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.

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.”
charity under investigationTORONTO - A bill that would see Canadian charities forced to disclose the salaries of their highest-earning employees has run up against opposition from the charitable sector.

If passed, Bill C-470 will create some “serious issues” within the sector, say officials with various charities.

Charities have been fighting  to kill the bill since it passed second reading in the House of Commons on April 21 by a 280 to 3 margin. It is set to head to the Standing Committee on Finance by the end of November, where committee members can amend it before it goes to third reading.
October 5, 2010

Pro-lifer slowing down

Jack Barbara WillkeThe annual International Pro-life Conference is coming to Ottawa from Oct. 28 to 30, and it is likely to be one of pro-life advocate Jack Willke’s last international appearances.

Willke, president of both the International Right to Life Federation and Life Issues Institute, has been experiencing health problems of late.

“I’m past 85 now and I’ve just been hospitalized,” Wilke told The Catholic Register from his office in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Bishop CrosbyPope Benedict XVI named Bishop Douglas Crosby as the new bishop of the diocese of Hamilton Sept. 24. Crosby will replace the retiring Bishop Anthony Tonnos who has led the diocese since 1984.

“I’m very pleased and honoured by the appointment,” said Crosby, who remains administrator of the diocese of Corner Brook and Labrador until he is installed as bishop of Hamilton at the Cathedral of Christ the King on Nov. 8.

Born in Marathon, Ont., in the diocese of Thunder Bay, all of Crosby's ministry as a bishop has been done in Newfoundland and Labrador. Installed as bishop of Labrador City-Schefferville in 1998, he was also installed as bishop of St George’s, Nfld., in 2003 and retained responsibility for the former diocese. Then, following a realignment of the boundaries of the two dioceses, he became bishop of the diocese of Corner Brook and Labrador in 2007.
Bill SteinburgTORONTO - Canadians are a giving people, according to report released by the Charities Aid Foundation America.

In the Alexandria, Va., foundation’s 2010 World Giving Index, Canada ranked third in terms of charitable behaviour.

The report tracks how willing a nation’s people are to help those in need.
Peace BridgeThe Peace Bridge connecting Canada and the United States at Niagara Falls was lit up on Aug. 26 in honour of the centenary of Mother Teresa’s birth. But it also represented a coming together of cross-border dioceses, said Kevin Keenan, director of communications with the diocese of Buffalo.

Illuminated in blue and white, the colours of Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity, the Peace Bridge initiative was a result of efforts of Buffalo Bishop Edward U. Kmiec and Msgr. Wayne Kirkpatrick, administrator of the diocese of St. Catharines, Ont.

TORONTO - Mirella Monte walks more than 6 km five days a week. She meets her walking group at 6:30 a.m. and then does a tour of the neighbourhood in about one hour and 10 minutes. Monte is one healthy 68-year-old.

“There’s a lot my children and my grandchildren can give me but I have something to give back too,” said Monte. “I can be an example to them in what I can do.”

Monte is the picture of good health. In addition to walking, she is on a bowling team and takes exercise classes for people over 50 when the weather is sub par.

Her healthy eating supplements her active lifestyle.

“We don’t buy any prepared food,” said Monte. “We cook our food.” In her household, they eat a bit of everything: lots of soup, vegetables, fruits and meat — although they seem to want less meat the older they get, she said.

Alan Law wanted to know why the gates were closed so early at Cuatro Vientos air base on the eve of the papal vigil at World Youth Day. So he posed this question on the wall for the official World Youth Day Facebook group, run by event organizers.

“Why were the gates closed so early? A lot of people were locked out,” wrote Law, who is a product development manager with Tour Design, a travel company that brought many Canadian pilgrims to Madrid.

He waited for a response but heard nothing. So the next day, he checked again. To his shock, he couldn’t find his comment. It had been erased.

As group leaders and pilgrims settle back home after World Youth Day, discontent at the fact that an estimated 250,000 pilgrims were locked out of Cuatro Vientos airbase for the overnight vigil and closing Mass is starting to be vocalized. Some 1.4 million pilgrims showed up for the overnight vigil and World Youth Day organizers were only equipped to handle about a million, turning away registered pilgrims from around the world.

MISSISSAUGA, ONT. - International Christian Voice is hosting a dinner Sept. 9 in Mississauga to thank Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservative government for their work in promoting religious freedom internationally.

The Toronto-based human rights organization is run by Peter Bhatti, the brother of Shahbaz Bhatti, the Pakistani minorities minister and Christian who was assassinated last March after speaking out against the country’s blasphemy laws.

“The Conservative government has made an announcement of an international religious freedom office (the Office of Religious Freedom) and they’re trying to promote religion internationally, so we want to thank them,” said Bhatti.

“When my brother was murdered, (Immigration Minister) Jason Kenney attended his funeral… and gave him tribute. And before, nobody was even talking about religious freedom. But now, Stephen Harper has made an announcement that they would open a new office with the focus internationally on religious freedom and that makes us very hopeful.”