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The martyrs of the era of World War II were remarkable men and women of valor. Some endured years of horror and pain, and others were killed in sudden violence. Blessed Marcel Callo endured several forms of martyrdom before dying, but he entered the arena of suffering with a willing heart, as he explained it, ...read more
A young Filipino catechist martyred on Guam. He traveled to Guam with Blessed Father Diego Luis San Vitores (beatified in 1985) and there encountered hostile natives. Both he and Blessed Diego were murdered and hurled into the sea. Their bodies were never recovered. Pedro was beatified on March 5, 2000. From the homily of Pope ...read more
Days before World Youth Day 2002’s Way of the Cross, the event’s director, Father Robert Gendreau, was concerned that there was not a lot of media interest in this grand-scale Stations of the Cross. Stretching along one of Toronto’s busiest avenues with hundreds of people involved, and six months in the making, this was no ...read more
Therese Martin was born on January 2, 1873, in France. After their mother died, her two older sisters, Pauline and Marie, entered the Carmelite convent of Lisieux. These losses plunged young Therese into an emotional illness from which she was miraculously cured by the “Smiling Virgin” Mary. Early on, Therese dreamed of becoming a Carmelite ...read more
Andrew, from Phu Yen (1624–1644), became a martyr for his faith. Born to a poor mother in the province of Phu Yen, he went on to study with the Jesuits and was baptized when he was sixteen years old. He became a catechist and evangelized with zeal, filled with the love of God and wanting ...read more
Retrospect. Hindsight. Looking back. We’re often asked how we might redo history, knowing what we know now. What would I change about the summer of 2002? Nothing. World Youth Day 2002 provided me with one my first jobs… I was working in the Program Department helping to organize the volunteers and logistics of festival stages ...read more
Pier Giorgio Frassati was born in Turin (Italy) on April 6, 1901. His mother was a painter. His father, a notorious agnostic, was an impressive man: founder of the liberal newspaper La Stampa and influential in politics, he was named Senator and Ambassador of Italy in Germany. Pier Giorgio grew up with a younger sister, ...read more
Agnes, a young Christian convert, is honored as one of the four great virgin martyrs of the Christian Church. She died for her faith in the early fourth century during the reign of Diocletian (284-305), the Roman emperor who ordered the last great persecution of Christians, starting in early 303. St. Agnes, not only had ...read more
“Just as salt gives flavour to food and light illumines the darkness, so too holiness gives full meaning to life and makes it reflect God’s glory. How many saints, especially young saints, can we count in the Church’s history! In their love for God their heroic virtues shone before the world, and so they became ...read more
The other day I decided to unearth the red and beige bag that lays at the bottom of my closet. The occasion was the fifth anniversary of Toronto’s World Youth Day. The bag: the official Toronto WYD backpack. The contents: worn pamphlets, tattered maps, and torn flyers I enthusiastically collected between July 23rd and July ...read more