Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Laity join in celebrating religious life

World Day for Consecrated Life ends year of the same name
Religious and lay people hold lighted candles as the religious renew their vows in Our Lady of Sorrows Church Feb. 2. Father Joseph Nguyen celebrated Mass for members of the 57 religious orders in Vancouver. Josh Tng / The B.C. Catholic.
Everyone should strive to imitate the humble lives of religious people, said Father Joseph Nguyen. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Also newly posted:

If mercy doesn't reach your pockets, it's not real, Pope says
Pope Francis and a sombrero at his general audience. L'Osservatore Romano photo.
For Pope Francis, mercy isn't just spiritual, but is something that ought to be expressed in concrete acts of service and in sharing one's goods with the poor, which was a key tradition during Jubilee years throughout Scripture. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

NDP MP tables motion to establish right to palliative care
MP Murray Rankin (Victoria, B.C.) has tabled a motion calling for the establishment of a right to palliative care along with funding to make it universally accessible. Deborah Gyapong (CCN).
The lone NDP MP on the Parliamentary committee on physician-assisted dying tabled a motion Feb. 4 to establish a right to palliative care. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Langley residents speak up about assisted suicide

MPs Mark Warawa and John Aldag host public consultation that draws large crowd on short notice
Shelley Wepruk explains her concern about assisted suicide to two MPs and about 150 people at a public consultation. Her uncle died in 2013 after his wife and daughter refused to allow him to be fed through a tube. Agnieszka Krawczynski / The B.C. Catholic.
A Langley resident gently held an arm around his elderly wife as he shared his concern about legalizing assisted suicide. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Also newly posted:

Padre Pio's incorrupt body is in Rome
Pilgrims surround the incorrupt body of St. Padre Pio at a Catholic church in Rome. Pope Francis asked the Capuchins to take the relics of St. Padre Pio and St. Leopold Mandic to Rome for the Year of Mercy. Yara Nardi / CNS / Reuters
The incorrupt body of Padre Pio has arrived to Rome for the first time ever alongside that of another friar, St. Leopold Mandic, as a special initiative for the Jubilee of Mercy. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Share Lent focuses on climate change
CCODP regional animator Anupama Ranawana asks people to help overcome the damage we cause the earth. Ramon Gonzalez / Western Catholic Reporter (CCN).
In his encyclical Laudato Si', Pope Francis writes of the throwaway culture that has propelled our common home into a climate crisis whose effects are felt primarily by the poor of the global south. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Friday, February 5, 2016

David Daleiden refuses plea deal for probation

'What We Want is an Apology'
The man behind the videos exposing Planned Parenthood has no interest in a plea deal for probation for the bogus charges filed against him. Instead, he wants an apology from the district attorney behind the baseless charges.

Daleiden posted bail Feb. 5 in response to what his attorneys and pro-life groups explain are bogus charges related to his undercover investigation and exposure of the Planned Parenthood abortion business selling the body parts of aborted babies. Dozens of pro-life advocates turned out to support him.

A Texas grand jury indicted David Daleiden and another pro-life activist, Sandra Merritt, behind the videos. Instead of prosecuting Planned Parenthood for selling aborted baby parts, Daleiden was indicted for buying them.

More info here.

Prelate gives talk on spirituality

Bishop Hagemoen shares his vocation story
Bishop Mark Hagemoen of Mackenzie - Fort Smith (centre) stands among a group of men who came to hear him speak at St. James's Parish. Joshua Tng / The B.C. Catholic.
Bishop Mark Hagemoen shared the story of his journey to the priesthood Jan. 16 at St. James's Church in Abbotsford. The talk drew more than 150 men. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Also newly posted:

