The Catholic Register is pleased to introduce our new Youth Speak News team. These 14 young people were selected from a record number of applicants to The Register's successful YSN program.


Lianne Milan Bernardo

Lianne Milan Bernardo
Age:
25
Hometown: Toronto, Ont.
Education: Master's degree in European, Russian and Eurasian Studies from Carleton University.

Marie Boston

Marie Boston
Age: 24
Hometown: Calgary, Alta.
Education: Third-year fine arts and drama student at the University of Calgary.

Tristan Bronca

Tristan Bronca
Age: 20
Hometown: King City, Ont.
Education: Fouth-year journalism student with a history minor at Carleton University.

Emma Brown

Emma Brown
Age: 19
Hometown: Orillia, Ont.
Education: Second-year journalism student at Carleton University.

Zack Candy

Zack Candy
Age: 21
Hometown: Lanark, Ont.
Education: Third-year English student at the University of Ottawa.

Caroline D'Souza

Caroline D'Souza
Age: 15
Hometown: Toronto, Ont.
Education: Grade 11 International Baccalaureate student at Blessed Pope John Paul II.

Camilo Guzman

Camilo Guzman
Age: 20
Hometown: Toronto, Ont. Education: Former religious studies student at I.V.E Seminary.

Beatriz Jereza

Beatriz Jereza
Age:
18
Hometown: Whitby, Ont. Education: Second-year journal- ism student at Ryerson University.

Suzanne Joanes

Suzanne Joanes
Age:
17
Hometown: Brampton, Ont. Education: First-year Concurrent Education student at Queens Uni- versity.

Jean Ko Din

Jean Ko Din
Age:
21
Hometown: Thornhill, Ont. Education: Third-year journalism student at Ryerson University.

Francis Olaer

Francis Olaer
Age:
18
Hometown: Guelph, Ont. Education: Grade 12 student at St. James Catholic High School.

Darren Pereira

Darren Pereira
Age:
17
Hometown: Toronto, Ont. Education: Grade 12 student at Brebeuf College School.

Reagan Reese Seidler

Reagan Reese Seidler
Age:
21
Hometown: Saskatoon, Sask. Education: Political Science graduate student at the University of Saskatchewan.

Terence Wong

Terence Wong
Age:
20
Hometown: Richmond Hill, Ont. Education: Fouth-year history and political studies student at Queens University.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published in Youth Speak News

My younger brother isn’t what I would call “cultured.” An 18-year-old on a boat cruise around Europe has priorities other than discovering the famous basilicas or the incredible detail in their paintings and sculptures. Before our trip last month, my mom and I talked a lot about whether or not Aidan would care to see — much less appreciate — all of the sights. How much groaning could we put up with while we bounced between pieces of history in these old Europeans cities? A fair bit, it turns out.

But something changed when we visited the Vatican. The complaining gave way to a flurry of questions our tour guide tried to answer before my brother interrupted with another question. He forgot how tired and hungry he was, how much his feet hurt or how comfy his bed was back on the cruise ship. He was totally immersed in the magnificence of the city. It seemed obvious to him that St. Peter’s Basilica wasn’t just another old church.

But that’s exactly what it is: an old church. St. Peter’s just happens to be a very important old church. After all, the entire state of the Vatican was built around it.  

The Vatican’s importance as the epicentre of our Catholic faith is lost on most 18-year-olds. They may know some details, but it’s much tougher to grasp the weight they carry. I thought the Vatican was just another old church too.

When I looked at pictures of St. Peter’s Basilica, I could see it was big, but I couldn’t see it was magnificent until I was standing in it. Similarly, a Google image search of the Sistine Chapel won’t make you feel the way you do when you’re looking with your neck craned back at the scenes painted on the ceiling. You don’t see the care, detail or incredible talent it took to create it. You don’t feel the intangible, indescribable something that makes the Vatican more than a big church until you walk through its museums and feel it for yourself.

It’s the art that creates this wonder. “It makes you think about human potential,” our tour guide mused while looking at the detail along every foot of the ceiling in St. Peter’s. People — young people in particular — are drawn in by it.

Amidst all the facts about the scaffolds they used or Michelangelo’s age when he carved the Pieta, there is a narrative. The art tells the story of our faith, capturing its divine messages and old parables. The art creates the questions which lead to discussion. Questions like why was the man who pierced the side of Christ canonized?

From there, the messages of our faith spread between curious onlookers, even after they leave the city. The difference between the art of the Vatican and many other efforts to spread the same messages is one of esthetics. The art gives onlookers only two options: stand in silent admiration or ask questions about it.

But the answer is just a bonus. Spiritual enrichment comes from all the people there who are doing the same thing. There is a sense of solidarity that transcends age, race, sex and even religion. Anyone can appreciate the art, regardless of whether they subscribe to the beliefs embedded in its narrative. That is what makes the city holy. That’s why St. Peter’s is more than just another old church.

Published in YSN: Speaking Out
God is always on time.

Just as I was brainstorming ways to combine three of my career interests — writing, editing and working with youth — The Catholic Register was hiring, and chose me as its new Youth Editor.

