Vanessa Santilli-Raimondo, The Catholic Register

Vanessa Santilli-Raimondo, The Catholic Register

Vanessa is a communications coordinator in the Office of Public Relations and Communications for the Archdiocese of Toronto and former reporter and youth editor for The Catholic Register. 

You can follow her on twitter @V_Santilli.

TORONTO - Assassinated Pakistani minorities minister Shahbaz Bhatti gave his life for human rights, freedom and democracy. And to mark the one-year anniversary of his death, family, friends and supporters will gather to mark his legacy.

On March 2, International Christian Voice — the Toronto-based human rights organization run by Peter Bhatti, Shahbaz’s brother — is holding a memorial dinner at the Woodbine Banquet and Convention Centre in Toronto. Among those expected to be in attendance are Cardinal Thomas Collins, retired Pakistani Archbishop Lawrence Saldanha, who now lives in Toronto, and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, along with representatives from human rights organizations and community leaders.

TORONTO - Fr. Tom McKillop, who dedicated much of his life to youth ministry, passed away in Toronto Feb. 15. He was in his 84th year, his 48th year in the priesthood.

"I was on fire with enthusiasm, I had finally found my niche," Fr. McKillop was quoted as saying in The Shepherds' Trust newsletter about his work with youth.

TORONTO - Canadian Jesuits, with help from some high school students, are preparing to poke a little fun at themselves through a dinner-theatre production.

Jesuits Served Right: A Jesuit Dinner Theatre will be performed at Toronto’s Brebeuf College School Feb. 25. The project is part of the Jesuits’ celebration of 400 years in Canada.

RICHMOND HILL, Ont. - Artist Antonio Caruso’s Catholic faith has influenced him from a very young age. And as a sculptor and painter, it has had a strong impact on the artist he became and the various religious subjects he pursues.

Growing up in a very religious family in Italy, he lost his father when he was only 13 years old.

“But I always had visions of my father through Jesus,” said Caruso, who moved to Canada permanently with his family in 1995. The artist now lives in Woodbridge, Ont.

TORONTO - About 150 pilgrims from Canada will make their way to Rome to watch history unfold as Archbishop Thomas Collins is elevated to cardinal.

“Any time you can be part of history, people are going to want to experience it live, firsthand, to live it and breathe it,” said Neil MacCarthy, communications director for the archdiocese.

“It’s happened four times in the history of the archdiocese of Toronto. And only 16 times in the history of Canada.”

TORONTO - At their peak in the 1960s, the Sisters of Service had 125 members. But with their numbers down to 20, the congregation decided it was time to plan for their future. For help, they turned to the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto.

On Jan. 25, the Sisters of Service and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto signed a sponsorship agreement wherein the Sisters of St. Joseph will now be responsible for the management and governance of the congregation of the Sisters of Service as long as a Sister of Service lives.

With almost 15 years as the director of education for Waterloo Region’s Catholic schools, Roger Lawler says he’s seen the difference that Catholic schools make. In fact, he’s a better person for it.

“I have seen how an entire school community wraps itself around students and families who are in pain,” Lawler told The Catholic Register.

After years without a permanent location, the diocese of Hamilton Catholic Youth Organization’s Camp Marydale will once again have a home this summer.

A barrier-free park that’s been in the works since 2003, Marydale Park in Mount Hope, Ont., will serve the campers in the summer and be open and accessible year-round.

“When we decided to build it, we decided we weren’t going to just build a park,” said day camp director Karen Hartnett. “We were going to make sure it was accessible to everyone. In 1972, we were one of the first camps in Ontario to fully integrate children with special needs into our programs… so we decided, let’s break down another barrier.”

TORONTO - Emily VanBerkum believes the “interdisciplinary” aspects of her Catholic liberal arts education have made her a well-rounded student.

“It’s very interdisciplinary and it relates to so many disciplines in your life, so many fields like business or politics,” said the fourth-year Christianity and Culture student at Toronto’s University of St. Michael’s College.

The Newman Theological College and St. Joseph’s Seminary communities in Edmonton are glad to be back in the same fold.

To make way for the Anthony Henday Highway, the college and seminary were forced to uproot and build a new home. They have since moved to new state-of-the-art facilities on the Pastoral Centre grounds, the seminary moving into its new home in August 2010, while classes at the college started in January 2011.

“And it’s very good to be back together again,” said Fr. Shayne Craig, rector of St. Joseph’s Seminary and president of Newman Theological College.