Page 1







A New Renaissance Begins . . . . . . . . 1-2 Of Mountains and Men. . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

b y S A R A LO F T S O N

Campus Close-Ups. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4-7

Alumni in Action . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Bringing in the New Year with style . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10


A New Renaissance


Was prayer my answer? . . . . . . . . . . . . 8



was CCO’s eighth annual Christmas

ongs of praise to God replaced

conference. The five-day conference

the clang of champagne glasses

offers daily Mass and rosary, an oppor-

at CCO's Rise Up New Year’s eve

tunity for reconciliation and adoration,

bash at the Fairmont Hotel in Calgary.

talks, workshops and fellowship. The

Preparing to celebrate 20 years. . . . . . 11

Youth clustered together with hands

theme this year was "Renaissance of

Eucharistic Congress . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

outstretched, singing full blast along

Hope." Over 450 youth from 65 univer-

with the Catholic Christian Outreach

sities and colleges across the country

worship band.

were challenged and encouraged to be



As an alumna who’s been involved

catalysts in this rebirth of hope.

with CCO for three years, this was my

A number of speakers addressed the

second Rise Up. I can’t imagine cele-

theme, including Calgary Bishop Fred

brating New Year’s any other way.

Henry, whose diocese hosted the event,

Rise Up Calgary

Vancouver coadjutor Archbishop J. Michael Miller, Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, SJ, sociologist Reginald Bibby, Fr. Thomas Rosica, CEO of Salt + Light Television, as well as CCO staff members Brett Powell, Eric Chow and Kelly Boyko. Christian hope is not to be confused …continued on page 2


… A New Renaissance


with optimism, said Archbishop Miller. It is a profound hope that survives and strengthens in light of death, disease, depression, destitution. The challenges to our hope today are many: a parent who has rejected the Church, a best friend in a bad relationship, a sibling addicted to gambling or drugs. Back home in Toronto, I compared New Year's stories with a non-Christian friend. She had been to a party that included entertainment such as knocking open a piñata with pornography inside. When I told her that I danced and sang worship

Michelle Buissé with students at Rise Up.

songs instead of drinking she said, ‘wow, it sounds like we had

of attendance, Bibby inspired hope in the crowd by reporting

a very different New Year.’ This conversation reminded me that

that Catholic participation at church is increasing in Canada.

the story of a Christian life is written out every day through life

Among the conference highlights was a commissioning cer-

affirming choices. Refusing to get drunk at parties, choosing to

emony during which young adults signed a pledge committing

dress modestly - these are among the outward signs of inward

themselves to lead a faith study this year.

grace we receive through hope in Christ.

“This challenge I put before you is the renaissance of hope,”

As Archbishop Miller said, it is through moral growth and

said Vancouver CCO missionary Eric Chow, during a motiva-

virtue that we carve out hope in this world.The lives of the saints

tional talk. CCO promised to send the signatures to every Cana-

are examples of moral growth and Christian hope, said Fr. Rosi-

dian bishop in whose diocese a study would be held.

ca as he painted portraits of modern day saints. “You may hold

“Youth are encouraged not just to be participants, but agents

a Canadian passport, but you also hold a passport to heaven,”

of change,” said Kelly Boyko, CCO’s chief financial officer, who

he said. “The beatitudes are a recipe for this extreme holiness.”

hails from Alberta.

However, living virtuously is challenging and the path to holi-

“I hope I can bring God’s light to other people,” said Melissa

ness is often marked with suffering. Brett Powell encouraged his

Braby, 22, a Psychology major at Dalhousie University in Hali-

audience to go to the cross of Jesus Christ, a symbol of hope in

fax. She plans to lead a faith study on her campus.

times of trouble. The cross reminds us that God loves us passionately and that ultimately, He is in control. While it may appear that the Church is suffering from a lack

“Rise Up gave us an opportunity to realize we’re not isolated. We’re part of a bigger family,” said Michelle Castillo, a 26year-old Calgary native. “It was a chance to plant seeds here in Calgary that I hope will grow into something more fruitful.” Next year CCO celebrates its 20th anniversary at Rise Up in Toronto. I can hardly wait to glorify God at next year’s New Year bash. Until then, I too, will do my part to usher in the renaissance of hope.◆

To listen to Rise Up sessions go to

Brett Powell, André Regnier, Dr. Reginald Bibby and Jeff Lockert.


