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 - 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.

VICTORIA, B.C. - As it celebrates its first anniversary since formation on Feb. 13, 2011, the Catholic Women’s League (CWL) chapter at the University of Victoria (UVic) is young in more ways than one. 

The second university-based CWL chapter in Canada, all the members of the UVic CWL are under the age of 30.

“We’re really excited to have women establishing CWLs on university campuses,” said Velma Harasen, the CWL’s national president. “Their youth voice brings a whole new perspective to the League.”

TORONTO - Spiritan Father Edward Graham, who taught for many years in Spiritan schools, passed away Jan. 26 at the age of 88. He was in his 62nd year of the priesthood with the Spiritans.

“He was a brilliant person,” said Fr. Paul McAuley, a fellow Spiritan who had known him for about 30 years. “He was very kind and lived very simply.”

TORONTO - Everything Jim Gregory has in life is a result of his association with Toronto’s St. Michael’s College School, he said.

Serving the NHL today as senior vice president of hockey operations, Gregory is one of six alumni being inducted into the Order of St. Michael this year, the highest honour St. Michael’s College School can bestow on a member of its community.

“I look up to the people who they have in the Order of St. Michael and never dreamt I’d be considered for it,” said Gregory, 76. “So when I was called, it was an unbelievable surprise.”

TORONTO - With the busy schedule of a university student, Vanessa Nicholas-Schmidt was finding it difficult to fit prayer into her regular routine during her school years.

To remedy this, her spiritual director suggested she get creative, recommending a variety of different prayer styles.

“She said Jesus is not expecting the friendship to look any one way,” said Nicholas-Schmidt, program director at Faith Connections, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto’s youth ministry. “How can we talk to Jesus in a way that fits in with our lives no matter where we are on the journey?”

TORONTO - Natalie Wong is the first-place winner of the Friar’s Essay Contest sponsored by the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement and The Catholic Register for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

High school students between the ages of 14 and 18 were asked to submit an essay no longer than 500 words answering the question: “What must be changed in order to attain Christian unity in the Church?”

Students were asked to reflect on the Scripture passage of 1 Corinthians 15:51-58, given the theme for this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Jan. 18-25: “We will all be changed.”

TORONTO - Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird met with a group of religious leaders in Toronto Jan. 18 to continue discussions on the soon-to-launch Office of Religious Freedom.

“The only thing the minister said is that this office is for religious minorities abroad — not at home — and it has a budget of $5 million,” said Imam Abdul Hai Patel, who was in attendance at the consultation.

But there was not a clear answer as to how this is going to be enforced, he said.

TORONTO - More than 20,000 pamphlets were dropped in mailboxes at homes across Ontario as part of the “De-Fund Abortion Pamphleting Blitz” on Jan. 14.

The aim was to raise awareness among taxpayers that their tax dollars are providing abortion services in the province.

“It works at the grassroots level to spread awareness about… abortion funding to motivate and activate the everyday person to contact their MPP,” said Alissa Golob, youth co-ordinator at Campaign Life Coalition, who ran the event.

TORONTO - Timothy Keslick has had a spiritual director for the past three years — and he nows sees his faith as a joy, something to be embraced. 

“It’s good to freshen and strengthen your spiritual life and make sure you’re on the right track… It’s just getting into the habit of being more open to whatever God has in store,” said Keslick, a second-year history and linguistics student at Toronto’s York University.

While spiritual direction is commonly associated with adults, there are many young adults who seek it too, said Vanessa Nicholas-Schmidt, director of Faith Connections, the young adult ministry of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto. Faith Connections connects young adults with spiritual directors.