Friday, April 29, 2016

Three men to be ordained transitional deacons

Solemn ceremony to begin in Holy Rosary Cathedral at 7 p.m. May 6
Francesco Voltaggio. BCC file photo.
Three men are to be ordained transitional deacons in Holy Rosary Cathedral May 6. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.


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Ontario pledges more end-of-life care
If the Supreme Court of Canada says Canadians have a right to a doctor's help in committing suicide, Ottawa South MPP John Fraser says we also have a right to timely access to quality palliative care. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

State deputy shines spotlight on future of the Knights of Columbus

Arcie Lim grew up in the Philippines, where the order was very visible
Arcie Lim, the state deputy for the B.C. and Yukon Knights of Columbus, talked to The B.C. Catholic before his group's 105th annual convention at the end of April. Lim, the first Filipino state deputy, spoke about the future of the Knights and about some of the goals of his local council. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.


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Montreal's new auxiliary bishop revealed
When Montreal's new Auxiliary Bishop-elect Alain Faubert looks back at his faith journey, he credits Marist Brothers for their charisms that helped him meet Jesus Christ and share Him with others. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Project Advance launches 2016 fundraising campaign

Program focuses on corporal works of mercy
Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, greets members of the organizations that will receive Project Advance funding: Deacon Mark McGuckin (left), Judy Finch, Sharon Dobin, Richard Harty, Nigel Vincent, and Della Oberhoffner. Josh Tng / The B.C. Catholic.
The annual Project Advance fundraising campaign is recognizing the Jubilee Year of Mercy with a refugee contingency fund. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.


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Concern expressed about soon-to-be available abortion drug
Johanne Brownrigg. Deborah Gyapong (CCN).
Health Canada expects to make an abortion drug available in July. The news has pro-life groups and doctors concerned. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Catholic agencies begin rebuilding after Ecuador quake

Archdiocese of Vancouver approves special collection for Ecuador
Residents recover some of their belongings April 25 from debris of a destroyed building in Canoa, Ecuador. (Photo Credit: Jose Jacome)
Catholic agencies are beginning to build temporary shelters for thousands of families in Ecuador made homeless by the South American country's worst natural disaster in nearly seven decades.
"On April 16, 2016, a violent earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale struck Ecuador. Hundreds were killed, and thousands have been left injured or in need of assistance," said Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB. "The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace has allocated emergency relief efforts through its partner organization Caritas Ecuador. CCODP is also collecting funds for the country, where a state of emergency has been declared.
The fund will be collected during the second collection on May 7-8.

Read more here.

St. Luke's opens new parish family centre

Building project took 10 months to complete
Former St. Luke's pastor Father Amador Abundo prays during the blessing of the parish's new family centre April 2, as Archbishop Miller (middle) and current pastor Father Mario Marin look on. Josh Tng / The B.C. Catholic.
From the sprinkling of holy water at the site to the ribbon-cutting, it was one of the fastest building projects in the archdiocese. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.


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Pro-life MPs face quandary in dealing with euthanasia and assisted suicide bill
Conservative MP Michael Cooper responded to Bill C-14 at a news conference after it was tabled. Deborah Gyapong (CCN).
Though prolife groups are calling for the federal government to invoke the notwithstanding clause on euthanasia Bill C-14, some prolife MPs do not see that option. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Assistants called to be envoys of mercy

Secretaries are missionaries, they are told
Sister John Mary Sullivan, FSE, (left) talks with parish secretaries April 13, after urging all administrative assistants to be "ambassadors of mercy." Agnieszka Krawczynski / The B.C. Catholic.
The Archbishop of Vancouver has praised parish secretaries for their vital role in the local church. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.


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CCODP joins NGOs calling for food security
Josianne Gauthier of Development and Peace and moderator Catherine Clark participating at a panel discussion launching the Agenda for Food Security and Resilience of the Canadian Food Security Group. Deborah Gyapong (CCN).
The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace is among 26 NGOs in the Canadian Food Security Policy Group calling for Canada to help small family farms. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Friday, April 22, 2016

'Amoris Laetitia' offers generous spirit, archbishop says

One word sums up its prevailing message: tenderness.
As I read Pope Francis's post-synod Apostolic Exhortation "Amoris Laetitia" (The Joy of Love: On Love in the Family), one word sums up for me the prevailing message of this beautiful apostolic exhortation: tenderness. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.