Of Mountains and Men A by JEFF GR AHAM

house in Vancouver a year ago. “It’s a lot

picture of a young Italian man

of fun, but it always comes back to friend-

from the 1920’s bounding

ship with God and friendship with one

down a mountain with a pipe


clenched between his teeth is appearing

The Frassati house phenomenon first

in an increasing number of houses in

started in Halifax, nearly four years ago.

Canada. Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati,

After CCO’s summer mission project,

patron of youth, is the inspiration for Fras-

IMPACT ’04, a small group of men decid-

it, and chose us over a couple of other

sati Canada, a group of young men’s hous-

ed to create an environment in which they

groups who were interested in renting

es located in Halifax, Ottawa, Saskatoon

could continue growing in virtue and

the place.

and Vancouver. These men are dedicated

holiness and reach out to others. They

Thus the first Frassati house was born,

to holiness and to following the example

envisioned a place that would not only

and the Frassati reputation for holiness

of Pier Giorgio.

promote fervent and orthodox Catholi-

and hospitality soon attracted other

Famous for his love of the Lord and his

cism, but that would also capture Pier

Catholics. Archbishop Prendergast also

fondness of the outdoors, Frassati has

Giorgio’s fun-loving spirit and genuine

became somewhat of a fixture at the house,

inspired these young men, which now

care for others.

regularly giving talks and celebrating Mass.

number over 20, to follow his example.

Most Rev. Archbishop Terrence Pren-

While not all of them share his love of

dergast, SJ, who was the Archbishop of

Pier Giorgio became more well known

tobacco, or scaling mountains on week-

Halifax at the time, caught wind of the idea

to young men during a CCO pilgrimage

ends, they all share his devotion to the

and offered his support. The first order of

which followed World Youth Day in 2005.

Eucharist and to fraternity with other

business for the group was to find a house.

In Pollone, Italy they learned more about

young people.

Right away the men called on the Arch-

him, hiked the mountains he hiked,

bishop for help.

prayed at his favorite shrines, and even

“Living in a Frassati house is great,” said Dan Kraemer, who joined the Frassati

“We found this really great old Victo-

had night-time adoration in the gardens

rian home in downtown

behind his summer home. After the mis-

Halifax that we all thought

sion, two more Frassati houses were estab-

would be perfect,” said Matt

lished in Vancouver and Ottawa. The

Farnand, who was a mem-

group started a website,,

ber of the original group.

to provide information on events. Last

“So when we went to look

year, the prairies began their own chapter

at the house we showed up

with a Frassati house in Saskatoon. Since

in shirts and ties with a let-

the founding of the first Frassati house in

ter of reference from the

Halifax in 2004, Blessed Pier Giorgio has

Archbishop. The lady who

truly become a national figure among

was renting the house loved

Catholic youth in Canada. ◆

Some of the Frassati House Men who attended Rise Up in Calgary.



Halifax DALHOUSIE UNIVERSITY Last semester in a Discovery Faith Study, a first year student was hearing some powerful but pretty familiar teach-

decision to make, not one that someone else would make for him. He invited Jesus into his life recognizing Him as Lord and Saviour.

ings: God loves you, you can have a rela-


tionship with Him, Jesus died for you.


