Speaking Out

{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.

Seeking virtues in the rosary

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.

Celebrating God’s blessings on Thanksgiving Day

Canadians have been celebrating the feast of Thanksgiving in their homes since the time of our forefathers, but so much has changed since then that we are often left wondering what it is we have to be thankful for.

The early Canadians celebrated a safe journey looking for the Northwest Passage, but what about us? There are no long trudging trips for us to make, and most of us don’t cultivate or hunt the food we eat. So what then do we have to be thankful for when everything we have is at our disposal and we live in a society that allows us to make a $40,000 income while sitting at home in our pyjamas?

Schools need to be evangelizers

Growing up in Ontario, I spent 14 years in Catholic school. I was, and still am, grateful for the religious education I received: mandatory religion classes, school Mass and the freedom to wish people a “Merry Christmas” without reproof.

I was constantly exposed to arguments for publicly funded faith-based schools and agreed with the people around me who felt that exposure to these schools allowed for stronger faith among younger generations.

World Youth Day fruits showing in Newfoundland

Some say young people are not interested in their faith in Newfoundland, but throughout the past several years I’ve seen many signs of hope.

Prior to World Youth Day in Toronto in the summer of 2002, it was rare to see gatherings for young Catholics in Newfoundland. As a teenager I could not find anywhere to share my faith with people my age. Besides church-mandated activities such as sacramental preparation, meetings for Catholics were mostly attended by older people, even if they were designed for youth.

A vessel of love

I joined my youth group for Street Patrol, feeding the poor on the streets of Toronto, in the hopes of helping someone’s troubled life. I thought if I could affect or enlighten at least one life, I would be eternally grateful. But I feel like I got something even better.

At first, I was terrified of being shunned or being emotionally or physically harmed as some homeless people are known to be unpredictable.

Being pro-life in the Third World

BACALOD, Philippines - Growing up as a Catholic, I was always taught to consider life precious in all of its stages of development. To be honest, I felt that I did until I arrived in the Philippines.

Through my volunteer work in the Philippines, I met children that have been put through significant trauma in their precious short lives. As a child raised in Canada, it’s hard to even fathom what they have been through. It was in an orphanage in Bacolod where I learned their stories.

Fostering prayer on campus

I once prayed the rosary while sitting in a tree. That might sound a little bizarre, but as a student on a secular campus I often found myself getting creative in the search for a place to simply be with God.

A Filipino-made solution

TAGUIG CITY, Philippines - Two years ago I discovered a cultural revolution was happening in the Philippines. What I didn’t realize at the time was that it would inspire the world and transform my life forever.

This month, I landed in the Philippines to begin six months of work with the Gawad Kalinga movement. I will be working with the people of the GK Villages to help develop tourism as a means of livelihood in their communities. I will also be meeting and living with many of the families and documenting their stories to share with others.

Conquering your life's crows

I often struggle to separate myself from situations where I know that I will be tempted to turn away from my Christian values, especially when I’m sure that my friends will think differently of me. I’ve also felt guilty when I’d either neglect time with God for my friends, or vice versa.  

This guilty mentality finally stopped when I attended a Christian youth camp where a minister from Southfield, Michigan, named David John (DJ) delivered a talk called “It’s YOUR life.”

WYD journey in Sydney only the beginning

It has been one year since those glorious Australian sun-filled days when the streets of Sydney overflowed with faithful pilgrims from around the world. Thousands of pilgrims, Canadians included, arrived with hearts full of joy for World Youth Day 2008, one of the largest events  Australia has ever hosted.

WYD08 has had a deep and special impact on me. For two years, I had the privilege of working on the preparations for WYD08 and this exposed me to the beauty of the Universal Church. During my time at WYD I also learned the great importance of evangelization within the media and when used positively, the tremendous impact that it has on people’s faith journey.