"Let them run, jump, sing, do anything but sin". These words of Don Bosco inspire the wide array of activities available to the youth of our parish.
Salesian Youth Ministry models itself of the iconic experience of Don Bosco's "oratory", the place where he gathered youth to live, to learn, to laugh, to pray. The oratory provided a wholesome environment that provided for the holistic development of young people, promoting their human and spiritual growth, their personal and social maturity. Don Bosco did all he could to help the young become good citizens and solid Christians.
Today, we refer to Don Bosco's "oratorian criteria" as the guiding principles for the various dimensions of our Salesian Youth Ministry. We offer the young a safe, trusting, faithfilled atmosphere which becomes a home that welcomes, a school that educates for life, a playground where friends can gather, and a church that accompanies the young on their journey of faith.
Feel free to visit our new Salesian Youth Ministry Website: www.salesianym.ca
Select a Youth Ministry Group
(SLR) Salesian Leadership Retreats
To make young potential Christian Leaders AWARE of their Christian Leadership potential.
To have young potential Christian leaders ACCEPT their responsibility to share and use their leadership gifts with their school community
To ENABLE young potential Christian leaders to actively serve their school community as committed students, leaders, and peer ministers.
or visit our youth site www.salesianym.ca
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Columbian Squires is a boys’ organization sponsored by the Knight of Columbus to form boys from ages 10 to 18 to be leaders. The Squires meet once a month for Circle Business Meeting. They have elected officers voted in by their peers, once a year. They gather for social, spiritual and sports events. These gatherings help them to grow as young Catholics in the Church and society today.
416-743-3830 X 6
Centred in Christ and united in our call to holiness, we provide opportunities to deepen and explore the Catholic faith, connect with people who share similar values, and reach out to the surrounding community.
To be added to our contact list or for any inquiries, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Prayer Gatherings/Faith Formation: Zane Chu
Website/Communications: Mitchelle D'Souza
Inspire us by the example of Your only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ.
Teach us to follow His acts of compassion and generosity towards all people.
Never allow us to cease our imitation of Him.
Encourage us towards righteousness in times of temptation and adversity.
Send forth Your Holy Spirit upon us, to always lead and guide us.
Sanctify our mission to be witnesses of the truth, so that all may believe.
World Youth Day (WYD)
WYD Sydney Australia from July 15 – 20, 2008: Why Its Worth All the Time and Expense.
Our Don Bosco Youth Canada group was 44 people strong, representing Missione Maria Ausiliatrice in Montreal, St. Benedict Parish in Toronto, and Our Lady of Good Counsel in Surrey. Sydney was my sixth WYD experience, so while these most recent thoughts come from “the Great Southland of the Holy Spirit”, as Australia, was once called, they also reflect some consistent themes linked to the “WYD culture” that has shaped the JPII generation.
To be sure, WYD could be dismissed by some as "catholic sight-seeing", but that would be to miss the genius of Pope John Paul II who re-invented the ancient practice of spiritual pilgrimage for modern youth. I am convinced of the validity of WYD as an important experience of Salesian youth ministry and spirituality. I am convinced it opens the hearts of the young to the “catholicity” of the church, and the importance of the role of unity offered by the successor of St. Peter. As a group leader, and as a Salesian at that, I am challenged to keep these dimensions ever present in the minds and hearts of the pilgrims I accompany, both in the preparation for WYD and especially – most especially - in the follow up.
The physical journey from home to the WYD destination is an apt metaphor for the spiritual journey that our young people desire to make. As a Salesian, it is a metaphor for the mission we embrace as faith-educators of the young. One line from the homily of Pope Benedict at the closing mass captured this for me personally: One mission, lived fully, is more important that a thousand options never taken.
At WYD, one joins joyful throngs of young people, enjoying the simplicity of laughter shared in good company. One shared their heartfelt and spontaneous participation in prayer, their preparedness to make sacrifices to attend a catechesis and listen to the Pope, their spiritual awakenings and their humble questioning of their faith, their courage to break the silence about fears and doubts that heretofore lay silent in their hearts .
