Youth Speak News

I find the circumstances of my birth quite interesting in light of public efforts to pass Bill C-384. When I was born 15 weeks prematurely I weighed less than two pounds. I also had underdeveloped lungs and experienced extreme pain. To ease the pain, my doctors gave me morphine which I had a bad reaction to. I stopped breathing and my condition became critical. The doctors said I wouldn’t survive. If I did I would have a disability.

Fortunately, while I did acquire cerebral palsy, I did not die. I was nursed back to health by dedicated doctors and nurses.

Finding our identity in God

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My generation has grown up with confidence as something of a buzzword. Especially for young women, self-confidence — or a lack thereof — is a constant issue, something that we are always told needs building up. We are taught that post-modernity is characterized by our uncertainty and our lack of confidence in ourselves and our environment.

Is there really a way to fix this? Our favourite scapegoats, mass media, entertain and inform us daily. While we may decry its influence over us, media consumption is a hard habit to shake. In our secular world, having confidence is indeed a challenge — except for believers.

Consecrated virgin tells her story

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{mosimage}WINNIPEG - Since the age of six, Jennifer Waroway felt called to dedicate her life to God. But it wasn’t until about three years ago that the 33-year-old Grade 5 school teacher realized that consecrated virginity was the way she would live that out.

According to recent reports, there are only 60 known consecrated virgins in Canada and some 3,000 worldwide. Perhaps this is why it took Waroway 24 years to discover this particular way of life.

Overcoming pornography addiction

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{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.

Mummering for the holidays

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It’s Boxing Day. A group of friends get together, put on strange clothes and cover their faces with masks and pillow cases. They walk to a stranger’s house, bang on the door and, in a fake voice, demand to be let in. You may think I’m describing a robbery, but it’s a favourite Christmas activity for many Newfoundlanders. It’s called mummering.

Mummering, which came to Newfoundland with the first settlers from Ireland and England in the 1500s, is all about having a good time with friends and strangers alike during the Christmas season.

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.

Changing your water to wine

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A wise priest recently asked me to reflect on the Wedding at Cana, the site of Jesus’ first miracle.

At Cana, when, to their great shame, the hosts of the wedding run out of wine, Mary informs Jesus of the situation and then tells the servants, “Do whatever He tells you.” Jesus guides every step from then onward until He miraculously turns the water into the very best wine.

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.