Youth Speak News

Kelden FormosaMARKHAM, Ont. - Catholic youth leadership is alive and well in the archdiocese of Toronto.

The Office of Catholic Youth’s yearly banquet highlighted Catholic leadership, and gave a video look into the lives of six phenomenal young leaders from parishes throughout the archdiocese to the record crowd of 550.

Students prepare weekly for annual March for Life

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. - Leading up to the annual March for Life in Ottawa, youth from across the country spend months busily preparing themselves for the event. And when they return home, the issue remains for many a priority.

pro-life club’s new awareness shirtsAt Our Lady of Mount Carmel Secondary School in Mississauga, a group of enthusiastic students was among the thousands of Catholic students who prepared for the annual pilgrimage, which took place May 13. Students who attend the March usually come back to share their experience and newfound knowledge with their peers. The school organized its first trip for the rally last year after history teacher Paul Medeiros inspired a class with a discussion comparing abortion to a modern Holocaust.

St. Bon's an oasis of faith in St. John's, Nfld.

St. Bonaventure’s CollegeST. JOHN’S, Nfld. - In a desert of secular schools, St. Bonaventure’s College is an oasis.

Started in 1856, one year after the consecration of the neighbouring Basilica of St. John the Baptist, the College has been an integral part of the fabric of St. John’s. In 1998, denominational education was ended in the province, and St. Bonaventure’s (St. Bon’s) was targeted for closure. However, the following year, without any government support, the school reopened as a private college. The 2009-2010 school year marks the 10th anniversary of this rebirth.

Malaria Day crosses religious divide

Malaria DayTORONTO - Student advocates for the Tony Blair Faith Foundation mobilized their school communities to take action against malaria in cities around the world for World Malaria Day April 25.

The foundation, created by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, aims to promote respect and understanding about the world’s major religions and show how faith is a powerful force for good, using the eradication of malaria as a common goal. Students in Toronto were no exception.

Summit invites youth to be sent

Ottawa Youth Summit 2010Canada’s capital will play host to its first Youth Summit this month, taking the torch from Quebec City which started hosting the youth gatherings in 2005.

The bilingual event in Ottawa May 21-24 promises to draw up to 500 young adults, ages 17-35, who will participate in activities and events centred around the theme “Sent!”

According to organizers, the theme is meant to bring participants to reflect on their personal role “as missionaries in today’s Church, particularly amidst other young adults.”

Youth voice needed in social justice reforms

Bishop McGrattan and Fr. CostelloTORONTO - A Newman Centre evening aimed at revitalizing Catholic social justice work in downtown Toronto got people talking mainly about who wasn’t there.

The April 19 gathering of about 60 people for Mass, potluck dinner and discussion was supposed to draw young people, but couldn’t compete with exams, the start of summer jobs, moving dates and all the other commitments students face in the spring.

When Jesuit Father Jack Costello looked out at the grey-haired crowd in the Newman Centre chapel he said he would have to adjust his homily to fit an older crowd than he had expected.

Refugee concert to help refugees set for El Mocambo May 7

archTorontoLogoTORONTO - When she volunteered for the Toronto archdiocese’s Office for Refugees’ Catholic refugee sponsorship conference in January, 25-year-old volunteer Emily Anderson noticed a marked absence.

“I know from experience volunteering with other organizations that there is often a lot of youth involvement, especially with mandatory high school volunteer programs, so I saw a real void and thought it’s probably because there’s not really an outlet for the youth to know about these kind of circumstances,” Anderson said.

Toronto students help out Peru mission project


{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


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


{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

{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.