He had been involved in youth groups,

I am a fourth year nursing student and

gone on retreats, and attended confer-

I have been very involved with CCO for

ences where these messages were pro-

the past four years. I led a faith study last

claimed. But he had always been “going

semester that showed me Christ’s desire

with the flow” of his peers, always fol-

to draw people to himself. There were

lowing the crowd. He had never made a

four girls in my study, all in their first

decision for himself to follow Christ. But

year of university. They came from a

this time things were different. Through-

variety of backgrounds but had all been

out the Discovery study, he was told that

baptized Catholic. We discussed many

he would be given an opportunity to

of their questions and doubts about the

renew the baptismal promises that his

faith and the person of Christ. I soon

parents had made on his behalf. When

knew it was not I who could touch their

the time came, he professed his faith with

hearts but only Jesus. At the end of the

confidence, knowing that this was his

semester, I proposed that we go to Mass



and confession, and then have lunch together to celebrate having completed


the study. I was surprised when they all

My name is Daniel, and I am

agreed to go to confession and went

studying to become a

through an examination of con-

Catholic Educator at

science. One girl had not gone to

Queen’s University.

confession in 8 years. She was smiling

Although I was raised

afterwards and was surprised at how

Catholic, I did not

kind and understanding the

always see my life

priest was. Another had not

from a perspective of

been to confession in two

faith. I was left unsat-

years but had been to Mass each


isfied after four years


of studying at the

receiving the Eucharist.

University of Toron-

Experiencing Jesus in the

to, where I practiced

sacraments touches the

my faith with a divid-

heart and soul and leaves it

ed heart. I was trying

transformed – they all left different than when they walked into the church that day!

to discover truth and make Jesus more relevant in their life on

understanding on my own, without

campus. Recently, a group of students

God’s help.

made a commitment to pray the rosary

When I came to Queen’s, I discovered

every Tuesday. After the big challenge at

CCO through the Newman House here

Rise Up, a few students are even leading

on campus. It was exactly what I needed.

Carleton has been a tough nut to crack,

their own faith studies with peers who

Whereas before I knew what it meant to

but we are seeing signs of new hope.

had not heard of CCO. Students have

be a Catholic, now I have the courage to

Students are really beginning to take on

also been getting more involved with

live it; my new belief in Christ is what

leadership. For the first time, a student

their parishes, serving in various ways.

makes the difference. The question now

is leading worship at CCO events. Many

Also four students will be going on mis-

to ask is always “What’s more important

students are also taking the initiative to

sion with CCO this summer.

than knowing God’s love?”



C L O S E - U P S



Him everyday. This renewal of my faith

study. Three students decided to start the

life naturally renewed my zeal for evan-


faith studies in their local parish, and

gelization. Already I have seen the

I’m Chelsey, and my involvement

now have 26 men and women partici-

impact God has had on others’ lives

with CCO on campus began two years

pating in weekly studies. Two young

through me. I have witnessed spiritual

ago, when I was searching for peers to

men on campus invited their friends and

growth and conversion of heart in many

support me in my faith journey. I par-

have now started two studies of five men

of my close friends.

each. At our first big social outreach this


semester, the progressive supper, many

ticipated actively in CCO throughout my first year and my desire for fellowship was soon fulfilled. Even though my needs had been satisfied, I felt God


students invited their peers to attend. About 120 students attended the event, 40 of whom were new! Every new stu-

wanted more of me. This past year I

We believe the Lord blessed Saskatoon

filled a leadership role with CCO on

students with a gift of boldness after

campus and led the music team. The call

Rise-Up! A large number of students who

to leadership challenged me in many

have been transformed by the gospel are

ways. I felt a greater responsibility to

passionate about sharing their faith with

deepen my own relationship with Christ

their peers. At Rise Up they were chal-

in order to reach out to others. I was

lenged to return to their campuses and

filled with the desire to strengthen my

begin a Discovery Faith Study with their

God is moving at SFU! Coming home

prayer life, read scripture more actively,

own friends. Many students at the U of S

from Rise Up in Calgary, many of our

nourish myself in the Eucharist daily,

took up this challenge and courageous-

student leaders were excited to deepen

love God above all else and to live for

ly invited their friends to join a faith

their relationship with Christ and to

dent received a personal invitation to join a faith study.


share their love of God with others. One student, a young woman who first encountered CCO in the fall of 2007, experienced a profound personal conversion at Rise Up. Another high point was Archbishop Michael Miller’s visit on January 23rd. The Archbishop came to SFU for the first time to meet with students and celebrate Mass. Over 40 students came to ask questions of our newly appointed Archbishop and over 100


people attended Mass! History was also made that day as a CCO student received the Sacrament of Confirmation. This is the first time in SFU history that someone has been confirmed.

