Speaking Out

My generation has grown up with confidence as something of a buzzword. Especially for young women, self-confidence — or a lack thereof — is a constant issue, something that we are always told needs building up. We are taught that post-modernity is characterized by our uncertainty and our lack of confidence in ourselves and our environment.

Is there really a way to fix this? Our favourite scapegoats, mass media, entertain and inform us daily. While we may decry its influence over us, media consumption is a hard habit to shake. In our secular world, having confidence is indeed a challenge — except for believers.

Mummering for the holidays

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It’s Boxing Day. A group of friends get together, put on strange clothes and cover their faces with masks and pillow cases. They walk to a stranger’s house, bang on the door and, in a fake voice, demand to be let in. You may think I’m describing a robbery, but it’s a favourite Christmas activity for many Newfoundlanders. It’s called mummering.

Mummering, which came to Newfoundland with the first settlers from Ireland and England in the 1500s, is all about having a good time with friends and strangers alike during the Christmas season.

Changing your water to wine

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A wise priest recently asked me to reflect on the Wedding at Cana, the site of Jesus’ first miracle.

At Cana, when, to their great shame, the hosts of the wedding run out of wine, Mary informs Jesus of the situation and then tells the servants, “Do whatever He tells you.” Jesus guides every step from then onward until He miraculously turns the water into the very best wine.

Real love is about more than fleeting symbols

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Love: it’s a simple four-letter word, often misused, that brings to mind the picturesque image of a couple frolicking towards each other through a meadow of sunflowers. If that’s what love really is, I wouldn’t understand why everyone was chasing after it. Especially since sunflowers attract bees and various other buzzing insects.

As a Catholic teen, I am often conflicted between the difference between God’s love and the world’s idea of love. At first glance, the worldly love seems much more interesting. Red roses, candy hearts with cheesy lines and love letters. They are all symbols of love given to someone. However, I noticed, even as a child, that these symbols quickly fade: the red roses wilt and turn brown, the candy hearts are eaten and the love letter is often torn in two or forgotten.

Learning to 'be me' in Christ

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My family billeted a group of young adults at our house for one night this month. Because I didn’t know any of them, I was afraid that I would be rejected and I felt very shy and insecure inside.

During the evening I went down to the basement to get something, and as I walked, I asked Jesus to help me be myself around them. I heard His voice speak very clearly in my heart.

Choose a pro-life mission wisely

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Adults often call youth the “church of tomorrow,” but on the pro-life front youth are already very much the church of today as they influence others on campuses across Canada as only peers can.

Campus pro-life clubs are effective because every effort and event reaches the target demographic. Statistics show young adults are more likely to procure abortions than any other demographic.

Finding God in a wired universe

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I’m sure we’ve all been frustrated with a driver who’s on a cellphone, an unresponsive teen with their earphones on full blast or an inbox full of junk mail. The simple truth is that technology has become an inevitable part of our lives whether we like it or not.

However, it’s easy to get caught up in all the seemingly destructive side-effects of these technologies and forget that they can be used for faith and other worthy reasons.

Living the WWJD motto

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Student. Parent. Optimist. Cynic. Romantic. Nihilist. It seems in today’s world that how you label yourself presupposes how you ought to carry out your daily routines.

So, when asked how I brand myself, the answer for years now has been simple — I am a Christian Existentialist. The seemingly juxtaposed natures of the two schools of thought often leave people confused, with nothing more than a question mark. Here, I will reconcile my thoughts and provide some clarity to those who have heard them before.

Existentialism — for those needing a quick refresher of past philosophy classes — is a 20th-century school of thought that assumes people are entirely free and thus responsible for what they make of themselves. As my high school history teacher often put it, “it’s about taking a leap of choice.” This branch of philosophy does not specifically dictate what ought to cause you ultimately to choose that “leap”; therefore, it is up to you.

All Saints party replaces Halloween

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{mosimage}WINNIPEG - If you walked near Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish on Oct. 31, you likely heard the sound of children’s voices ringing with laughter as they celebrated one of their favourite evenings of the year — All Saint’s Eve.

On Halloween evening 17 years ago, Mary Richard and her husband, Louis, were handing out candies at their home when they opened the door to a child wearing a particularly gruesome costume.

Being still and finding God

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For many years at my cottage, my friends and I would haul a bag of popcorn and a heap of blankets up a huge hill and then lay them down to watch the stars. At first, our conversations were typically childish, consisting of funny stories or statements on the latest fad.

As the night went on, it became so dark that we could hardly see our hands in front of our faces. The stars were all we could see and they became so big and bright to our eyes that it was as if we could touch them. It was while watching this speckled wonder that our conversations would go much deeper and become much more philosophical.

Seeking virtues in the rosary

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I first learned about the rosary in my Grade 9 religion class. My religion teacher said the rosary was one of the most important parts of the Catholic faith and was strongly critical of anyone who tried to downplay its importance. He said the rosary was an excellent sign of one’s prayerfulness and devotion to God.

While I agree that it was certainly a sign of devotion, I felt he failed to share with us an important point: the rosary is a tool that Christians can use to live a virtuous life — by meditating on the mysteries of the rosary.