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.

movemberTORONTO - Jamie Dowell will be growing a moustache this month. But vanity has nothing to do with it.

Dowell, a Grade 12 student at St. Michael’s College School in Toronto, is taking part in the school’s inaugural Movember campaign — a global initiative where men grow moustaches and raise money to increase awareness and funds for prostate cancer.

“Prostate cancer will probably affect at least someone we know in our lives and, being men, it’s something that we should have a basic knowledge about and support it in every way we can,” said Dowell.
Brescia adHer mind is as sharp as her heels. Lead the pack or follow the boys. Some ceilings were meant to be broken. These are some of the slogans of Brescia University College’s bold new advertising campaign that started in September to increase declining enrolment, said registrar Marianne Simm.

“This year, we have the highest enrolment ever and we think part of that is due to work we started last year with our re-branding,” said Simm.

After seeing a trend of declining enrolment, particularly from Ontario high school students, the London, Ont.-based women’s college kicked off a re-branding process in January 2009. This included a consultation of faculty, students, alumni, guidance counsellors and parents on the benefits of attending Brescia. Through this, four attributes describing the campus were identified, which the campaign now focuses on: student-centred, empowering, invigorating and compassionate.
Senator Noël A. KinsellaOn Oct. 1, St. Jerome’s University in Waterloo, Ont., will be honouring Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker of the Senate, for his leadership in Catholic education at its 10th annual Feast of St. Jerome.

“I’m quite honoured and thrilled,” said Kinsella. “I don’t know why they chose me. There’s so many more deserving people.”

But Nadine Collins, university advancement officer at St. Jerome’s, which is federated with the University of Waterloo, found plenty of reasons for Kinsella to be  honoured.
Brother André Catholic High SchoolThere are no set plans to incorporate Brother André’s sainthood at schools named in his honour at the present time, though one school board has already vowed to name its next school after Canada’s newest saint.

“It’s the community’s prerogative,” said Jim Nicoletti, principal at Brother André Catholic High School in Markham, Ont.

“The superintendent was waiting for direction from the trustees to come out and meet with our parent council to get the ball rolling,” said Nicoletti, adding that because it’s an election year, “it’s not happening too quickly.”
 Brother André HighMARKHAM, Ont. - Select students and staff at Brother André Catholic High School in Markham, Ont., will be celebrating the canonization of their school’s namesake in a special way — by being in the immediate audience close to the Pope at the ceremony in Rome on Oct. 17.

On Oct. 10, 18 students from the school will be flying to Italy for a week, along with a couple of staff members and family members, said principal Jim Nicoletti.

“Back in February, when the announcement was made, we were honoured to hear it as a school and we were thrilled,” he said. “We did a little research only to find out that we believe we’re the only high school that’s named Brother André in the province.”
Surinder MundraTORONTO - Looking for a choir to join, Surinder Mundra couldn’t find what he was looking for. He went to one Mass where the choir was singing Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” during the homily. In contrast, during the drive home from Mass, he was listening to Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, a composer of sacred music in the Renaissance.

“It was backwards,” the concert pianist, piano teacher, organist and music director at both St. Patrick’s Church in Toronto and St. Georges Anglican Church in Pickering, Ont., told The Catholic Register. “I was listening to secular music in a Church. I had to leave the Church, go into my car and drive home to listen to liturgical music.”

Disillusioned by this, along with the emphasis that many parish choirs have on performance instead of spirituality, Mundra decided to start his own choir. In 2006, he founded St. Patrick’s Gregorian Choir, which specializes in Gregorian chants in its proper liturgical context. One of the only of its kind in Toronto, the choir currently has 15 members.
messiah rocksMISSISSAUGA, Ont. - This Christmas season, Handel’s Messiah is going to rock the Toronto area.

George Frideric Handel’s musical oratorio on the life of the Messiah has been updated, adding some modern-day flash, to produce Handel’s Messiah Rocks: A Joyful Noise. It will be performed at the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga, Dec. 16 and 17.
rocco rossi pilgrimageTORONTO - Over the past year, Rocco Rossi has ventured across Toronto trying to win over voters during his mayoral campaign. But now he’s going on a journey of a different kind: the Camino de Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage in Spain.  

“It was a very intense year that I’ve just gone through,” Rossi told The Catholic Register. Rossi had been hard on the campaign trail over that time, but finally pulled out of the municipal election, won by Rob Ford, two weeks shy of election day due to low numbers in the polls.
Bishop NguyenTORONTO - Toronto Auxiliary Bishop Vincent Nguyen will be sharing his life’s journey, from fleeing Vietnam as one of that nation’s “boat people” to becoming Canada’s youngest and first Asian-Canadian bishop, at an Oct. 31 talk.

Taking place at Toronto-based Scarboro Missions at 7:30 p.m., the talk is entitled, “My Spiritual Journey: From a boat refugee to a Catholic bishop in Canada.”

“It’s a spiritual journey,” Nguyen told The Catholic Register. “So at the end (of the talk), I’ll also offer some reflections based on my story.”
Fontbonne MinistriesTORONTO - For the past decade, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto have been responding to the social needs of their community through Fontbonne Ministries.

And on Oct. 1, the sisters celebrated Fontbonne Ministries’ 10th anniversary with an open house at Fontbonne Place, a residence that provides affordable, rent-geared-to-income housing for older, single women.

“At their chapter in 1998, (the Sisters) agreed that nurturing community with the homeless, the alienated, the economically poor and women at risk was what they wanted to continue to do,” said Leanne Kloppenborg, administrator of Fontbonne Ministries.