Youth Speak News

{mosimage}Famille Marie Jeunesse will welcome 300 youth to join them for its 20th Youth Council — a bilingual weekend of prayer, skits, teachings and more, taking place June 26-29.

Famille Marie-Jeunesse is a movement of lay and consecrated young people living in community in Sherbrooke, Que. The community follows a Marian and eucharistic spirituality and is one of five similar households around the world.

Teen Bible study focuses on Jean Vanier

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{mosimage}TORONTO - L’Arche Canada has published a youth Bible study to inspire teens and help them find their calling in life.

Exploring Your Future: A Youth Bible Study with Jean Vanier aims to help teens counter the bad influences that can throw them off the path to success.

“The youth of today are the adults of tomorrow,” said Jessica Vorstermans, an educational initiatives facilitator for L’Arche Canada, based in Toronto.

The future is in our hands

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It’s almost the end of June. Usually in a student’s mind this means the school year is coming to an end. I’ve often simply seen it this way until now, as this will be the last month of my high school career. I will never have to deal with hard-to-understand math teachers or the 12-minute run our gym teachers force us to do.

Yet, in some ways, no matter how nagging some of those memories are, they always seemed to bring a smile to my face and a good laugh with all my friends. But do the good times stop as soon as graduation is over? I hope not.

World Youth Alliance forms Canadian committee

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{mosimage}As the World Youth Alliance (WYA) celebrates the tenth anniversary of its founding in New York City, it also prepares to add another committee to its ranks — the first and only Canadian committee.

“This national committee will allow WYA to better respond to the issues the Canadians uniquely face as barriers to further development and allow WYA to be able to communicate more effectively with its members,” said Seanna Magee, a Catholic resident of Toronto who interned with WYA’s headquarters in 2005 and will be spearheading the new committee with the help of WYA’s North American director.

Peer support, a recipe for success

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{mosimage}TORONTO - At Neil McNeil High School the popular phrase of “youth empowering youth” is taken seriously.

Not only are senior students at the all-boys school motivated to lead by example as big brothers helping the junior students socially and emotionally, but they have also helped their peers shine academically through their peer support program which recently won their school’s leadership team a Premiers’ Award for Teaching Excellence.

The program was developed several years ago after the school partnered with the Search Institute, a non-profit action research organization in the United States. Search provides leadership, knowledge, resources and a framework of developmental assets as a way to assess the health and well-being of young people.

Catholic slice misrepresented

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Everybody goes through phases where they think nobody understands them, myself included. But over the last few years, and recently especially, I have begun to feel that many people just don’t seem to understand my religion.

Why? I’m not a member of some obscure cult; I’m a Catholic. Catholicism is a major world religion and definitely a good slice of the religious pie here in Canada. But somehow many people still have no idea what it’s all about. In school I often get asked why we Catholics “worship the Pope or the saints,” why we “force baptism on babies” instead of letting them choose later and why we “call that piece of bread God.”

Teens encounter Christ on P.E.I.

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{mosimage}RUSTICO, P.E.I. - The floors shook at Belcourt Centre in Rustico as 47 youth from across the island jumped in unison to a song in the centre’s chapel. The teens, ages 16 and up, gathered May 15-17 for the bi-annual 2009 Teen Encounter retreat.

Teen Encounter is a unique, relationship-based retreat for Catholic youth, led by youth under the supervision of spiritual directors. It is all about “helping teens form healthy relationships with Jesus, themselves and others,” said Sr. Joan Chaisson, who with Fr. John Molina acted as spiritual advisors throughout the weekend.

March for Life more than a day off of school

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In May, I joined more than 20 other students from my school for the 12th annual March for Life in Ottawa. I joined expecting a nice three-day trip to Ottawa and little more. I was very mistaken.

Just after noon on May 14 the rally began on Parliament Hill, as did the rain and wind. Though somewhat unpleasant at first I took it as just a test from God and perhaps many others did as well since no one seemed to mind.

Catholic scouts celebrate 10 years

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{mosimage}TORONTO - The Federation of North-American Explorers (FNE) in Toronto is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.

European contacts who helped Canadians establish the Catholic faith-based youth movement were in Toronto this spring to share in the excitement.

“There is great potential here if we compare it with the Western countries,” said Giovanni Franchi, the Italian Federal President of the International Union of European Guides and Scouts (FSE) on which FNE bases its program.


Winnipeg students experience Toronto social justice

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TORONTO - The swine flu outbreak in Mexico gave four students from St. Paul’s College at the University of Manitoba a chance to discover social justice issues in Toronto.

“It was a real blessing,” said Lori Ryan, the national co-ordinator of Canadian Catholic Campus Ministry and Catholic Campus Students Association . “I felt that God strongly wanted us to do this. This trip speaks to the incredible work being done in Toronto.”


Dealing with death and loss

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On April 10 I was getting ready for another tedious day of school, looking forward to the long Easter weekend and preparing myself to speak with family members who would be particularly emotional because it was a day before the two-year anniversary of my uncle’s death. I was also feeling particularly sorry for myself, believing that I truly deserved this break because the stress of school was becoming unbearable.