Vancouver DOUGLAS COLLEGE In the fall semester we had the opportunity to work with many international students who were unfamiliar with Christianity. Many of them had never even heard the name of Jesus! Kelly is an 18 year old Chinese student taking the English as a Second Language program. When we met her in September she spoke very little English, so instead of placing her in a faith study, we met with her each week to watch a movie on Jesus’ life and to teach her the gospel message. By the end of the semester, Kelly shared that she had been praying, and that God had been answering her prayers. She shared her excitement, saying, “I understand now why Jesus had to die and then rise again. He had to show us that we could have new life after we die.” By merely seeing the story of Christ’s life, God had revealed this truth to her. ◆

CCO is looking for your best recipe!! To celebrate CCO’s upcoming 20th anniversary we are putting together a cookbook of our staff and supporters’ favourite recipes. We would love to include your favourite dishes. Please submit your recipe(s) to or mail to: CCO Recipes 1247 Kilborn Place Ottawa, ON K1H 6K9 Please include with your recipe: your name, town and parish, and the year you began supporting CCO, for example: Angèle Regnier Annunciation of Our Lord Parish, Ottawa, ON CCO supporter since 1988 or alumni ‘88-’92 All recipes are to be submitted by May 31, 2008. We anticipate having this CCO 20th Anniversary Recipe Book available for sale by fall 2008.


Was prayer my answer? by MAR IA MAC KI N NON


rayer really does work! But it

About a month later I was on my way

downs, and I still get frustrated with God,

usually takes time… During

to Vancouver for IMPACT, one of CCO’s

but before I blame the people around me,

adoration at CCO’s 2006 Fall

summer mission projects. My plan was

now I look for understanding in the Bible

Retreat, it was suggested that each per-

to fully participate in the mission, but

and I bring my problems to God. I trust

son write wedding vows to God. At that

keep my “guidelines” for God firmly in

that He is listening and I know in my

moment, I felt a true desire to be com-

place. Luckily this plan didn’t work. By

heart He will answer my prayers. I can’t

mitted to God. I could feel His love for

the second day of the mission I realized

use other people’s experiences or their

me and I was overwhelmed; I had never

I could never share about someone I did

ways of loving God to judge my own; my

felt this close to God before.

not know.

relationship with God is unique.

Soon after, however, the fervour of the

I began to pray for God to open my

My faith journey isn’t finished yet. I

moment dissipated. I did not feel the

heart to Him. I was having trouble mak-

know I’m only beginning, and that I can’t

same closeness to God I had felt during

ing time for the intimate relationship I

jump ahead. I encourage everyone to

that time of adoration. I began to think

wanted with Him. I was becoming more

continue seeking a personal relationship

that what I needed was to know more

and more confused, because I did not

with God. I pray that you will persevere

about God and my faith. Instead of mak-

know how to love God. To make matters

through tough times, trusting in God’s

ing the effort to pray, my biggest concern

worse, I began comparing myself to a

unique love for you.

became having the “right answers.” I

friend of mine on

took part in two faith studies, but this

Impact. I looked up to

only increased my frustration: the stud-

her, and thought I

ies focused on the importance of prayer

should be having the

and prayer was not working for me!

same experiences in

By the end of the semester I had given

prayer that she had.

up my pursuit of God. It was so much

Later I realized I need-

easier to have fun and build relationships

ed to let my own rela-

with the people around me. While God’s

tionship with God

guidelines were good, I thought they

form. This realization

could use a few small changes. I did not


want Him at the center of my life any-




I still have ups and

Maria with Father Brian Christie CC, at Rise Up.





Hope for b y M A R K M AT T H E W S , C C O A l u m n i U n i v e r s i t y o f S a s k a t c h e w a n


poorer parts of Los Angeles.

