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.

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.
St. Brothe AndreAs always, St. Joseph’s Oratory will celebrate the feast day of its founder, the recently canonized St. Brother André, on Jan. 6. The only difference this year is the universal Church will be joining the Montreal community in these celebrations.

“Liturgically speaking, a person whose cause has been introduced for canonization can be publicly celebrated as a feast only locally — that is to say, where the person worked or died,” said Fr. Charles Corso, a Holy Cross priest at the Oratory in Montreal. “But once the person is canonized, that means that anywhere in the world people can celebrate an official liturgical feast day Mass.”

Two Canadian archbishops will be among Vatican officials discussing upcoming apostolic visitations with Irish archbishops over that nation's sexual abuse scandal in the Church.

The meeting will take place Oct. 5-6 at the offices of the Congregation for Bishops and be chaired by Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the former archbishop of Quebec City, said Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, S.J., who along with Toronto's Archbishop Thomas Collins is among the apostolic visitors named by the Vatican.

TORONTO - John M. Cassaday, president and chief executive officer of Corus Entertainment Inc., has been named as chair of the 32nd annual Cardinal’s Dinner.

The dinner, founded by the late Cardinal Gerald Emmett Carter and continued to this day by Archbishop Thomas Collins, has raised more than $5 million since its inception, with many business and political leaders attending each year. It will be held Oct. 27 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
Karlee SapoznikTORONTO - Modern-day slavery is the most under-publicized human rights crisis of our time, said Karlee Sapoznik, a PhD student in history at York University. So Sapoznik, along with three others with ties to York, decided to take action.

They created the non-governmental organization Alliance Against Modern Slavery which launched with a fundraising concert and anti-slavery art auction on Jan. 28 followed by an inaugural conference on Jan. 29 at Toronto’s York University.

“Our vision is to combat modern slavery by collecting resources, building programs and creating alliances among a network of local and global partners so that every person has the opportunity for sustainable freedom,” said Sapoznik.
Knights of ColumbusMarkham, Ont. - The Knights of Columbus has more than 14,000 councils around the world but none quite like the one opened recently in a small Toronto-area parish.

The council that opened last May at Jesus Melkite Catholic Church in Markham, Ont., is, according to Grand Knight Hisham Marrow, the world’s first and only Christian Arab council in the 129-year history of the Knights. 

“Our mission is to help rebuild the churches in the Holy Land,” said Marrow, adding the council also helps the Christian Arab community and churches in Canada.

The council has 40 members, all parishioners. But Marrow hopes to extend membership to other Christian Arab parishes.

Along with collecting donations to rebuild churches in the Holy Land, the council will be raising money by selling homemade rosaries, said Marrow.
TORONTO - From stem cell research and cloning to physician-assisted suicide and terminal sedation, Catholics seeking to better understand emerging issues in bioethics  should mark their calendars.

For People in the Pews, an “everyday bioethics” lecture series run by the Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute (CCBI), seeks to help Catholics better understand the Church’s position on various issues. Starting on Feb. 3, the series will run weekly for a month at St. Margaret, Queen of Scotland parish in Toronto. Now in its fifth year, this is the first time the series is coming to the parish.