As Youth Editor, I look forward to guiding this year’s Youth Speak News team in covering stories and issues that are important to young Catholics and to our wider religious community. This year’s YSN team will strive to be effective communicators on whatever topics they cover because of their willingness to express and improve themselves and engage with their faith.

Catholic-oriented stories are everywhere, ranging from parishes to provinces and beyond. These stories can involve anything, such as faith music, policy, science, dance, business, film, community service and much more.

The Register fosters a partnership of faith and journalism, an unusual combination in the general media.

This will be my first time immersed in a faith-oriented workplace. As a child, however, my parents enrolled me in Catholic schools from pre-school to Grade 12, whether we were living in Boston, the island of Dominica or Toronto. I also spent about seven years as an altar server in the Salesian parish of St. Benedict’s in Etobicoke, Ont.

The Salesians are very youth focussed. I hope a little of that rubbed off on me. Belonging to the Knights of the Altar was an invaluable experience. Even though my only goal at the time was to have fun by volunteering, I have no doubt it encouraged my faith to grow. As I’ve learned from my predecessor, Vanessa Santilli, working for a faith-based publication can do the same.  

I thank Santilli for her work over the last two years as Youth Editor. Her enthusiasm for the position and all that the team has accomplished will continue to inspire me.

My main motivation as Youth Editor is a love of journalism. Journalism is an expression of life: what’s happening and who’s involved. If life is worth living, according to the famous Cardinal Fulton J. Sheen, then journalism is worth doing.

I anticipate a lot of newsworthy activity, especially among young Catholics as parishes prepare for World Youth Day 2013. But youth involvement with the faith is vast and has never been and never will be limited to one week.

In addition to contributing to the newspaper, I encourage the YSN team and our youth readership to think outside the page and contribute to our YSN blog, whether they do so through text or multimedia.

The blog is a great place to experiment, reflect on issues we don’t cover in the paper and expand on stories we do cover. It’s a place to include slideshows, audio, video, timelines and other fun forms of online media.  

I want both the youth section of the paper and the blog to engage and intrigue readers.

If you would like to share your ideas for the YSN section of the paper or the blog, please e-mail me at ruane@catholicregister.org. I would be happy to hear from you.
Published in YSN: Speaking Out

TORONTO - Peter Grbac heads to Oxford University in October, leaving behind a legacy of volunteerism at his alma mater Harvard University.

A former St. Michael’s College School student, Grbac took part in The Catholic Register’s Youth Speak News program during his high-school years. His faith followed him to Harvard University in Boston where he just graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Studies. At commencement, Grbac was a nominee for the prestigious Ames Award for helping others in the community and inspiring leadership. 

“Harvard is an interesting place,” he said. “It’s a place where you are exposed to very different people and very different ideas, and it’s easy to lose track of your faith. If there (was) one constant in (my) four years and going forward it would be my faith community,” referring to St. Paul Catholic Church in Harvard Square.

Published in Youth Speak News

VANCOUVER - Food for the body and food for the mind were the two focal points at Dish with the Bish: Reheat, a combined potluck dinner and question-and-answer session for students with Vancouver Archbishop Michael Miller.

Published in Youth Speak News

RICHMOND HILL, Ont. - More than 150 students from the York Catholic District School Board will gather Oct. 27 to raise awareness of the contributions and struggles of aboriginal people at the Desire for Change Symposium held at Rama First Nations Cultural Centre.

Published in Youth Speak News

TORONTO – Off the Wall, the Pope John Paul II Catholic Secondary School student newspaper, has won the general excellence award in the first Catholic Register Student Newspaper Awards.

Published in Youth Speak News

I am not a morning person. I automatically hit the snooze button a couple of times before I finally drag myself out of bed. But during Lent I got a wake up call that I couldn’t ignore.

Published in YSN: Speaking Out

TORONTO - While some schools raise funds to fix the girls' washroom on the second floor, or to purchase new school supplies, the students at Loretto Abbey Catholic Secondary School in Toronto worked together to raise $35,000 to build a maternity ward in Umuahia, Nigeria.

Published in Youth Speak News

QUEBEC CITY - Instead of ringing in the New Year partying at a club at the stroke of midnight, about 450 young people from across Canada broke out into song praising God.

Published in Youth Speak News

HAMILTON, Ont. - Three years ago, a group of Catholic students at McMaster University noticed a spiritual void in their university lives so they started a chapter of the Compass Catholic Fellowship group on campus. Compass is an international student-run Catholic group with Canadian chapters at the University of Toronto, the University of Waterloo and McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont.

Published in Youth Speak News

YARMOUTH, N.S. - The St. Ambrose Cathedral parish youth group of Yarmouth is known to travel three hours by caravan for youth events in Halifax. Each member often spends his or her own money to get there. This tight-knit group rises to the challenge of keeping the faith in a small community where young people typically flee after high school.

Published in Youth Speak News

TORONTO - There aren’t many Holocaust survivors left, but Catholic schools throughout the Greater Toronto Area are making sure as many of their students as possible have the chance to meet people who lived through the genocide.

Published in Youth Speak News

TORONTO - Pro-life groups on university and college campuses in Canada are struggling to gain official club status.

Published in Youth Speak News