Year for Consecrated Life ends
Pope Francis celebrates Candlemas, or the feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple and the Purification of Mary, Feb. 2. Candles are traditionally blessed that day. Daniel Ibanez / CNA.
As Pope Francis said Mass on the feast of the Presentation, the day the Year for Consecrated Life concluded, he reminded religious men and women of their call to be "custodians of wonder" as they promote a culture of encounter with Christ. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Religious minorities in Middle East need priority as refugees: CNEWA
The Mar Elia Refugee Camp in Anwaka, Iraq, which shelters hundreds of families, is situated beside the Mar Elia Catholic Church. (CNA)
Carl Hetu, national director of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA) Canada, said Christian and other religious minorities should get priority from Canada as refugees. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Linebacker says faith impacted his life

Superbowl player credits Catholic upbringing for his NFL career
Luke Kuechly returns an interception for a touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks Jan. 17. (Photo Credit: Bob Donnan / USA Today Sports)
The Middle linebacker of the Carolina Panthers, Luke Kuechly, found his faith and parents created a positive impact in his NFL career and his outlook on life.
"I went to a Catholic grade school, Jesuit high school, and a Jesuit college, and I think you just learn certain things growing up in that environment. Really, the biggest thing I learned from it is respect and to treat people correctly," he said after a Jan. 28 practice.
Kuechly graduated from St. Xavier High School, a Catholic boys school near his hometown of Evendale, Ohio, and Boston College. A three-time All America linebacker for Boston College, he was the ninth overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft.

Though he doesn't have a special patron saint or special prayer, he does "say a couple prayers in the locker room before games, though."

Read the full article here.

Academic urges Catholics to engage with atheists

Philosopher Sam Rocha suggests meaningful dialogue between believers and non-believers
Philosophy professor Sam Rocha (right) speaks with attendees after his lecture at St. Joseph the Worker Parish Jan. 18. Agnieszka Krawczynski / The B.C. Catholic.
A philosopher-musician has a unique insight into how people who believe in God can connect with those who don't. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Also newly posted:

Mercy and justice not mututally exclusive, Pope says
People take selfies as Pope Francis arrives for his general audience in St. Peter's Square Feb. 3. CNS photo / Paul Haring.
When God is described in the Bible as being both merciful and just, it can seem like an identity crisis, but Pope Francis said it's the opposite: rather than contradicting each other, the two actually go hand in hand. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Bishops ask chance to express the truth about 'assisted death'
Spanish Missionary of Charity Sister Paul supports a patient in 2009 at the House for the Dying in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. In a message for the 2015 World Day of the Sick, Pope Francis said "quality of life" proponents who think the gravely ill lead lives not worth living are peddling a great lie. CNS photo / Paul Jeffrey.
The president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has asked the Justice Minister for an invitation to appear before the physician-assisted dying committee. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Premier replies to archbishop

Prelate suggested provincial consultation was far too limited
Premier Christy Clark has responded to the Archbishop of Vancouver's concerns about assisted suicide and euthanasia. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Also newly posted:

Help Israel and Palestine seek peace, archbishop tells UN
The view over Jerusalem. CNA.
Peace was the focus of the Holy See's representative in a recent speech to the United Nations, where he renewed calls to support negotiations between Israel and Palestine and between the warring factions in Syria. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Second New Evangelization Summit gearing up
Worship at last year's New Evangelization Summit. Deborah Gyapong (CCN).
When Michael Dopp and his team organized last year's New Evangelization Summit in Ottawa last year, he tried a conference model that had not been tried in Catholic circles before. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Groundhog Day inspired by Catholic holiday

Celebration over woodchuck shadow was originally called Candlemas Day
Graphic by Stormfax
What may have started as a Gaelic pagan festival marking the beginning of spring soon became a day to watch the shadow of a small mammal. Early German settlers reinvented the festival, calling it Candlemas Day.
It came at the mid-point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox.  Superstition held that if the weather was fair, the second half of Winter would be stormy and cold.  For the early Christians in Europe, it was the custom on Candlemas Day for clergy to bless candles and distribute them to the people in the dark of Winter.  A lighted candle was placed in each window of the home.  The day's weather continued to be important.  If the sun came out February 2, halfway between Winter and Spring, it meant six more weeks of wintry weather.
For more information and history on Groundhog Day, visit here.

