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.

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.

TORONTO - A treasure that was buried for centuries within the Vatican walls will soon be on public display thanks to a triumph of local archeology and Canadian philanthropy.

The Canadian chapter of the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums will travel to the Vatican Museums in October to celebrate its role in the restoration of the Santa Rosa necropolis, a Roman cemetery of significant archeological and historical value. The patrons have donated about $1 million to the restoration cause.

Discovered by accident in 2003 when a parking lot was being expanded, the necropolis was a burying ground mainly for slaves, servants and Rome’s lower classes.

TORONTO - The Canadian Augustinian Centre for Social Justice is part of a multi-faith partnership that will sponsor an upcoming forum on housing and homelessness.

Taking place Sept. 20 at the Multifaith Centre at the University of Toronto, the centre is partnering with the North American Muslim Foundation and the MultiFaith Alliance to End Homelessness to activate and model peaceful and collaborative multi-faith approaches to social justice in Toronto, said Augustinian Centre director Brian Dwyer.

“We want to open up dialogue among diverse religious groups about shared experiences with homelessness and poverty,” said Dwyer.

TORONTO - Andrew Santos recently landed a full-time position at Salt + Light Television as an associate producer. A former member of the Youth Speak News team, Santos says YSN played a huge role in forming his vocation as a journalist.

Santos, now 21, says his YSN editors always challenged him to think outside the box and to be as creative as possible.

“And to this day, I still find myself exercising great care when it comes to my work.”

And with a new year of Youth Speak News kicking off, another team of young writers will have the same opportunity to jump headfirst into Catholic journalism.

TORONTO - The health of those who are “vulnerably housed” is just as poor as the homeless, says a recent study from researchers at Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital.

The study found that more than 85 per cent of homeless people have chronic health conditions and more than half have a mental health problem. But those who are “vulnerably housed” — meaning they live in unsafe, unstable or unaffordable housing — have equally poor or worse health than those with no housing at all, found the study published in the International Journal of Public Health last month.

“It’s something that’s not as visible to us because we don’t see them on the street,” said Dr. Stephen Hwang, principal investigator of the study and a physician-researcher at the hospital’s Centre for Research on Inner City Health.

TORONTO - Noelle Munaretto knew it was time to find a full-time job after graduating from Ryerson University.

Influenced by the sudden media hype Twitter was attracting, she decided to sign up and, within 24 hours, was following about 300 people.

By following the people that her existing contacts followed, Munaretto, a Catholic, was led to a tweet advertising a position she was interested in. And by August, she had a job as operations manager at the Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance.

The Internet and social media are critical in the job hunt, said Friar Richard Riccioli, former pastor at St. Bonaventure Church in Toronto and current director of Francis Corps, a young adult volunteer experience in Syracuse, N.Y.

To counter the partying that goes hand-in-hand with FROSH week at post-secondary institutions, campus chaplaincies offer students something a little different.

At King's University College at the University of Western Ontario, the campus chaplaincy will be holding a prayer service to welcome students back to school.

"It's a prayer service instead of Mass because we want it to be inclusive for all our students who may not be Catholic," said campus minister Sr. Susan Glaab.

The service will involve some quiet reflection, some Taizé prayer, singing and sharing in small groups, said Glaab.

Campus chaplaincy will also be there on Labour Day as an unofficial welcoming committee, as the students move into residence, to answer any last-minute questions and offer support to both students and parents, she said. Glaab said it's important for campus chaplaincies to hold FROSH events — particularly when they're affiliated with a larger university — so students know there's a place they can go on campus for support, space and some much-needed quiet.

"It's very important because during FROSH week they're just bombarded with everything and, for a lot of students, that can be an overwhelming experience," said Glaab. "Some adapt to it right away but others need more balance in their lives… so we're there to offer that and promote our Catholicity."

robotTORONTO - A team from Blessed Mother Teresa Catholic Secondary School in Scarborough recently won the top prize at this year’s National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Design Competition in Rochester, N.Y.

Beating out 10 other teams from New York State, the all-girls robotics team designed and built a robot which had to pick up as many white cans as possible from their field positions on an obstacle course and place them in the “finish box” within a three-minute period. “We were the only team competing from Canada,” said Mary Charles Hills, one of the team’s teacher advisors.