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Second annual New Evangelization Summit reaches thousands
Christopher West was among the top-level speakers at the New Evangelization Summit 2016. Deborah Gyapong (CCN).
The New Evangelization Summit 2016 featured top-notch Catholic speakers Christopher West, Father Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM, Sherry Weddell, and others. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

St. Helen's School on alert after attempted luring

'Thank God that nothing happened to that child': principal
St. Helen's School in Burnaby is reminding its students how to stay safe after an attempted abduction April 8. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

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Faith leaders make appeal for conscience rights
Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto joined evangelical, Jewish, and Muslim faith leaders to make a call for conscience rights in the assisted-dying legislation Bill C-14. Deborah Gyapong (CCN).
Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, and Muslim faith leaders made an appeal April 19 for protection of conscience rights for health professionals and institutions in the assisted-death bill. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

CWL calls for expansion of palliative care

League asks for day of prayer May 4
With assisted suicide creeping into Canada, the Catholic Women's League, under president Barbara Dowding, is working hard to promote an alternative. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.


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Euthanasia proponents may find themselves robbed of choice at end of life, says doctor
Euthanasia and assisted suicide advocates may find themselves robbed of choice when it comes to end of life decisions, warned Dr. Williard Johnston, chairman of Canadian Physicians for Life. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Archdiocese releases new priorities and goals

Goals include treats for parishes
Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB.
The Archdiocese of Vancouver has taken a hard look at its efforts and found four things to improve upon. Now those areas have been incorporated into new priorities and goals. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.


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Groups dismayed by government's euthanasia and assisted suicide bill
Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition. Deborah Gyapong (CCN).
The federal government's Bill C-14 legalizing "medical assistance in dying" has come under fire from anti-euthanasia groups, who call the bill "dangerous." For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

COLF reaction to Bill C-14

New act intends to legalize euthanasia in Criminal Code
The federal government introduced Bill C-14 April 14, 2016.  
With the federal government introducing an act to allow medical assistance in death, Catholic organizations are outraged. The Catholic Organization for Life and Family, an organization co-founded by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Knights of Columbus, said:
"Legal does not mean moral. The opinion of the majority has no power to determine what is good; an evil remains evil. This proposed legislation makes legal a moral wrong. By giving us the Ten Commandments, God has been very clear: 'Thou shalt not kill.'"
The act was introduced April 14, 2016. The draft states that it will not be necessary to be at the end of life in order to have a right to this "care".

The organization encourages individuals to contact their MPs through the Coalition for HealthCARE and Conscience in opposition to assisted suicide and euthanasia, as well as to support increased access to palliative care.

Read more here.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Archdiocese joins Instagram

It's a place we need to be communicating, webmaster says
This screen shot, taken April 14, shows an image of the John Paul II Pastoral Centre shared on the archdiocese's new Instagram account. Photo credit: Instagram.
The Archdiocese of Vancouver has joined Pope Francis and more than 400 million other users of Instagram. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.


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Catholic and prolife groups express concern
Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition. Deborah Gyapong (CCN).
Canadians Catholic bishops, Catholic organizations and prolife groups have expressed concern over the Liberal government's assisted suicide Bill C-14, especially given the tragedy at Attawapiskat. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Art Together happens at L'Arche

Paintings created through teamwork
L'Arche house mates Brett Klippenstein (left) and Garth Prothero stand with their painting called "Towers." They painted it for L'Arche's annual art-fundraising show. This year it will be held April 22 in Burnaby. Fairy Lagrada / Special to The B.C. Catholic.
There is a big smile on Garth Prothero's face as he dabs his paintbrush into the blue on his pallet and makes broad strokes on the canvas. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.


