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.

Lack of Holy Communion, the availability of water and a failed media structure were only some of the problems faced by Canadians at World Youth Day in Madrid, an evaluation from nearly 6,000 young Canadians, 24 bishops and more than 100 priests, deacons and religious found.

“So it was fraught with logistical difficulties, some of which are linked to the fact of any large event, but some clearly to a lack of preparation and foresight,” said Fr. Thomas Rosica, who at the request of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops spearheaded the formal evaluation of the Spanish event in 2011. 

MISSISSAUGA, ONT. - It should come as no surprise to anybody that Catholic students are active and informed about issues that are directly related to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, said Bruce Campbell, spokesperson for the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board.

But a recent anti-abortion petition that was circulated at St. Joseph's Catholic High School in Mississauga in support of MP Stephen Woodworth's private member's motion to re-open a debate on Section 223 of the Criminal Code was called "coercion" by the Centre for Inquiry Canada, a Toronto-based atheist group, in media reports. Section 223 states a child in the womb is not human until birth.

The Toronto Catholic District School Board has reaffirmed a motion to make all schools “bottled water free zones” by September 2012.

“We’re the largest organization to ever tackle this in the country,” said trustee Maria Rizzo, who put the motion forward on behalf of all the board’s students.  “The TCDSB became a leader for social justice and the environment. Water is God’s gift to the planet and you shouldn’t sell it like a pair of sneakers. It’s as ludicrous as bottling air and selling it.”

TORONTO - Students in Toronto Catholic schools will now begin their school day by singing our national anthem each morning.

On April 19, the Toronto Catholic District School Board voted 7-3 to have students sing “O Canada” a cappella during opening exercises.

To lead by example, trustee Angela Kennedy, who spearheaded the vote, uploaded a video of herself on YouTube singing “O Canada” without any background music.

TORONTO - If it hadn't been for Catholic Missions In Canada, many of the missions would not have been able to survive, said Archbishop emeritus Peter Sutton of the archdiocese of Keewatin-Le Pas.

For bringing the Gospel to northern communities, Sutton was presented the St. Joseph Award at the annual Tastes of Heaven fundraising dinner for Catholic Missions In Canada April 19. 

What started with a simple request from her parish priest has made singer Kelley Mooney a YouTube hit garnering more than 426,000 views with her new rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”

“We were at Easter Mass in our own parish in Iona, P.E.I., and I had sung a song that ended with the word Hallelujah being repeated,” Mooney told The Catholic Register.  “After Mass, our parish priest asked if I would sing Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah.’ ”

Promising that she would, she looked up the lyrics. But to her dismay, she found that Cohen’s lyrics were not appropriate for Mass.

TORONTO - Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you that you have from God and you are not your own, Faith Connections program director Vanessa Nicholas-Schmidt told participants at the Keeping the Temple Healthy event April 14.

“Glorify God in body and spirit,” said Nicholas-Schmidt, quoting Corinthians. “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are beneficial. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be dominated by anything.”

Registered dietitian Ashley Nicholas led six participants on a grocery store tour at Loblaws focused on healthy eating as part of Faith Connections’ Eat, Pray, Share series exploring food and spirituality.

Joey Loi is passionate about poverty and education. These issues mattered so much that he started the non-profit organization Turn the Page, which aims to support education initiatives in developing nations.

“I do as much as I can to make a difference in the community because I know I’m a very privileged person,” said Loi, whose parents immigrated to Canada from Vietnam about 20 years ago. “And I see how easily my life could have been different if they didn’t make the sacrifices they did,” said the Grade 12 student at St. Brother André Catholic High School in Markham, Ont.

Suicide rates in girls between the ages of 10 and 19 have increased 54 per cent over the past 30 years, says a recent study from the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Researchers from the Public Health Agency of Canada reported that 50 females between ages 10 and 19 committed suicide in Canada in 1980, compared to 77 in 2008. Conversely, suicide rates among young males declined from 249 suicides to 156, a 37 per cent decrease.

“It’s hugely disturbing, but not surprising,” said Sr. Susan Glaab, a campus minister and spiritual director at King’s University College.

Canadians need to pay attention to increasingly high levels of youth and senior debt, said Nora Spinks, CEO of the Vanier Institute of the Family.

The Institute highlighted a looming crisis in its recently published report “The Current State of Canadian Family Finances.” The study looks at family incomes and expenses, family savings and debt and family wealth and net worth.

“We’ve got the young adults and young families with high levels of debt trying to make ends meet and then we have seniors who are declaring bankruptcy and that leaves those in the middle supporting their young adult children and their parents.”