Youth Speak News

{mosimage}Since he began an online ministry a few months ago to help those struggling with pornography, Matthew Fradd has been sharing this motto: “To the degree you love women, fight pornography.”

Fradd says www.whodoesithurt.com ’s mission is to break the silence and expose the lies surrounding pornography and its devastating, anti-love nature, as well as to point those with the struggle to “the love and healing of Jesus Christ.”

Symposium shows the homeless reality

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Catholic students from across Toronto sat in silence as John Bransfield and Joey Ivory, a young engaged couple, described their tragic struggle with homelessness.

The couple was asked to speak at the annual Social Justice Symposium, hosted by Brebeuf College School on Dec. 11, at Toronto’s University of St. Michael’s College campus.

Salesian retreat a success with students

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{mosimage}TORONTO - As two buses pulled into the parking lot of St. Benedict’s parish on Nov. 29, a group of 60 Grade 11 students from Catholic secondary schools across Toronto began “a new chapter of their lives.”

The students, who had spent the previous weekend on a Salesian Leadership Retreat north of Toronto, returned “lighter,” said Atrin Parastesh, a retreatant from Bishop Allen Academy.

Jesus Youth leader, George Devassy, found God early

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{mosimage}Born and raised in India, George Devassy has a real passion for the youth and for his faith as a Catholic. And it is this passion that led him to become the international co-ordinator of the Jesus Youth lay movement at the age of 26.

Jesus Youth was established during the World Youth Day 2002 in Toronto. Jesus Youth Canada has a charismatic spirituality and adopts a lifestyle of personal prayer, the Word of God, sacraments, fellowship, service and evangelization. Originating from India, Jesus Youth is now active in 24 countries and continues to serve the church.

Patrick Hanlon is dedicated to the service of life

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{mosimage}ST. JOHN’S Nfld. - When Patrick Hanlon was a young man, he heard a very disturbing comment. He was walking with his mother and mentally and physically disabled sister, when he heard people say behind her back, “Wouldn’t she be better off dead?”

Hanlon was horrified to think that some people didn’t consider the sister he loved so dearly worthy of life.

Mississauga youth host families in transition

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{mosimage} MISSISSAUGA, Ont.  - When asked about the conflicts she faced in her home country of Nigeria, J.P., who did not wish to disclose her full name, was shaken up in discussing an unjust past she has worked hard to put behind her. Hers is a story of courage and determination shared by 135 refugees who attended the seventh annual Family Faith Night dinner and talent show at St. Marcellinus Catholic Secondary School  Nov. 26.

J.P. came to Canada in 2001, a process that was far from easy. Along with her two sons, Kenny, seven, and Alex, 12, J.P. found support and comfort in Sojourn House, a “short-term shelter for refugees who have no option to stay somewhere decent, and a transitional house that provides a longer-time stay for refugees who have experienced trauma,” said Everton Gordon, the shelter manager.

Students learn to strive for sainthood

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{mosimage}OAKVILLE, Ont. - The importance of going to Mass and God’s plan for their sainthood became clear to Grade 8 students from the Halton Region through dynamic presentations to boost their faith.

The Halton Catholic District School Board’s 2,100 Grade 8 students were welcomed to Mary Mother of God parish in Oakville for the board’s first youth leadership rally Nov. 17-19.

St. Patrick's student to hoist Olympic torch

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{mosimage}TORONTO - It’s an Olympic dream come true for 15-year-old Toronto student Luis Santiago-Gonsalves.

Although he’s not competing at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, the Grade 10 student at Toronto’s St. Patrick’s High School is going to be part of the Olympic legacy. He was recently chosen to carry the Olympic torch during its cross-Canada stop in Toronto on Dec. 17.

OCY already gearing up for WYD 2011 in Spain

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{mosimage}TORONTO - The Office of Catholic Youth of the archdiocese of Toronto has unveiled its travel plans for World Youth Day 2011, including details about four major formation events.

The trip will begin with two days in Rome in early August, where pilgrims will visit St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel. The next five days will be spent in Cintruenigo, Spain, for “days in the diocese” where pilgrims will pray and interact with a local parish and its families, followed by seven days in Madrid Aug. 15-21 for the World Youth Day celebrations. The OCY will take a maximum of 120 pilgrims between the ages of 18-35.

Interfaith experience deepens faith

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{mosimage}TORONTO - University of Toronto student Mark Harris, 21, recently returned from Nepal where he was studying in an ashram, getting a small feel for the vast complexities of Hindu culture.

As a co-ordinator for the World Spirit Youth Council (WSYC) , this undergraduate hopes to help other young people experience the same thing — a journey into foreign faiths.

Students exposed to Holocaust horror

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{mosimage}TORONTO - By the time she was sweet 16 Miriam Frankel had worn a yellow star, been expelled with her family from Italy by the fascists, lived as a refugee, ridden a cattle car to Auschwitz, worked as a slave on less than 1,000 calories a day, stared Dr. Josef Mengele in the eye and lost her entire family to a planned system of industrialized murder.

“I don’t know why I survived. Maybe it was to tell the story,” Frankel told about 100 people Oct. 28 at one of the first sessions of Toronto’s Holocaust Education Week.

Holocaust Education Week has featured hundreds of speakers throughout the years, with 170 programs offered this year alone. But following in the footsteps of this year’s first presentation, Catholic schools in particular were quick to claim Holocaust survivors as their main speakers, said organizer Mary Siklos, as most Holocaust survivors like Frankel, who is 80, won’t be telling their story much longer.