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.

Ian GentlesTORONTO - Countries that have banned abortion in the last 20 years have experienced greater improvements in maternal and infant health than countries that allow abortion on demand, said Ian Gentles.

Speaking to an audience of about 50 at the deVeber Institute's annual public lecture Oct. 14 at the University of St. Michael's College on the topic of improving maternal and child health, the York University and Tyndale University College  professor was joined by Dr. Robert Walley, founder of Matercare International and student intern Genevieve Bonomi.
ShareLife logoTORONTO - It was a record year for ShareLife as total donations to the annual campaign came it at an all-time high  — $14.33 million.

And it was all inspired by an anonymous donor.

“A generous parishioner in the archdiocese of Toronto came forward last year and offered to match all new or increased donations up to $500,000 to ShareLife during the 2010 campaign,” said Arthur Peters, executive director of ShareLife, the charitable fundraising arm of the archdiocese of Toronto.
 St. John Bosco’TORONTO - On Oct. 5, St. John Bosco will be closer to Canadians than ever before — his relics will be on display at St. Benedict parish in Toronto.

It’s the first stop in Canada for the Don Bosco Among Us Relic Tour through 130 countries that kicked off on Jan. 31, 2009, the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Salesians of Don Bosco. The tour will make its way on to Montreal Oct. 6-8 and then to Surrey, B.C., Oct. 8-10, before continuing elsewhere until 2015, the 200th anniversary of his birth in Turin, Italy.
Bert CambreTORONTO - After a decade of service as the director of deacons, Deacon Bert Cambre is leaving as head of the diaconate office following some internal restructuring in the archdiocese of Toronto.

Cambre’s last day in office will be Aug. 31.

He leaves the office with many accomplishments under his belt.
Friar Tom PurcellLinda Houston used to sleep on the streets. Years after her death, a charity walk named in her honour will be passing through the same Don Mills, Ont. streets she once called home.

On Sat. Aug. 14, the first-ever 5-km Linda's Walk will take place to help raise awareness for homeless women with mental issues. All proceeds will go directly to support the St. Clare Inn, a transitional housing project where women can "journey towards wellness"  that was created as a result of Linda's death in 2000.
TORONTO - The 40 Days for Life campaign is making a difference, said Nicole Campbell, 40 Days for Life Toronto co-ordinator. In fact, she said nine abortion facilities throughout North America have closed as a result of the campaign.

“The thing is with the 40 Days for Life, and with abortion in general, is that it’s not enough to be personally pro-life,” Campbell told The Catholic Register. “It’s great but it does nothing to actually end abortion. It’s only when we’re publicly pro-life that we can impact and change our culture one person at a time through prayer and through our public witness.”
MaterCare International has applied for funding from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) as part of the Muskoka Initiative Partnership Program, a program born out of last summer’s G8 Summit.

Under its Partners for Development Program, CIDA launched a $75-million call for projects over $500,000 “to take a comprehensive and integrated approach to address maternal, newborn and child health,” according to its web site. With its application at the end of January, MaterCare, a St. John’s, Nfld. based non-governmental organization of health care professionals aiming to reduce abortion and maternal mortality, is looking for funding for a hospital for high-risk mothers in Isiolo, Kenya.
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 members attended the march and with the 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.”

John Paul IITORONTO - Canada’s Polish community is rejoicing, but not particularly surprised, that Pope John Paul II will be beatified in May, said Fr. Chester Chmurzynski, pastor at St. Anthony’s Roman Catholic Church, a Polish parish in Oakville, Ont.

“It’s no surprise,” said Chmurzynski, who was a student of the late pope during his seminary years in Krakow, Poland. “Right after his death, people were already saying ‘Santo subito.’ (sainthood now).

“He was a good teacher and a good example. For students, he was very tough. But he was also very friendly and always smiling. He was a good man.”

On Jan. 14, Pope Benedict XVI approved a miracle attributed to Pope John Paul II’s intercession — the cure of a French nun from Parkinson’s disease — the last step needed for his beatification set for May 1, Divine Mercy Sunday.

On that day, Pope John Paul II will be declared “blessed” and granted restricted liturgical honour. Another miracle is needed for canonization, whereby the Church would declare him a saint and worthy of universal veneration.

Pope Benedict sped up the beatification process in 2005 by abolishing the normal five-year waiting period for the introduction of his sainthood cause. Three separate Vatican panels approved the miracle, including medical and theological experts, before Benedict XVI signed the official decree.

Fr. Pat CosgroveIn the 25 years since he became a priest, one accomplishment Fr. Pat Cosgrove looks back on with particular fondness is the establishment of Chalice.

“When I started doing this, I never thought that we needed another developmental organization in the world,” Cosgrove told The Catholic Register. “What I really thought we were doing was expressing God’s love and passion for the poor and I still feel that more than anything else. We try to give Catholics in Canada a way to express their faith and their love for Christ.”