It’s that magical tinsel town which pro-

this culture. Most of the attitudes, morals

duces the majority of the world’s enter-

and ideas communicated through the

tainment. If you’re like me, when you’re

movies are simply a reflection of those

walking out of the movie theater wiping

held by the people of Hollywood. The

aside the moral slime that often gets

medium has a powerful ability to trans-

dumped on you, it’s easy to start think-

mit culture, and through it, the sweetness

ing one of two ways. Either we begin to

or sourness of Hollywood’s culture will

see the medium as intrinsically evil, and

flavour that of the entire world.

nredeemable. That’s what many Christians think of Hollywood.

After settling here, however, God started to impress upon me the importance of

swear off movies all together, or we aban-

The street ministry I thought I’d be

ber of faith studies, so starting another

don our good judgment, and continue

involved in never materialized. Instead,

one was very natural. Thus "Bibles and

watching bad movies, despairing they’re

God seemed to keep placing me in the

Brew" was born. The result is that a

all we’ll ever have. Now I won’t take

midst of aspiring screenwriters, actors,

group of men meet every two weeks, do

issue with what movies you watch, but

and directors. Some of them are fabu-

a Discovery Faith Study for an hour, and

what bothers me most about these two

lously strong Christians. Many, however,

then partake in an hour of “brew study”

attitudes, is that they harbour an

are nominal Catholics that have grown

to fellowship and challenge each other

assumption that there is no hope for Hol-

up without ever fully understanding the

to stay strong. The group consists of five

lywood. This is simply not true.

need for a Saviour. Add to the mix an

aspiring screenwriters, two actors, a

I recently moved to Hollywood to take

indifferent, materialistic and elitist cul-

director and one established composer -

a job with DreamWorks Animation in

ture, and you have many broken people

all men with great potential to influence

research and development. Being a

who are ripe to be transformed by the


microchip toting pencil pusher, I knew I

Gospel. I soon realized the most obvi-

We make a grave mistake when we

wouldn’t have many opportunities to

ous way for me to spread the Gospel, was

lose hope for Hollywood. Movies are an

make creative decisions regarding films.

to change my local Hollywood culture.

art form just like any other. When Chris-

If anything, I thought I might spend my

While I was with the CCO VINE pro-

tians stop hoping for Hollywood, we

spare time doing street ministry in the

gram at Carleton University, I ran a num-

…continued on page 10


Hope for Holly wood continued…

stop praying for it, and sending mis-

ble power to reflect God’s beauty, to

nologies such as film and television.

sionaries there. The culture can be

sway hearts to Jesus Christ - as a medi-

Christ always used stories to explain

changed. I see signs of hope everywhere.

um that can be redeemed.

God's love for us. Perhaps if Christ were

I see it most in the enthusiastic men who

Do not lose hope! Pray for Hollywood

walking the earth today, He'd be in Hol-

come out to our faith study. I see a group

(and please pray for us too!) Pope John

lywood, maybe preaching at the corner

of men who view Hollywood as John

Paul II endorsed the arts, specifically

of Hollywood and Vine, or perhaps even

Paul II did: as an art form with incredi-

encouraging the use of modern tech-

directing a movie. ◆

Bringing in the New Year with Spirit B y C C O s u p p o r t e r s P E T E R A N D F E N N Y VA N D E N D U N G E N


f you ever have the opportunity to attend an event with

ment of Reconciliation. Over 20 priests heard confessions,

CCO, do it! We were introduced to CCO through Kelly

and the line of young adults eager to be reconciled with our

Boyko, a young woman we met in Lethbridge, Alberta.

