Sister Mechtilde O’Mara, Ministry Director, and Leanne Kloppenborg, Administrator, are delighted to welcome Kataryna Kuzar as our new Program Director for Faith Connections. She brings her enthusiasm for young adult ministry, as well as her administrative and event planning experience, to our work. We look forward to a wonderful collaboration.
Salt + Light Media says, "Do you think young people are not in Church? Think again, This week we speak with Sr. Mechtilde O’Mara, CSJ and Vanessa Nicholas-Schmidt of Faith Connections, about young portraits of faith..."
Dear Friends of Faith Connections,
Vanessa Nicholas-Schmidt, the Program Director of Faith Connections, has accepted a position as the Manager of Mission and Values at Providence Healthcare beginning March 20, 2017. Though we are saddened at her leaving, Vanessa goes with our blessing and our prayers for her and her family as she navigates this transition. The presence and collaboration of our volunteers is even more necessary in the days ahead.
We at Faith Connections will miss our valued colleague and dear friend as we reflect on the many gifts she has brought to this ministry: intelligence, joy, creativity, theological expertise, organizational and administrative skills. And that is just the beginning of the list!
The first Theology on Tap of 2017, held at the Duke of York, was packed. The crowd of young adults were eager to hear Fr. Tom Rosica’s reflections on Amoris Laetitia – “Understanding the Joy of Love” (2016). This is the Pope’s Pastoral Letter which came out of the 2014-2015 Synod of Bishops. Fr. Tom gave a quick summary of the origins of synods (a word which comes from Latin meaning to “walk together”). Since Vatican II (1960s) these synods have taken place every 4 years with cardinals, bishops, lay people and consecrated coming together to reflect on the life of the church worldwide. At the most recent synod, the focus was on the family: marriage, children, elderly, divorce, infertility, etc.
The “Week of Prayer for Christian Unity” is Jan 18-25, 2017.
We invite you to pray in solidarity with all Christians:
Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
we thank you for this week of prayer for Christian Unity,
for being together as Christians
and for the different ways
we have experienced your presence.
Let us always praise your holy name together
so that we may continue to grow in unity and reconciliation.
In our work for unity may we be people of reconciliation and peace:
“Where there is hatred, may we sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.”
We pray this in the name of Christ, whose love compels us.
In our pursuit of holiness, we often encounter God’s command to love. In the sacramental readings in marriage, Paul counsels us that “[Love] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7). Pope Francis explores this deeper in Amoris Laetia where he writes “This ‘endurance’ involves not only the ability to tolerate certain aggravations, but something greater: a constant readiness to confront any challenge. It is a love that never gives up, even in the darkest hour” (88).
At the November 15 launch of Faith Connections’ Portraits of Faith: Young Adult Catholics Share their Stories, eighty-five friends and supporters celebrated with the 18 young adult authors (six men, six women and three couples) who hail from across Canada and beyond. The project had its genesis with Joe Sinasac, Publishing Director of Novalis, who noted that Pope Paul VI had described evangelization as most effective when it is done through the sharing of real-life stories. “We wanted,” he said, “to counter-act all the negativity swirling in the world around us about the Church and religious faith in general....Their stories are compelling, inspiring and full of hope and faith...accounts of real people who lived through various ups and downs, some facing very difficult challenges in their lives. A common thread through them all is the faith they share in Jesus Christ and his message of mercy and redemption.”
It is with great excitement that we announce the arrival of the very first book to come out of our Faith Connections ministry, Portraits of Faith: Young Adult Catholics Share Their Stories!
We have been busy this afternoon preparing for the book launch tonight at the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto's administration centre, where attendees will have a chance to meet and mingle with the book's young adult authors.
The Catholic Register writes,
"Combine a little walk, a little prayer, three churches and group of young people from a variety of faiths, and you have the makings of a pretty interesting Sunday afternoon in downtown Toronto.
"It’s called a Hike and Prayer event, and on Nov. 6 it lived up to its promise for the group of young adults (age 18-35), with the added bonus of good weather and nice Toronto downtown scenery."
Young adult Zachary Grant (program director of the CSJ Justice Ministry) spoke about “From Disconnection to Reconnection – Human Relationships in Action” on October 24, 2016. This Theology on Tap evening at the Duke of York gathered 70 young adults. The topic, near and dear to Pope Francis, heightened our awareness of society’s prevalent extractive ideology and its impacts on God’s creation.
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