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.

Instead of asking for candy on Halloween night, students at St. Thomas More Catholic Secondary School in Hamilton will be trick-or-treating for non-perishable food items.

The school will be holding its 12th annual Halloween for Hunger campaign to raise money for the Neighbour to Neighbour Centre with a goal of collecting a record-breaking 70,000 pounds of food.

TORONTO - For Jesuit Father Scott Lewis, writing is a dominant part of his ministry.

A columnist for The Catholic Register for the past eight years, Lewis is the author of the recently published God’s Word on Sunday: Liturgy Reflections from Year B.

“You have to open yourself up to the Spirit when you go to write,” said Lewis on where he gets his inspiration from when he sits down to write his weekly columns. Drawn from his Register columns, God’s Word on Sunday examines the Sunday readings of the 2011-2012 liturgical calendar, a year that focuses on the Gospel of Mark. It follows on the heels of last year’s book on Year A.

Victoria Sullivan travelled to an impoverished village in the Dominican Republic for two weeks to help build houses as a Grade 11 student. She enjoyed it so much, she went back the following year with her family to continue the work she started.

“It was really amazing to see those less fortunate than ourselves but you would never know because of how happy they are,” Sullivan told The Catholic Register.

Citizens, business, government and civil society would do well to strengthen the family because the wealth of nations and the economy is tied to the fortunes of the family, says a new international report.

The bigger your family, the better for the economy, according to the Sustainable Demographic Dividend, co-sponsored by the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada. The report examines the connections between marriage, family and the economy. Published by the Social Trends Institute on Oct. 3, the international report looked at 29 countries.

TORONTO - Lisa LaFlamme’s Catholic faith has helped her learn empathy, the concept of truth and “doing right by another person.”

“Those are the same principles that guide good journalism as far as getting to the truth on something and particularly focusing on the oppressed in the world,” the new chief anchor and senior editor of CTV National News told The Catholic Register.

She has taken these values with her to the prestigious position she assumed Sept. 5 when LaFlamme replaced Lloyd Robertson, the long-time anchor known as Canada’s “most trusted news anchor.”

TORONTO - Ninety-one per cent of Ontarians are unaware publicly subsidized abortions in the province cost taxpayers at least $30 million a year, according to an Abacus Data poll published Oct. 10.

Commissioned by Campaign Life Coalition, and The Interim, the poll Public Funding of Abortion in Ontario also found that 40 per cent of respondents believe abortion should be available but only publicly funded in medical emergencies and 11 per cent feel abortion should be available but not paid for by the province in any situation.

MISSISSAUGA, ONT. - The Resurrection Dance Theatre of Haiti is bringing its musical and dancing talents to the Greater Toronto Area to help it rise out of the rubble of the 2010 Haitian earthquake that devastated much of its home. 

The dance troupe will be coming to Canada as part of its “Rising from the Rubble” tour to raise funds for the rebuilding of its schools, while also bringing awareness to the continued plight of Haitians still recovering from the quake.

“Since the earthquake, it’s more demanding for us to go on tour so we can rebuild our home,” lead dancer Walnes Cangas, 26, told The Catholic Register on the phone from Haiti.

TORONTO - Chef Anthony Rose was at St. Anthony’s Catholic School to show a Grade 1 class how to create a “lunchbox smorgasbord” of healthy foods. 

But first, the Drake Hotel chef had to define the word for his captive audience.

“Smorgasbord means a bit of everything,” Rose told about 20 students at a healthy eating session to shine the spotlight on the importance of student nutrition programs. The Oct. 5 initiative marked the City of Toronto’s Feeding Toronto’s Hungry Students Week which runs from Oct. 3 to 7.

TORONTO - Malaria kills an African child about every 45 seconds. But there’s a simple and cost-effective solution: bed nets. And students at Toronto’s St. Michael’s College School want to raise enough money to protect between 7,500 and 10,000 affected children.

As part of the Spread the Net Challenge, a program co-founded by business leader Belinda Stronach and television personality Rick Mercer in 2006, schools across Canada are competing to raise the most money for the cause. In addition to providing the highest number of bed nets, the winning schools at the elementary, high school and university levels will be featured on an episode of The Rick Mercer Report in March 2012.

Celeah Gagnon spent her summer vacation abroad. But she didn’t spend it tanning in Cuba or backpacking across Europe. For five weeks, she was in Africa helping her grandmother.

Her grandmother is Barbara Michie, a Scarboro Missions lay missioner who is working as a teacher in Malawi at an all-boys Catholic boarding school.

During this time, Gagnon, a Grade 11 student at F.J. Brennan Catholic High School in Windsor, Ont., mended about 300 books in the school library, which her grandmother runs.