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Archdiocese considers questions on assisted suicide
Archbishop Richard Smith makes a point while panelists Lisa Daniels and Dr. Anna Voeuk listen during the April 5 Every Life Matters session at Edmonton's Corpus Christi Church. Thandiwe Konguavi Western Catholic Reporter.
The spectre of assisted suicide is leading aging people to "fear an institution that should be the last thing they should ever fear - a hospital," says Archbishop Richard Smith. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Performance suits the Year of Mercy

Illusionist to dazzle at the same time as he teaches
Illusionist Danny Ray performs a card trick for the camera. Ray uses his mind-boggling illusions to demonstrate God's mercy and forgiveness. Photo submitted.
With a flash of light and a puff of smoke, a youth-pastor-turned-illusionist will appear, to share God's transforming message through captivating illusions. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.


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New ordinary for the military named
Bishop-elect Scott McCaig (centre) with other Companion of the Cross priests at a recent ordination to the diaconate. Deborah Gyapong (CCN).
Bishop-elect Scott McCaig, named by Pope Francis April 8 to head the Military Ordinariate of Canada, traces the beginning of his priestly vocation to a glimpse of a road sign. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Mining symposium fosters respectful dialogue

Mineral resource development discussed in context of Laudato Si'

Four Aboriginal representives beat their drums in the welcoming ceremony.  (Photos Submitted)
The Archdiocese of Vancouver held a symposium regarding ethical methods for the mining industry in regards to the environment April 8. 

Stakeholders, including Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, members of the mining association of B.C., and various Aboriginal representatives, attended the day long discussion at the John Paul II Pastoral Centre.

The symposium featured panels regarding the pope's encyclical Laudato Si', climate risks, and mineral resource development.


Attendees were encouraged to dialogue with the presenters to better understand the problems mining companies face while ensuring that mining operations take full account of the common good.
Deacon Rennie Nahanee leads the congregation in prayer before the event began.



Church observes Divine Mercy Sunday

Speakers, activities, chaplet, and homily draw attention to God's amazing gift
Children learn about mercy through arts and crafts. Agnieszka Krawczynski / The B.C. Catholic.
Hundreds of the faithful streamed into St. Matthew's Church to celebrate the Jubilee Year of Mercy in a special way this Divine Mercy Sunday. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.


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Canada's bishops welcome Pope's exhortation on 'Love in the Family'
The Canadian Conference of Catholic welcomed Pope Francis's post-synod exhortation "Amoris Laetita" (The Joy of Love: On Love in the Family) April 8, noting in its teachings its rejection of euthanasia. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Shakespeare visits the Vatican for the first time

Globe to Globe's production of Hamlet performs for the first time
The cast of the "Globe to Globe" production of Hamlet rehearse. The play comes to the Vatican on April 13, 2016. (Photo Credit: AFP)
In the first time in history, Shakespeare will be performed in the Vatican.

For two years, a production of Hamlet has been travelling the world to mark the 450th anniversary of William Shakespeare's birth. The tour, a project of the Globe theatre in London, is called Globe to Globe.

"They approached the Holy See about the possibility of finding a venue, and the possibility of putting on Hamlet," said Bishop Paul Tighe, the Adjunct Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture. "There was immediately a very warm response to the initiative."
The performance will take place in the extraterritorial Palazzo della Cancelleria, which houses the Holy See's main judicial offices.

More information is available here.

Knights of Columbus bursary accepting applicants

$500 available for 30 students in financial need
Knights of Columbus logo. (Photo Credit: Knights of Columbus)
The annual Bishop Thomas J. Lobsinger, OMI Memorial Bursary Program is accepting new applicants.
"These bursaries are made available to on a one-time-only basis to young practicing Catholic students who are in their second or subsequent year of post secondary education at a recognized institute of higher learning within the Province," said Koon Ming Lau, the state bursaries chairman.
Applications are being accepted until June 30, 2016. The bursaries will be awarded in the fall.

The full terms of reference are available here.

"We don't want to live under Islamic rule"

Syrian Patriarch expresses shock at the destruction by ISIS in recently liberated town
Destruction left by ISIS in another town. (Photo Credit: Wassim Farkouh Homs)
The Church leader who resides in Damascus spoke with the international Catholic pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need on Friday saying on the one hand, he was happy about the expulsion of the terrorist militia from the town where Muslims and Christians live. The terrorists had occupied Al Qaryatayn last August (2015). 
"This is certainly an encouraging development. But the residents who had fled now sometimes wept when they saw what had become of their town. It was particularly painful for me as someone with pastoral duties to see these tears."

