Youth Speak News

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.

A voice for the voiceless

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The media in Canada often show an anti-Catholic bias. Few things are more misrepresented than the pro-life movement. That’s why I was very interested to do a television interview on Newfoundland Television (NTV) on Good Friday during the annual pro-life walk.

At 9:30 a.m., I joined a crowd of around 300 pro-life activists holding pro-life posters in the parking lot of the Health Sciences Centre, Newfoundland’s largest hospital. Sadly, hundreds of babies are aborted here annually. During the peaceful demonstration, I joined my friend Steve and his seven-month pregnant wife Angela. This was their first year at the walk and their witness was great.

Refugee concert to help refugees set for El Mocambo May 7

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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.

Fulfilling our Christian role

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Every year, Easter Sunday Mass can be described quite accurately by one word: filled. The rafters are filled with the angelic voices of the choir, our hearts are filled with the joy of Christ’s resurrection and, quite noticeably, the pews are filled with people.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our churches were always that packed? Alas, the holidays conclude, attendance decreases and Mass is once again celebrated by the regular flow of parishioners.

Toronto students help out Peru mission project

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{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.

Tackling student loan temptation

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Abercrombie. Hollister. Apple. BlackBerry. Nike. Starbucks. The invitation to consumerism is all around us, and living on a university campus doesn’t offer much help.

With government and provincial loans, students often feel like they have just won the lottery and can spend “their” money without a care in the world. As such, many post-secondary students graduate with high debt and financial woes.

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.

Faith needs godly deeds

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A popular saying among Christians is “faith without deeds is dead.”

This saying (James 2:14-26) tells the reader that it is not enough to simply believe in God; one must also do His will by striving for righteousness and doing good deeds.

There’s much truth to this as it is clear that anyone who claims they have faith but does not accompany their faith with good works is not sincere. If a person said they believed in God but ignored the less fortunate or were abusive to their family, one would consider this person a fraud. However, the converse also applies. Christian works without faith are inert.

To me, works without faith are deeds we perform without sincere and godly intentions. They are godly deeds performed or looked at in an ungodly manner. Consider people who give to charity only to receive praise. These people tend to give money only to receive acclaim from others. But when a homeless person asks for money, they suddenly become tight-fisted.

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.