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.

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.”

About 23,000 Ontarians have signed a petition demanding Ontario stop funding medically unnecessary abortions, said Alissa Golob, youth co-ordinator for Campaign Life Coalition.

“And it’s still growing,” Golob said of the most recent numbers released March 26.

The petition is part of a two-year initiative to convince the provincial government to defund abortion in Ontario. Launched in October with the Defund Abortion Rally at Queen’s Park, the initiative includes pamphleting every riding in Ontario at least once with defund abortion literature, doing individual picketing outside MPP offices and lobbying.

Petitions were received from every riding in Ontario, said Golob.

“We’re currently in the process of giving them over to politicians. And then, as we get them in and gather another 20,000, we’ll do it again until we achieve success.”

The purpose of the petition is to send a message to Queen’s Park that this is an issue constituents are concerned about, she said.

“There is an army of people behind this campaign and it’s not just a small campaign led by some young people that isn’t worthy of their notice.”

An Abacus Data poll released last fall found 91 per cent of Canadians were not aware at least $30 million of public money is being spent annually to fund abortion procedures.

“I think it’s logical, whether you’re pro-life or not, that we shouldn’t be funding an elective procedure that’s medically unnecessary.”

Golob estimates the campaign will exceed about 50,000 signatures by the end.

“People don’t know about the funding of abortion in Ontario, which is why the education process is so important.”

Upon returning from a Sisters of Life retreat in Connecticut, I decided my Lenten resolution would be to incorporate 20 minutes of prayer into my daily routine.

Finding it hard to fit prayer time into a hectic schedule, one of the sisters told me it might be helpful to get creative in my prayer life in order to better understand how God is speaking to me. So, along with the regular Hail Marys and Our Fathers, I started reading random Bible passages and keeping a journal to better open the lines of communication.

To say Cristina Di Corte was not feeling well would be an understatement. After experiencing bad abdominal pains and vomiting, her doctor thought she might have acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease or even an eating disorder.

But after visiting a specialist, Di Corte received some very different news. “Your gut doesn’t work,” he told her.

“The muscles around my digestive system don’t function properly so if I eat, it stays in my stomach for a very long time. Eventually, it starts to rot and it ends up making me sick,” said Di Corte, 22, a graduate of St. Joseph Secondary School in Mississauga, Ont.

If all Ontarians were as healthy as those with higher incomes there would be 231,000 fewer disabled people and about 3,300 fewer deaths per year, found a recent study from researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital.

The final chapter of the six-year long POWER Study examining health equity was released last month from researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES). The POWER study (Project for an Ontario Women’s Health Evidence-Based Report) examined access, quality and outcomes of care across the province for the leading causes of disease and disability and how they varied by sex, income, ethnicity and where one lives. The 12-volume study cost $4.3 million and involved 60 researchers.