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.

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.

Spiritan Father Locky Flanagan tries to lead by example as spiritual director at the Inter-Congregational Seminary, a philosophy seminary in Malawi, Africa.

“I try to look at the seminarians and what they seem to be seeking is to know the Lord and to follow Him and I have to live it out myself,” Flanagan told The Catholic Register from Ireland, where he was attending a niece’s wedding.

Flanagan’s most recent stint in Malawi began in early 2009. But prior to this, he served in the southern African country for 10 years — in the 1980s and then again in 2000.

TORONTO - All too often, people don’t understand how they operate or what their core values are, said Jesuit Father Monty Williams, creator of the fall film series at Toronto’s Regis College.

Exploring the theme “Discernment: Finding God in the World,” the series at the Jesuit college at the University of Toronto will help participants better understand their own value system through looking at how they deal with ethical situations.

“It’s significant today because the value systems that are given to us come from a whole range of ideological standpoints — even within the Church,” said Williams. “So it’s very important for a young person on their spiritual journey to at least have some understanding of what values are becoming incarnate in them.”

TORONTO - For many years, a painting of Christ that sat in storage at the Philadelphia Museum of Art was believed to be a Rembrandt copy.

But there was something about the painting that piqued the curiosity of Canadian art expert Lloyd DeWitt, then the associate curator of the museum’s John G. Johnson Collection. DeWitt since June has been the curator of European art at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto 

Typical of the period, the painting was done on oak. That allowed DeWitt to initiate analysis of the painting using a process called dendrochronology, or “tree ring dating.” He made a remarkable discovery.