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.

September 17, 2010

A new year, a new YSN team

TORONTO - As the school year slowly gathers steam, so does a new year of The Catholic Register’s Youth Speak News, with a brand new team of writers.

For the past 11 years, YSN has offered guidance to young Catholic writers from across the country who cover events and provide insight on important issues affecting Catholic youth, while sharing the ups and downs of being faithful and young in today’s world.

While they are building their clippings and experience, YSN helps them in their writing, interviewing techniques and photography.

Toronto SerraTORONTO - Justin Lam entered the work force after graduating from graphic communications management at Toronto’s Ryerson University a couple of years ago.

But despite his current job as a customer label estimator, Lam finds something is missing in his life.

“There’s this feeling of emptiness from time to time where you go to work, get off work, go home, take a shower, go to bed and do it all again the next day,” said Lam, a member of Chinese Martyrs parish in Markham, Ont.
Robert MezzavillaTORONTO - Robert Mezzavilla carries around a Bible with him wherever he goes — and it doesn’t weigh an ounce.

That’s because Mezzavilla, a third-year environmental studies student at Toronto’s York University, has a Catholic Bible application (or app) on his iPhone.

While he bought the app because it’s a huge space saver, he said it helps connect him to his faith.
World Youth DayTORONTO - With just under a year to go until World Youth Day 2011, parish youth groups are working hard to raise the funds needed to get to Madrid.

At St. Justin Martyr Church in Unionville, Ont., fundraising has come in the form of spaghetti, karaoke and rubber ducks.

Their first fundraiser for World Youth Day — a spaghetti and karaoke night — was held last February, said youth minister Andrew Santos. The event raised about $2,850 in profit, he said, which will go towards the 16 youth from his parish going to Madrid.
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.