Mario Biscardi.

Ordinandi youth event sidelined

  • February 14, 2020

The youth event held each year in conjunction with the Serra Club’s annual Ordinandi Dinner in the Archdiocese of Toronto has fallen victim to the labour struggles between the province and its teachers’ unions.

The Eighth Ordinandi Youth Event scheduled for March 3 has been cancelled due to the unrest in Ontario schools that has seen teacher unions taking job action in protest against the provincial government as they try to secure a new contract.

“Serra did not wish to compromise the youth-oriented vocations awareness event by proceeding in circumstances that might prevent the six Catholic district school boards and the independent Catholic schools in our archdiocese from being able to fully participate this year,” the Serra Club announced in a notice sent to stakeholders.

The only way the youth event could be revived is to have the teacher unions and government make a deal quickly, said Mario Biscardi, finance chair of the Ordinandi Dinner.

“We’d be more than delighted to reinstate it,” said Biscardi, but the sense is the circumstances surrounding the labour unrest will make that hard to achieve. Organizers would need at least a week’s notice before March 3 to make the event happen.

The 30th annual Ordinandi Dinner that the youth event has partnered with over the previous seven years will still take place that evening at the Pearson Convention Centre in Brampton, Ont. 

The annual dinner is hosted by the Serra Club of Toronto — lay men and women who support a culture of vocations in the Catholic Church — to honour the 13 Ordinandi from St. Augustine’s Seminary and Redemptoris Mater Seminary who will be ordained to the priesthood later this year.

“There’s nothing we can do, and no one to blame, it’s just the current situation doesn’t help us in making this program a success this year,” said Biscardi.

The annual youth event draws between 700-800 students from high schools across the archdiocese. It piggybacks on the annual event to fete future priests by planting the seeds of vocation among high school students. In addition to presentations by the Ordinandi and religious sisters, Cardinal Thomas Collins was also to deliver a talk to the students.

The attendees to the event are selected by the six Catholic boards within the diocesan borders who choose those students who might be thinking of a religious vocation.

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