Speaking Out

PHOTO GALLERY: YSN reporter Vincent Mastromatteo shares what he saw at the Vatican when he visited last year.

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Of all the places a Catholic can be during Holy Week, few can beat Rome. The bustling capital of Italy is awash with pilgrims that week, and last year, 21 classmates and I were among them.

Learning the value of my education


Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Most people think education is a rather simple process: you go to high school and graduate, then move on to college and graduate, and ultimately find a job and start living your life. However, it often isn’t that straightforward.

Food security is a basic human right


“Some people are starving around the world,” I used to say to myself, when an unfinished meal was thrown away. In the couple times I let this comment slip to other friends, the response was usually the same.

“It’s not like I can send them my food,” or “It’s my meal, I can do what I want with it,” both of which are valid points.

Connecting a community of Catholics online


One of the hardest things about moving to a small town is integrating into the community. After my last column was published, I was offered a job in northeastern Alberta and found myself moving to the town of St. Paul. It’s the centre of the diocese and at approximately 6,000 people it’s the smallest municipality I’ve ever called home.

My identity is defined in Christ


“What are you?”

That is a great question — and it is not one that I am asked much. Honestly, I am glad people do not ask this of me often, because I rarely know what people want to know when they ask.

To be a Catholic man of the Church


I recently attended a men’s retreat and got three surprises. First surprise, a men’s and women’s retreat were happening at the same venue. Second, no one would be allowed to talk because it was a silent retreat. (Okay, participants were allowed to talk but only during the talks and during Mass.) The third surprise, and most important, is what I learned about masculinity and the role that men play in the Church. We also learned about what it means to be a “husband to the Church.”

Voting with faith


This week wraps up election week for the University of Waterloo’s Federation of Students, or FEDs, as we call it. It’s been a busy two weeks of smiling, shaking hands, social media campaigns and general lack of sleep for the candidates. I can’t help but wonder if any of it is appreciated, or even noticed, by the majority of students on campus.

Back to black


A journalist once yelled at me for being black and not knowing the name “Jim Crow.” At the time I was a young university student in Toronto. I did know about American history and the deep-seeded racial segregation in the United States. And yes, I should have known that the laws that supported this anti-black culture were referred to as “Jim Crow,” but I should have known this as a North American resident and not only because of my skin colour.

Season of sacrifice


It’s a new year again, and for many Advent is still fresh in our minds. That’s why it may come as a surprise that Lent is quickly approaching.

Eating no longer a neutral act


I was thrilled to hear that my university’s office of campus ministry was hosting a “100-mile meal” potluck, preparing a meal made with ingredients found within 160 kilometres of my home. By eating locally we become proactive agents of change. We support our local farmers and our economy.

Tragedy comes to Toronto’s streets


When temperatures dropped to -12 degrees Celsius in early January, a homeless man dressed only in a t-shirt and jeans was stuck on the cold streets of downtown Toronto. Vulnerable to the freezing temperature and bitter winds, he sought protection in a bus shelter.