Youth Speak News

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.