Expert to promote heart health

Chairman of First Nations Health Authority in Heart Health launches new project
Jeff Reading (back row, second from left), is the chairman of a new research project for improving heart health for native people. Agnieszka Krawczynski / The B.C. Catholic.
A new health authority has been established to help improve the health of native people in Western Canada. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Also newly posted:

There's a backlash against solitary confinement in U.S. prisons
A priest prays with a death-row inmate in 2008 at Indiana State Prison in Michigan City, Ind. Karen Clifton, executive director of the Catholic Mobilizing Network, said during a Washington conference on restorative justice Nov. 21 that the U.S. "has 5 per cent of the world's population and 25 per cent of its imprisoned." CNS photo / Tim Hunt, Northwest Indiana Catholic.
Kalief Browder was 16 years old when he entered the notorious Rikers Island prison in New York, awaiting trial for allegedly stealing a backpack. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Anglican Communion sanctions Episcopalians
Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury, spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion, speaks with protesters on the grounds of England's Canterbury Cathedral, which was closed for a meeting of primates of the Anglican Church. CNS photo / Toby Melville, Reuters.
The suspension Jan. 15 of the Episcopal Church by the primates of the Anglican Communion for devising a same-sex marriage canon has implications for Anglicans. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Priest and politician study Laudato Si' after Paris

Encyclical and climate summit had positive effects, say Father Rob Allore and MP Joyce Murray
Liberal MP Joyce Murray takes questions on the climate change summit in Paris at St. Mark's College Jan. 22. Father Rob Allore, SJ, looks on. Agnieszka Krawczynski / The B.C. Catholic.
Pope Francis and 195 nations have spoken: human beings need to take better care of the planet. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Also newly posted:

Pope Francis likely to visit Auschwitz during World Youth Day
Survivors of the Nazi Auschwitz death camp pose in this January 1945 file photo. CNS photo / Auschwitz Museum, Reuters.
During his July visit to Poland for World Youth Day, it's probable that Pope Francis will follow in the steps of his two immediate predecessors by travelling to the Nazi death camp Auschwitz, the Vatican spokesman has said. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Saskatchewan town seeks healing after four killed
A makeshift memorial is seen Jan. 25 outside a high school in La Loche, Sask. Police have charged a 17-year-old man with four counts of first-degree murder and seven counts of attempted murder. Reuters handout / CNS.
"As incredible as that is," the mother of two teenage brothers killed on Jan. 22 and the mother of the alleged teenaged killer have been supporting each other, Archbishop Murray Chatlain of Keewatin - Le Pas said. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Rosemary Heights mployees recall history of healing and conversion

Religious sisters first built retreat centre in 1962 to be a convent and a school
Staff members gather around a statue of Our Lady on the grounds of Rosemary Heights Retreat Centre in this undated photo. The retreat centre, 53 years old, was closed at the end of 2015 because of declining numbers of retreatants. Photo submitted to BCC.
A retreat centre built on a legacy of healing and conversion has closed its doors. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Also newly posted:

Pope declares 'Angel of Dachau' a martyr
Father Engelmar Unzeitig, a young priest with Czech roots serving in Germany and Austria, was arrested by the Nazis on April 21, 1941. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Parliament could broaden the criteria for 'assisted death'
University of Ottawa professor Bernard Pelletier, who served on the three-person External Panel on Options for a Legislative Response to Carter v. Canada. Deborah Gyapong (CCN).
Physician-assisted death legislation could include competent children under 18, a legal expert told a Parliamentary committee Jan. 26. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Church celebrates a variety of cultures

Refugees and migrants attend annual Mass and reception by the hundreds
Korean children, dressed in traditional hanboks, sing during a celebration of the 102nd World Day of Migrants and Refugees at St. Francis Xavier Parish. Agnieszka Krawczynski / The B.C. Catholic.
One Iraqi teen was living a very different life two years ago. Muhanad Shaaya, 17, and his family evaded violence in the Middle East for years before finding a safe place to call home in Surrey, B.C. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Also newly posted:

Post-synod document to be released in March
Pope Francis leaves after celebrating Mass at the close of the Synod of Bishops on the family in St. Peter's Basilica Oct. 25. At left is Cardinal Wilfrid F. Napier of Durban, South Africa. CNS photo / Paul Haring.
Pope Francis's apostolic exhortation on family life following last year's synod will be published in March, says Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for the Family. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Group sues P.E.I. gov't over abortion access
The Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island has met in Province House since 1847.
Prince Edward Island is the only province where doctors do not abort unborn infants, but a group of activists is trying to change that. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Ordinandi made unique journeys

Clergy to talk path to priesthood
Father Larry Lynn on the day of his ordination in December, with Deacon (now Father) Davide Lanzani behind him. BCC archive photo.
Four men are proving that God calls His priests in unique ways. At the Ordinandi Dinner Feb. 4, Deacon Mark McGuckin, Deacon Lucio Choi, Father Davide Lanzani, and Father Larry Lynn will talk about how God called each of them. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Also newly posted:

Pope rallies Catholics to be 'mediators of mercy' during jubilee
Pope Francis greets clowns during his general audience in St. Peter's Square. CNS photo / Paul Haring.
Pope Francis renewed his appeal for faithful to put the works of mercy into practice during the jubilee, urging them to open their hearts to others, and to show God's tenderness to those who suffer. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Carter decision creates positive right to physician-assisted death, says constitutional expert
Constitutional lawyer Peter Hogg after his appearance as a witness before the parliamentary committee on physician-assisted death Jan. 25. Deborah Gyapong (CCN).
The Supreme Court of Canada's Carter decision created a "positive right" to physician-assisted death, said constitutional lawyer Peter Hogg. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Documentary addresses disparagement of fatherhood

Diocese of Phoenix releases short film on 'Society's Crisis in Masculinity'
The Office of Marriage and Respect Life of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix release a documentary-style short film to create awareness of a crisis in masculinity in today's society.
With regarded to this crisis highlighted by the film, Michael Phelan, director of the Marriage and Respect Life Office said, "Historical circumstances have periodically devastated families, but we have never seen the disparagement of masculininty and fatherhood, or abandonment of men's responsibilities that we are seeing now. It calls for an unprecedented response from the Church."
The film was released a few weeks after Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted's apostolic exhortation "Into the Breach", the short film shows the Diocese of Phoenix's urgency to combat the crisis on masculinity.
View the film above, or at this link.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Thousands sign declaration on euthanasia

Leaders of many faith groups add their names to the list
The Quebec Parliament in Quebec City in 2014. (Photo: Philippe Vaillancourt, Presence / CNS)  
A joint document by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada has added more voices to the debate on euthanasia and assisted suicide.

The declaration, which currently has 5,483 signatures, opposes the practice of intentionally ending the lives of ill patients.
"We affirm that reverence for human life is the basis and reason for our compassion, responsibility, and commitment in caring for all humans, our brothers and sisters, when they are suffering and in pain."
The document asks legislators to enact "laws that enhance human solidarity by promoting the rights to life and security for all people," to improve access to quality home and palliative care, and to ensure the freedom of conscience of all health care workers. It is open for the public to sign.

The Supreme Court has granted parliament a four-month extension to the original deadline to write new laws about euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Christian pastor freed from Iranian prison

Imprisoned pastor released as part of U.S.-Iran prisoner exchange
Imprisoned pastor Saeed Abedini with his family. (Photo Credit: American Center  for Law and Justice)
A pastor who was held imprisoned in Iran since 2012 has finally been allowed to return to his family. Religious advocates voice gratitude at his release.
This is a major victory. We are incredibly grateful to the more than 1.1 million people who have joined us in fighting across the globe for Pastor Saeed's freedom," said Jay Sakulow, chief counsel of the American Centre for Law and Justice, in a Jan. 16 statement.
He was arrested while visiting non-religious orphanages September 2012 on charges of threatening national security. Christian advocates believe he was arrested due to his Christian faith.