Looking through Salesian lenses, it is obvious that WYD resonates with the same pastoral genius as Don Bosco’s oratory: the power of the “educative environment” to communicate a message even before a word is spoken; the group experience that is for many young people the first - if not the most meaningful - experience of “church”; the International Salesian Rally, now a hallmark of every WYD, as an eye-opening experience of Salesian family as they witness Don Bosco’s charism shared across the planet, filling them with pride and surprise that they belong to something so “big”, that reaches beyond their country, culture or language.
As an ecclesial event, WYD has no parallel. At morning catechesis, young people experience first hand the teaching role of the bishops; they listen to a catechesis offered by a successor of the Apostles, and then enjoy a relaxed and rare opportunity to ask them questions. They eagerly frequent the sacrament of reconciliation. They attend the Eucharist with reverence. Where else can young people experience both the “Magisterium-in-action” and the paternal leadership of the episcopacy in such a personal, unintimidating, youth-friendly way? How easy it is to discuss with the youth the bishop’s role to teach, guide and sanctify after they’ve had the experience in a positive way! Furthermore, in the light of the Papacy’s charism to attract crowds, linked with Pope Benedict’s more reserved character, it has become increasingly clear to the young pilgrims that we attend WYD not simply to "see" the Pope, but to encounter Christ, to whom the Pope points and around whom the faithful gather in unity for direction and leadership.
Finally, the presence of Mary, is keenly felt at WYD. Again, as a Salesian, it was particularly sweet to invoke Mary as Help of Christians in Australia, where she is invoked as Patron under that title. By now, most people are familiar with the WYD cross; less familiar perhaps is this: with the WYD cross travels an icon of the Blessed Mother. In every language under the sun, Mary is a pilgrim who journeys with us. For many pilgrims, the opportunity to learn the Hail Mary by heart through the daily rosary shared with new-found friends is a precious WYD souvenir that they will carry with them for life.
The theme for WYD Sydney was from Acts 1:8, You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses. In so many ways, this new Pentecsost has begun. At the end of WYD, one pilgrim from Toronto shared her appreciation of the Holy Father’s words at the Prayer Vigil, where he drew on St. Augustine to teach about the Holy Spirit. Because of that talk, she said, “I can now pray to the Holy Spirit as someone I know, as someone I can listen to; before, I knew that I was supposed to believe in the Holy Spirit as the 3rd person of the Trinity, and I mentioned him every time I made the sign of the cross, but now He is much more alive for me. One Montreal pilgrim was touched by the Spirit at Lake Garibaldi outside Vancouver, where the “sheer beauty of the mountain and the lake made me feel God so close to me, like never before. I had goose bumps and just had to be alone for a while to say thanks”. Especially for first-time WYD pilgrims, the power of the Holy Spirit was felt in the sheer volume of Catholic young people, together in one place, simply because they are catholic. This was a powerful antidote to the isolation of our post-modern age; in a world that increasingly “privatizes” religion, the Holy Spirit empowered the young to pray in public, and thus to have taken one significant step forward as witnesses to Christ.
The WYD program revolves around the paschal mystery Christ, depicted through the Via Crucis on Friday, the Vigil on Saturday, and the Celebration of the Eucharist on Sunday. This year’s Crucifixion scene was iconic. A crucified Christ hung along Sydney Harbor as the sun set dramatically in the background. Scripture, drama, cinematography converged to speak eloquently about this pivotal event of Salvation History. Between the dying Christ and the Good Thief stretched the Sydney Harbour bridge, suggesting visually the timeless truth that Christ is the bridge between life and death, between a meaningless existence and fullness of life, between heaven and earth. That image alone, etched on the hearts of the young, would have justified the journey to the Great Southland of the Holy Spirit. Blessed as we are by the digital age, we have every possibility to deepen the experience by downloading the teachings and homilies offered at WYD and discussing them, meditating on them, as a way to keep the experience alive on our on-going pilgrimage to the Father.
Acts 1, 8