in the corridors,” Martins said.

The curriculum covered the Catholic Church’s teaching on evangelization, what exactly evangelization is, why evangelize, whom to evangelize and elements of how to pray. Misconceptions of the Catholic Church and how to defend the faith were included. The sessions also covered effective ways to give a testimony and how to start a conversation with a stranger. It’s about “how to approach somebody in a situation where you don’t know the person and to do so in a way that makes the person you’re approaching comfortable and feel safe,” Martins said. “We (Martins and St. Croix) are members of the Companions of the Cross. This is our bread and butter.”

York has about 55,000 students. Its main Keele campus is where the Apostles on Mission will volunteer a minimum of two to four hours a week, but Martins promises that the skills learned through the sessions can be applied anywhere.

This month, the Apostles on Mission will begin to to provide Catholic resources and provide information on what the chaplaincy has to offer. The students also have the option of running Bible studies.

“We’re trying to make people aware that there is something here that is being offered that they may appreciate and desire,” said Martins. He does not want people to be treated as potential converts, with their individuality disregarded as a result.

The plan is “we’re throwing seed out,” said Martins.

“Undergirding our belief here at the chaplaincy is the belief of the Church that God has prepared the hearts of those who will receive His message to respond to Him.”

The sixth session took place on Aug. 23 and allowed participants to practise their conversion story or testimony. 

Lolita Akimana was looking for a Catholic student group when she joined the chaplaincy at York. She has been to two Apostles on Mission sessions. She is unsure how she is going to approach students, but feels ready to share the word of God. In her conversion story or testimony, she spoke about growing up in the African country of Burundi. 

“I used to go to church with friends, but I didn’t really know God,” she said.

She has four siblings and her father died before she was born. Akimana asked Jesus to be her father and He provided, she said. For her, God no longer seems abstract.

Akimana’s testimony, said Martins, is an example of Christ filling a need in one person’s life.

Martins anticipates the student evangelizers will face two main challenges: time and lack of confidence. The pressures of school leave students little free time, he acknowledged. And though he’s never encountered hostility on campus in the year that he’s worked at York, evangelizers will need self-assurance to help them deal with any hostility or potentially bad experiences.

“They’ll come away learning about themselves and learning about the faith,” Martins said.

The main Apostles on Mission sessions have been recorded with the hope of making them available to students as a training program. And interest from students who were unable to be on campus during the summer has Martins interested in training more students during the academic year.

“Students have risen to the challenge,” he said.