PANAMA CITY — I stood on a stage, looking out over a sea of young pilgrims. I had seen such crowds before, but never with such profound diversity. Flags representing countries from all over the world waved under the hot Panama sun. Despite the heat, there was a great sense of excitement and great expectation.

Published in World Youth Day 2019

VANCOUVER – A faith study program that has been around for decades has suddenly received new life.

Published in Canada
OTTAWA – Nearly 80,000 people across Canada thronged to see the relic of St. Francis Xavier that made a coast-to-coast pilgrimage Dec. 26-Feb. 3.
Published in Canada

OTTAWA - Parish renewal is the key to the new evangelization and the survival of the Church, say organizers of the Summer Institute of New Evangelization.

Published in Faith

TORONTO - When discussing missionary work, it is easy to picture evangelization in small rural communities in remote corners of the world. However, there is missionary work to be done in big cities as well.

Published in Canada: Toronto-GTA

TORONTO - Catholic Christian Outreach (CCO) is finally coming to Toronto.

To coincide with its 25th anniversary, CCO has entered into a partnership to bring the student-focused evangelization movement to Ryerson University starting in the 2013 fall semester.

“As a movement we are very excited to be invited into the archdiocese of Toronto,” said Dan Freeman, district director for Kingston, Ont. “The real excitement is just the opportunity to service Christ and influence the culture in a place as significant as Toronto but also Ryerson University.”

Since forming in 1988 on the University of Sasketchewan’s campus, CCO has spread coast to coast, from Dalhousie University in Halifax to the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Ryerson will be the 10th campus to have a CCO ministry and the third in Ontario, joining Queen’s and Ottawa universities.

The new partnership came at the invitation of Cardinal Thomas Collins, the archbishop of Toronto.

“CCO is always on campus at the invitation of the local bishop,” said Freeman. “So in this case we were invited by Cardinal Collins to Ryerson because he deemed it to be the most appropriate location for our ministry.”

Oriana Bertucci, the director of Ryerson’s Catholic Campus Ministry, was thrilled by the announcement.

“We’re really excited because it is an opportunity for us to grow the number of people that are here to support the Catholic population at Ryerson,” she said.

Bertucci says there are 15 faith groups on campus and they currently account for about 25 per cent of the room bookings by the Ryerson Student Union.

“The RSU has been really supportive in realizing that this is a growing need on our campus,” she said, adding space is always a challenge in downtown Toronto. “They’ve worked with the university to find and renovate and open some additional space specifically for faith groups on campus.”

Freeman says the first step in launching CCO is becoming familiar with student needs.

“Our focus in the first months is going to be getting to know the students, who they are, where they come from, what their personal aspirations are, what programs they’re in. We’re going to be very much dependent on their experiences and their observations,” said Freeman. “There will be more strategical tactical goals after that. Leading faith studies and unrolling our programs.”

One of the first programs excpected is Discover Studies, essentially a Bible study, which focuses on a relationship with Jesus to remind students that, through Jesus Christ, Christians connect with God.

Published in Canada
February 1, 2012

Exploring Mission Week

As a liberal arts student, I find the issue of religion constantly brought to my attention, analysed, dissected and eventually applied to today’s issues completely severed from God. Mission Week at the Newman House Catholic Chaplaincy at Queen’s University, however, allowed me the opportunity to engage in a more upward-looking spiritual conversation with my peers.

With a table set up at a different location on campus each day, the Catholic Christian Outreach (CCO) missionaries, along with a group of student leaders, spent hours taking surveys and handing out lollipops to the students returning in mid-January.

Published in YSN: Speaking Out

Faithful readers may recall that I spend the last days of the year with hundreds of university students, ringing in the new year at the annual Rise Up Conference of Catholic Christian Outreach (CCO). This year it was the largest Rise Up conference yet, with more than 500 students in attendance. So large has the annual gathering become that CCO will stage two such conferences in 2012, one in the west (Saskatoon) and one in the east (Halifax).

There are a number of priests who attend every year, and we are always thanked repeatedly for our presence. The students love their priests, like to have us accompany them and rely on us for the sacraments. But as I said to Fr. Thomas Rosica, who has been to even more Rise Up conferences than the eight I have attended, we are the ones who are truly blessed, to see the Church as she ought to be — vibrant, joyful and youthful. 

Published in Fr. Raymond de Souza