The Patriarch went on to say the infrastructure had been severely damaged. "When I managed to visit the town with our Catholic brothers on Friday I was shocked by the extent of the devastation. Many houses had been completely or severely damaged during the fighting. Fittings had been stolen," the Head of the Syriac Orthodox Church explained. "It was especially painful to see how the churches had been wilfully defiled by IS. Both the Syriac Catholic Saint Elian monastery and our Syriac Orthodox church had been deliberately desecrated. Our church was even more severely damaged than the monastery."
A hatred not easily overcome

"During my visit my main concern was to give people hope. I told them that they should thank God for their lives. Houses and churches can be built up again. A life lost cannot be restored. But as a Church we will not simply talk about it; we will also give the people material help in their reconstruction efforts wherever we can. The crucial factor is the faith that God is with us. Our help is given in the name of the living God."

The Patriarch also conceded, however, that it was very difficult in situations like this to bear Christian witness and to forgive one's enemies. "In view of our circumstances it is not easy to overcome hatred and to ask God for the gift of forgiveness. It will take time for people to find it in themselves to do this. This is only human and understandable. But we can't get round the willingness to forgive. It is a basic element of Christian life."

A possible reconciliation

The Patriarch emphasized during this exchange the Syrians experience in religious co-existence. "In Syria there is no war between Christians and Muslims. What we're dealing with here is primarily foreign terrorists coming to fight the jihad. There are certainly now Syrians who have adopted the jihadi ideology. But these ideas come from outside, primarily from Saudi Arabia and the Wahhabism practised there. I therefore do not see the reconciliation between Syrians of different faiths as the problem here. This is possible. After all, despite the many difficulties we all lived peacefully together before the war in Syria. That was the Syria we knew."

"In view of the efforts of the United Nations to bring about a political solution to the conflict by holding discussions between the government and the opposition, the Patriarch said: "If we Syrians settled things between ourselves, there would be no problems, I believe. But we are not naïve. The difficulty of a political solution is that there are both regional and international interests which come together in Syria. This makes the situation so complicated."

Help us stay here

Ignatius Aphrem II expressed scepticism about the representatives of the Syrian opposition negotiating with the government in Geneva. "Of course, I hope that the talks will be successful. But the opposition there does not have many adherents here in Syria itself. What's more, there are many islamists among them. We Christians and others do not want to live under Islamic rule."

Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem assumes that about 40 percent of Syria's Christians have now left the country and fled to the neighbouring countries or to the west. "I have no illusions. Most of them will not return. If it goes on like this, we Christians in Syria will disappear, just as we have almost disappeared in Turkey and Iraq." The Patriarch therefore rejects any emigration of the Christians furthered by the West.

"The best way to support us is to help us stay in our homeland. Moving to the west is not a solution. Being a refugee in Europe is not a positive experience. It means you are culturally uprooted. It's not good for the refugees and it's not good for the societies that take them in."
The Patriarch explained that both in Syria itself and in the neighbouring countries there were safe refuges for the people. "It would be much cheaper for Europe to help our people to stay in Syria, or temporarily in Lebanon or elsewhere. It would be important mainly to help the projects of the church on the spot. We are very grateful to Aid to the Church in Need for adopting this approach and helping people on the spot. I hope that more organisations will follow this example."

By Oliver Maksan, ACN International
Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, ACN Canada

Project Advance launches 2016 campaign

Special grant program focuses on corporal works of mercy

The annual fundraising campaign of the Archdiocese of Vancouver honours the Holy Jubilee Year of Mercy with a special refugee contingency fund and a special video.
"Every year, Project Advance has a special grant funding program where we distribute $100,000 to various organizations that apply to receive funding," Brett Powell noted at the 2016 Project Advance luncheon. "The refugee contingency fund is a new fund that will allow parishes sponsoring refugee families to augment their work in refugee settlement."
A new webpage was released alongside of the video, and lists where the funding goes, answers to frequently asked questions, and more information regarding Project Advance.

View all of that here.

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