Lord filled the hall. Another highlight was the call to evan-

We moved to Lethbridge when we retired from farming, about

gelization. The young people were challenged to evangelize

ten years ago. There we felt a call to work with young people

by committing to lead a faith study in their community. They

and started a program called “Life on the

responded in droves. The Holy Spirit moved powerfully that

Rock”. We have had the pleasure of meet-

evening. We felt that a strong wind touched and breathed on

ing many young adults from western Cana-

each and everyone there. It reminded us of the first Pentecost.

da who attended the University of Leth-

Another memorable experience was the praise and wor-

bridge and Lethbridge Community Col-

ship on New Year’s Eve. To see these young people having a

lege. This is also how we first met Kelly,

great time, celebrating the start of a new year without need-

now the finance and development officer for CCO. The transformation we have witnessed in Kelly’s life is truly inspiring. God has done wonderful things in her since she joined CCO. We are always impressed with her willing-

We are honoured to be part of this movement, our desire to have its presence on all campuses has been increased!

ness to learn, to listen, and her desire to bring souls to Christ.

ing alcohol to enhance their celebration, was refreshing and uplifting. We felt blessed to share this experience. We were also blessed to attend Rise Up with our 18 year old granddaughter, Dynae. We were overjoyed to see her enthusiasm for spir-

itual growth and her desire to serve God.

This past December, Kelly invited us to attend CCO’s Rise

We left the Rise Up Conference filled with gratitude to God

Up conference in Calgary. The theme of the conference was

for the blessing of CCO. It will surely be a strong anchor and

“Renaissance of Hope” and we truly saw this renaissance in

a powerful voice crying out in the desert. The commitment


of these young people to their faith and their enthusiasm for

The conference was full of highlights. One of the greatest for us was to see so many young people receive the Sacra-

spreading the Gospel is inspiring. What hope for the future of the Catholic Church! ◆


Preparing to Celebrate 20 years! B y J E F F LO C K E R T CCO President


encouraging CCO since its beginning.

what God has

And now here they were, young women

done in the

ave you ever had one of those

in university, involved in CCO, and

lives of young

moments when you realize

attending our Rise Up Conference! I


you’re getting older? I had one

guess I am getting older.

the past 20


of those moments at Rise Up in Calgary.

CCO is getting older too! This fall CCO

My wife Renée and I were walking

will celebrate its 20th anniversary. André


with some CCO Saskatoon students to

and Angèle Regnier began CCO on Octo-

more informa-

the Calgary Cathedral to celebrate the

ber 18th, 1988 by gathering together a

tion about these anniversary activities in

closing Mass. As we visited with the stu-

handful of students for a faith study at

the coming months. I invite all those con-

dents, we discovered that we knew their

the University of Saskatchewan. Since

nected with CCO – students, alumni,

parents. We soon realized we had met

then, the Lord has blessed our movement,

supporters, and benefactors – to join us

them many years ago when they were

allowing it to expand across Canada.

in celebrating this important moment in

seven and eight year old girls. Their fam-

We have many exciting activities

ilies were active in supporting and

planned for next year as we celebrate

years. We will releasing

CCO’s history and in thanking God for all He has done. ◆

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Are you thinking of going to the Eucharistic Congress? Register through CCO! The Eucharistic Congress is coming to Canada and we want you to be a part of this international event in our very own country. Cardinal Ouellet has called us to Québec City next June and desires us to bring our zeal and our hope to Québec and to the world.

Join CCO in Québec for a once in a lifetime opportunity! As a supporter of CCO, we’d like to give you the opportunity to register through us for this amazing event. You will receive a schedule of events that CCO will be involved in, such as the Eucharistic hours we will be animating, as well as receive a free Encounter Jesus mission t-shirt. Go to the link below to get to the IEC registration site. When registering, you will find CCO under the International Communities drop down menu. If you have any questions or require further information, please call Jackie at 604-939-7521 or email For accommodations, please see the IEC Website:

C ATHOLIC CH R I STIAN O U T R E A C H C A N A D A Catholic Christian Outreach is a university student movement dedicated to evangelization. We challenge young adults to live in the fullness of the Catholic faith, with a strong emphasis on becoming leaders in the renewal of the world. Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to:

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Grapevine Spring 2008  
Grapevine Spring 2008  

CCO's Grapevine is a national newsletter, published 3 times per year and sent to its supporters across Canada.