Youth Speak News

{mosimage}Hawthorn School for Girls sent its first team of students to Peru over the March break to get their hands dirty and learn about partnering with the locals.

The Toronto independent school’s trip was inspired by a presentation given by alumnus Kristina Douros last year, then a 24-year-old student at the University of Western Ontario who spent nearly four months in 2008 volunteering with Condoray, a 47-year-old rural development project.

Condoray, a  training centre devoted to human, social and religious development and promotion of women in the Cañete Valley of southern Peru, is a centre for higher learning where villagers can learn how to be “promoters” of growth and improvement and then implement these in their own communities. The spiritual and religious activities of Condoray are overseen by the Prelature of Opus Dei.

“The remarkable aspect of Condoray is that it is run by Peruvian women for Peruvian women,” Douros said. “These women know the needs of the people, they have lived it and are still living it. The leaders live in the communities and many of their children are very involved.”

The issues targeted are not projected by outsiders who do not fully understand the situation and this is why Condoray is so successful, Douros added.

Showing faith on Palm Sunday

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TORONTO-“Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” This quote, from Mark 10:17, is the theme for World Youth Day 2010, and helped set the mood at the archdiocesan Palm Sunday event at St. Paul’s Basilica and St. Michael’s Cathedral in Toronto March 27.

Hosted by the Office of Catholic Youth and in its eighth year, the event consisted of about 30 volunteers, and averages around 400-500 participants annually.

The event began at St. Paul’s Basilica with praise and worship songs. Susan HooKong-Taylor and Ana Da Costa, who wrote and performed “Song of the Cross” for Pope John Paul II at World Youth Day 2002, delivered lively music for the crowd. Da Costa said it is “very hopeful that youth are gathered here today.”

After much clapping and joyful singing, Archbishop Thomas Collins delivered a catechesis on integrity, hypocrisy and reconciliation. Collins ended by answering the question that the theme poses, saying that to inherit eternal life we must live with integrity and show forgiveness to others.

Dinner with archbishop gives Newfoundland youth spiritual hope

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{mosimage}ST. JOHN’S, Nfld.-On a beautiful Sunday afternoon in March, Archbishop Martin Currie of St. John’s met with a group of young adults for “Dinner with the Archbishop” at Mary, Queen of the World parish in Mt. Pearl.

The meeting was an opportunity for the archbishop to get a first-hand look at what’s happening in the spiritual lives of 20- and 30-year-olds in the region.

This informal group consists of individuals from different ministries and fields of interest who, through  conversations after Mass beginning two years ago, decided to organize events and activities together. New members continue to join and although it started with just a few people, there are now close to 30.

The archbishop was pleased to discover that such a group existed after being invited by one of the members for this special event. The group wanted to make contact with the leader of the church in Newfoundland on a personal level to discuss plans and ideas for young people in the province.

Positive examples lead students to the faith

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{mosimage}MISSISSAUGA, Ont. - The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) program at St. Joseph’s parish is a witness to the positive influence of Catholic education in three Mississauga schools.

“Everybody who goes to Mass, even if they are not Catholic, they say it makes them feel good, feel cleansed,” said Alexa Fitzpatrick, a Grade 11 student who enrolled at St. Marcellinus Secondary School after graduating from a public elementary school.

Helping the Global South through THINKfast

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{mosimage}BRAMPTON - Campuses, parishes and schools across Canada took part in a 25-hour education and fundraising fast to increase awareness about global issues and to raise funds for those causes.

The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace fast, commonly known as THINKfast, is a growing national initiative.

Canadian youth mission to the Philippines

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{mosimage}In August, the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace will take its first combined French-English group of young adults to the Philippines.

The “Young Adult Solidarity Trip” aims to expose young adults to the reality of the global south and teach first-hand what Development and Peace does through its programs and partners.

Schoenstatt meets Winnipeg

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{mosimage}WINNIPEG - On Oct. 18, 1914, in a small chapel sitting in a valley in Schönstatt, Germany, Fr. Joseph Kentenich called a meeting with a group of young men from a seminary nearby. During the meeting, 29-year-old Kentenich and the young men prayed together and offered what they called a “Covenant of Love” to the Blessed Virgin Mary. With that act began a community they hoped would bring spiritual renewal to the Catholic Church.

Fast forward 96 years.

Taizé continues to inspire

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{mosimage}TORONTO - More than 300 people gathered at the midtown Holy Rosary Church March 5 for the archdiocese’s annual ecumenical Taizé event, led by Br. Emile of Taizé, France.

Christians of different traditions celebrated an evening with the music and prayer of Taizé, characterized by short and reflective songs that are repeated in a meditative manner, translated into several different languages.

You are witnesses to these things

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{mosimage}Editor’s note: This is the third place entry for the Friars Student Writing Award contest sponsored by the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement and The Catholic Register. Thien-An Nguyen, 17, is a Grade 12 student at Loretto Abbey Catholic Secondary School in Toronto.

“You are witnesses to these things” (Luke 24: 48). While some manuscripts unfortunately omit “witness” from their texts, this seven-letter word contains an insight on what it means to be a Christian that St. Luke may not have even perceived. In fact, the term “witness” may be more appropriate now than ever in describing Christianity.

World Youth Alliance active and growing in Canada

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{mosimage}TORONTO - The Canadian committee of the World Youth Alliance marked its recent inception by hosting speakers Feb. 27 on the topic of refugees, immigrants and multiculturalism in Canada.

The World Youth Alliance, based in New York City, is an international body of youth promoting human dignity at the United Nations and in communities around the globe. The conference was the third of its kind — similar conferences were held in 2008 and 2009 in Ottawa and New York City — but the first planned and executed by an organized Canadian committee.

Being a witness for Christ means loving others

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{mosimage}Editor’s note: This is the second place entry for the Friars Student Writing Award contest sponsored by the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement and The Catholic Register. Katie Gillis, 18, is a Grade 12 student at Father Leo J. Austin Catholic Secondary School in Whitby, Ont.

“You are witnesses to these things” (Luke 24:48).

This Scripture passage is the guideline for what we, as Christians, are being called to do. God has been calling us to love one another since the start of time. One could argue this is our vocation which we are meant to fulfill throughout our lifetime. Whether young or old, all people of God are called to love one another as they want to be loved, and treat one another as they wish to be treated.