I still remember my first English class in high school. I was in Grade 9 and it was period two. The teacher walked in, smiled and got right down to business. The first item on her agenda was plagiarism.

Ashes help Catholics stand out

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I have always looked forward to Ash Wednesday. Ever since I could remember, there was something about receiving an unusual mark on my forehead that got me excited. Maybe when I was a bit younger I didn’t understand everything about Lent or why we were receiving ashes on our heads, but there was that special mystery to it that I remember enjoying as a child.


Cheating cheats cheaters

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I still remember my first English class in high school. I was in Grade 9 and it was period two. The teacher walked in, smiled and got right down to business. The first item on her agenda was plagiarism.

Why I wear red

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I wear red on Fridays. It’s not because red is one of two colours associated with Christmas, my favourite holiday. It’s not because red represents the Holy Spirit and as a charismatic Catholic the Spirit is a major part of my spirituality.

Don’t shy away from forgiveness

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Do reserved people seem stuck-up to you? When some people avoid conversations, it’s easy to assume they are pretentious. However, that’s not always the case. Your peers may unjustifiably perceive you as arrogant without you knowing it.

Rather be late than wait

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I hated catechism class as a child because I had to miss Saturday morning cartoons. But more than that I hated when catechism class ended because it meant I would have to wait. 

Near death experience gives new life

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I could feel the undertow of the Pacific Ocean pull me further into the waters as I attempted to yell out to my friends for help and tried to catch a glimpse of someone on shore. I couldn’t help but ponder whether these moments would be my last. With barely time to say a prayer, I was being toppled over by huge waves which moved my body in every direction. Minutes later, as if by the hand of God, a wave pushed me close enough  to shore so that I could grasp hold of the ground again. A near-death experience was not how I expected my Peruvian mission trip to end.

Why I pray the rosary

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At Mass, I often listen to people as they say the Our Father and the Apostles' Creed, wondering whether they ever stop to think about what those words mean. It's funny how you can recite prayers without paying attention to the important words you say. Sometimes when saying repetitive prayers like the rosary, I find myself just going through the motions, either because I'm worried about school or just not focusing, so I stop myself and consciously reflect.

How far is too far?

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Do you find yourself tripping over your words more than usual lately in the effort to appear politically correct? Over the past Christmas season, more than in previous years, I was especially aware of the awkward "holiday" jargon such as re-naming the Christmas tree a holiday tree to try and be more inclusive. To me, it is obvious that we belong to a society whose members are so fearful of stepping on toes that they often do not step out at all.
  

The power to choose

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As a teen I hate when I don't get to make my own decisions. I get very aggravated when my parents prevent me from going out. Being 17, I know I am old enough to make my own choices. However, recently I encountered a peer whose opinions really disturbed me. He claimed it was impossible to say "no" to peer pressure. In other words he believes he has no choice.

Simply surrender

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I have recently discovered the importance of surrendering to Christ, giving up my questions and anxieties to God and adopting a child-like faith. Looking back on my journey of faith, I realize that I learned this lesson, not without difficulties, partially through my quest of faith in the summer of 2004, when I travelled throughout eastern Canada to visit various religious communities.