For more information, visit here.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Making plans for this weekend? Take a look at the lineup at the Archdiocese of Vancouver's Winter Institute.

  • Catholic Voices on discussing hot-button topics with others, and understanding Pope Francis and his reforms.
  • Sacred music and the liturgy as we prepare for Lent and the Triduum.
  • Ecumenical Dialogue with Orthodox, Protestant and Evangelical communities.
  • Parents and the faith formation of children.
  • Writing and sharing your personal testimony as one of your ministry tools.
  • Also, courses on youth ministry, basics of the faith, adult catechesis, classroom management, safe environment training, and more!
More information and registration at  

Knights prepare squires

Youth trained to be leaders of tomorrow
The Squires and Squirettes attend an annual camping trip last August at Allouette Lake. The group focused on team building skills and spiritual growth at the camp. Julie Kawasaki / Special to The B.C. Catholic.
The "spirit of Knights of Columbus charity" is an important lesson for the youth of today, writes supreme knight Carl Anderson. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Also newly posted:

France might not have any Jews in the future
French religious leaders meet with government officials in July 2014 to discuss anti-Jewish violence in Paris. Pictured from left are Pontoise Archbishop Stanislas Lalanne; Dalil Boubakeur, rector of the Great Mosque of Paris; French President Francois Hollande; French Prime Minister Manuel Valls; and Joel Mergui, president of France's Jewish Central Consistory. CNS photo / Philippe Wojazer, Reuters.
An increasingly violent wave of anti-Semitic words and acts in France threatens the very existence of Jewish communities there, one human rights advocacy group warned in a new report. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Vespers close centennial year in Winnipeg
The centennial Icon of the Holy Family, created to commemorate the Jubilee Centennial of the Archdiocese of Winnipeg, is carried through St. Mary's Cathedral, where it was placed on permanent display Dec. 4, 2015, during the evening prayer service ending the centennial year. James Buchok / Prairie Messenger (CCN).
The Jubilee Centennial Year of the Archdiocese of Winnipeg came to a close Dec. 4, in the first week of Advent as the new Catholic church year began. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Ex-feminist apologizes to Christians

Former Femen Brazil activist changes her mind
Sara Fernanda Giromin, or Sara Winter, was known as an activist behind many feminist rallies for abortion and gay rights and against religion. But a recent video shows all that has changed.
"We went way too far and ended up offending many religious and non-religious people," she said.
Why the change of heart? The birth of her second child.
"What I was missing was love (which changed when I became a mother), love that came to me after having reflected a lot on today's militant feminism."
Giromin regrets a past abortion and asks Christians for forgiveness for attacking their religion. She has also recently released a book that reveals the ways she was "betrayed by feminism."
"Lesbian and bisexual women have much more voice and respect within the movement, so in the search for recognition of my struggle, with each day that passed, I deconstructed my heterosexuality and was substituting it with an artificial bisexuality," she said.
She donates some funds from the sale of her book toward "women in violent situations and against abortion." Giromin, once leading topless protests, has become a vocal opponent of radical feminism.

Read the full story here.

Archbishop thanks Downtown Eastside volunteers

At Mass, prelate calls The Door is Open a 'remarkable place where the face of Jesus is seen'
Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, stands with four Missionaries of Charity, two Carmelite sisters, and a volunteer before lunch Dec. 16. The meal was organized to thank all volunteers for their efforts at The Door is Open. Agnieszka Krawczynski / The B.C. Catholic.
Volunteers who dish up meals to the poor in the Downtown Eastside recently received a special feast of their own. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Also newly posted:

Many participants dismayed by Ontario's euthanasia consultation
Action Life executive director Louise Harbour was among about one third of the participants who objected to a lack of categories for those opposed to euthanasia and assisted suicide. Deborah Gyapong (CCN).
Dozens of people who showed up for an Ontario government consultation on euthanasia and assisted suicide were dismayed by the format and lack of options for those opposed. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

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