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.

The youth are the future of our world — and the Church. That’s why it is my pleasure to introduce myself as the new Youth Editor of Youth Speak News.

YSN is an important section of The Catholic Register: It is a place where young writers can reflect on fundamental issues that matter to us as Catholics, all the while building the writing and communication skills that will be transferable to a wide variety of careers.
Girls at CampMISSISSAUGA, ONT. - The media puts an unbelievable amount of pressure on girls, said Dorothy Pilarski, a Catholic speaker, author and mother. And on March 4 Pilarski hopes to give a voice to girls who aren’t comfortable with all the pressures being thrust upon them.

Taking place at the John Paul II Polish Cultural Centre in Mississauga, Ont., “Calling All Girls” is an event for girls ages 12 to 17. Including talks and group activities, Pilarski will be joined by Colleen Hammond, a Texas-based Catholic speaker and author of Dressing With Dignity. Hammond is also a former beauty pageant winner, model, actress and on-camera meteorologist, familiar with the different pressures put on girls.
Marilyn ElphickTORONTO - A cross-border study has found that one in four students on North American university campuses show signs of depression — a figure that comes as no surprise to those who work with students.

The study, published in the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry at the end of January, looked at more than 1,600 students at the University of British Columbia, the University of Wisconsin and the University of Washington. Researchers surveyed students visiting campus health centres for mostly physical reasons on a variety of questions about their mood and outlook for the future. The study also found that one in 10 students had recently thought about suicide.

Sr. Susan Glaab, campus minister at King’s University College in London, Ont., said there are a number of reasons why students today may be showing increased signs of depression.
D.C. March for LifeWASHINGTON - Students from Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy in Barry’s Bay, Ont., joined an estimated 400,000 American pro-lifers at the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 24.

Organized by the pro-life group at the Catholic liberal arts college, 20 students and three staff attended the march and opening prayer vigil Mass held at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

“We walked, prayed the Rosary, prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet and sang chants,” said second-year student Kathleen Dunn, president of the school’s pro-life group. “It was really amazing to be a part of it.”

The annual march marks the anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade decision on Jan. 22, 1973, which legalized abortion in the United States.
Notre Dame Basilica, MontrealMONTREAL - Planning a weekend trip to Montreal, there was one place I really wanted to visit: Notre Dame Basilica. While I had been to St. Joseph’s Oratory before, I never had the opportunity to visit the world famous Notre Dame in Old Montreal. I was expecting it to be beautiful.

But stepping through the doors, what I saw surpassed all my expectations.

The high altar, a very tall backdrop, looked like a small city itself — an intricate structure which seemed to wind all the way up to the ceiling.

Blue and yellow lights illuminated various parts of its magnificent construction, with statues of saints surrounding Jesus, along with built-in choir stalls designed in the 1870s by Montreal architect Victor Bourgeau.
Catholic EducationTORONTO - For Lucy Schmidt, getting involved in the faith groups available on campus at Toronto’s University of St. Michael’s College has made her university experience incredible.

A second-year student at the Catholic college on the University of Toronto campus, Schmidt stays busy outside the classroom as president of the university’s pro-life club, a member of the liturgical choir, part of campus chaplaincy and an Out of the Cold program co-ordinator.

“Choosing a Catholic university adds a whole different level to your university experience,” said Schmidt, a Christianity and Culture major in the concurrent education program. “I know when students are applying they’re thinking about their academic experience but a huge part of it is student life. And a huge part of student life is growing in faith and finding like-minded people who can help you do that.”
Students at Marshall McLuhanTORONTO - This Christmas, high schools in Toronto are doing their part to spread Christmas cheer in the city.

At St. Michael’s Choir School, students have been using their voices throughout the month to spread the Christmas message.

On Dec. 2, about 60 students performed a benefit concert at a toy drive run by the Toronto Firefighters at the Shops at Don Mills. And on Dec. 15, a student benefit choir sang for patients at Sunnybrook Hospital and the Hospital for Sick Children to make patients’ holidays a little bit happier.
Natalie AchonwaNatalie Achonwa graduated from a Hamilton, Ont., high school to the University of Notre Dame and went right into the record book.

The budding basketball star is the first international player to suit up for Notre Dame’s varsity basketball team in the 34-year history of the women’s program. And, although she just turned 18 last week, she is already a two-year veteran of the Canadian women’s senior national team.
Friar's writing contestThe Friars' essay contest contest for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is now open.

Co-sponsored by the The Catholic Register and the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement-Graymoor in Toronto, the top prize is a 32 GB iPod touch.

The theme for this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is: “One in the Apostles’ Teaching, Fellowship, Breaking of the Bread and Prayer.”

RICHMOND HILL, Ont. - More than 150 students from the York Catholic District School Board will gather Oct. 27 to raise awareness of the contributions and struggles of aboriginal people at the Desire for Change Symposium held at Rama First Nations Cultural Centre.