Youth Speak News

Since I first started participating in youth-related activities within my parish and diocese, just weeks prior to World Youth Day 2002, I have noticed a couple things. One is that twice as many youth are involved at my parish than when I was first starting. Secondly, everyone seems a little more keen on helping their community or openly sharing their faith with others.

Canadian youth join fight against malaria

{mosimage}Eight Canadian youth have become Faiths Act Fellows in a program launched by the Tony Blair Faith Foundation in April.

They will join 22 other youth worldwide in the fight against malaria. They will receive training, gain hands-on experience in Africa and return to promote interfaith involvement on the global issue of malaria.

The initiative partnered here with the Belinda Stronach Foundation and the Interfaith Youth Core (IYC) in Chicago that will help train and support the youth. In Canada, the fellows will be hosted by the Multifaith Centre at the University of Toronto , the Micah Challenge Canada in Ottawa and the Canadian Centre for Ecumenism in Montreal.

Parishes need to engage youth

{mosimage}SAINT JOHN, N.B. - The diocese of Saint John was the second stop in a series of three youth ministry workshops, led by Neil MacCarthy, head of communications for the archdiocese of Toronto, April 24-26.

On his Saint John stop, at St. Ann’s parish, MacCarthy spoke about youth ministry and how to involve young people in the life of the church. The group was small, but extremely enthusiastic.

Give Mom the gift of time

{mosimage}Soon enough every son, daughter and father will be stressing out to find that last-minute Mother’s Day gift for the special woman in their life.

Most mothers will probably be expecting the cliché of Mother’s Day gifts: the bouquet of flowers. But let me give some advice for those gift-hunters. I suggest a gift that the mother in your life will cherish forever: time.

Teens 'lift Jesus higher' in Toronto

{mosimage}TORONTO - Hundreds of Ontario youth congregated in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre for fellowship and praise at Catholic Renewal Ministries’ Lift Jesus Higher Youth Rally April 18.

This annual event, held in conjunction with the adult rally, drew 1,500 youth to celebrate this year’s theme, Divine Mercy.

Fifteen-year-old Oriana Vanderfleet, from St. John of the Cross parish in Mississauga, said she attended the all-day rally because it would be an interesting experience.

Teens share values, morals, ethics

{mosimage}TORONTO - Senator O’Connor College High School in North York hosted its fifth annual Building Bridges — Bridging the Gap event April 14.

With a theme of “What would Jesus Do?” the aim was to ease Grade eight students in the transition to high school, explain to the 285 students attending what it means to be a healthy citizen and teach them how God made everyone unique and for a reason.

Secure in His hands

Faith is defined as a secure belief in God and a trusting acceptance of God’s will. I haven’t had to rely on pure faith very often. I have a secure and content life with very little uncertainty.

People talk about taking “leaps of faith,” but I cannot recall any instances when I’ve been required to do so. However, I will soon be entering the age where I am no longer living at home and am confronted with the adult world.

Bramption youth bring Way of the Cross to life


{mosimage}BRAMPTON, Ont. - The congregation sat in semi-darkness in St. Jerome’s parish, silently awaiting the start of the devotional performance of the “Way of the Cross” by the parish’s youth. It was not a play, but rather an extended prayer that the members of the youth group performed on Good Friday.

Every year for the past decade, the youth have spent the better part of four months rehearsing and preparing spiritually for their re-enactment of the passion of Jesus Christ.

The Passion was narrated by Cheryl Saldanha, who voiced Mary, the mother of Jesus.

A religious sports fan’s internal conflict

Toronto sports teams are recognized for their huge fan base. Whenever our teams are playing, we’re right there in the stands with them, supporting them through thick and thin. The people of Toronto support many teams, including the Leafs, Raptors, Blue Jays and Toronto FC.

But when does this passion for the game go too far? Is it right for someone to be more devoted to a sports team than their religion?

Loran award recognizes Ellie Jin's character

{mosimage}THORNHILL, Ont. - Ellie Jin’s future prospects have become a little brighter now that she’s been honoured with the Loran Award.

Each year the Loran Award, the premier scholarship of The Canadian Merit Scholarship Foundation , is offered to 30 students throughout Canada based not only on grades but on their character, service and leadership, academic and extra-curricular activities and a strongly developed sense of inner direction and self-government. Jin was among those chosen.

“I found it humbling and staggering at the same time,” said Jin, a Grade 12 student at St. Elizabeth Catholic High School in Thornhill. “I was so moved. I will always walk forward knowing that someone had believed in me and wanted to invest in me.”

What a friend we have in Jesus

It is said in a proverb: “show me your friends, and I’ll tell you who you are.” If that is the case, then I should be a music loving, fashion minded, game playing, theatre-loving person. While some of that’s true, I don’t see all of it. However, I am forgetting one important friend on that list: Jesus. It’s interesting, because I forget to include Him on my best friends’ list, but he is one of the people I speak to most in the day.

“What a friend we have in Jesus.” This famous hymn, a beautiful reminder of our friendship with Christ, was actually written as a poem in 1855 by Joseph Scriven. In 1845, he was engaged to be married, but his fiancée drowned the night before they were to be wed. He moved from Ireland to Canada to put it behind him. While in Canada, he met another woman, who he also was betrothed to, but she died of pneumonia, also before their marriage. The poem was originally titled “Pray Without Ceasing,” and was written to comfort his mother, who was still residing in Ireland. The poem was later re-titled “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” and music was written by Charles Converse.