Thursday, February 28, 2013

Cardinal Ouellet a "beautiful man, caring, open"

Edmonton waits to see what will happen at next conclave
Some consider Cardinal Marc Ouellet a leading candidate
to succeed Pope Benedict XVI. (Photo: Catholic Register)

With the end of Pope Benedict XVI's papacy, there are many guesses as to who will be his successor. In Edmonton, some are hoping for Cardinal Marc Ouellet, while others hesitate to say.
Irish bookies are giving him great odds, Edmontonians are answering urgent media producers’ calls asking for memories about him, and inquiring journalists sometimes hear a “no comment” barked into their cellphone or texted instantly back.

“Let’s wait until we see what happens in Rome first,” advised one patient churchperson.

The man – Cardinal Marc Ouellet. Known throughout Canada, Europe, Colombia, this red hat spent three years as rector of Edmonton’s St. Joseph Seminary.

With rumours that the conclave may look beyond Europe for the next pope, celebrated South and North American cardinals and their bios are making the secular world press. Africa too, with its 16 per cent of the world’s Catholics, is mentioned as a possible place of origin of the next pope.
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Last public lecture

Pope's final audience was bittersweet for cardinals
A poster erected by the city of Rome near the Vatican thanking Pope Benedict XVI: The poster says in Italian: "You will remain always with us. Thanks." CNS / Paul Haring.
A story by Catholic News Agency says the cardinals and bishops who attended Pope Benedict XVI's last big public appearance showed him their love and respect, but it was a hard moment as well.

"There was a touch of sadness, as when one sees a person for the very last time," said Archbishop Rino Fisichella after the Pope's last general audience. "Bishops and cardinals have shown a lot of respect, love, and affection towards him here today," he told CNA Feb. 27.

About 200,000 people from all over the world travelled to St. Peter's Square to see Pope Benedict for the last time before he stepped down as Pope Feb. 28.

For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Pontiff's penultimate day

Pope confident God will guide Church in days ahead
A sign in German thanks Pope Benedict XVI as pilgrims wait for the Pope's final general audience in St. Peter's Square. CNS photo / Paul Haring.
Catholic News Agency reports that the Pope made his way through St. Peter's Square in his popemobile and was welcomed by cheering throngs of pilgrims from all over Europe and abroad before his final general audience Feb. 27.

Pope Benedict XVI told the 200,000 people that he is filled with trust and peace as he prepares to resign, because the Church is not his but God's and he will "not let it sink."

"When, on April 19 of nearly eight years ago, I accepted to assume the Petrine ministry, I had the firm certainty that has always accompanied me. In that moment, as I have already express many times, the words that resounded in my heart were 'Lord, what are You asking of me? This is a great burden that You place on my shoulders, but if You ask it of me, on Your word I will throw out the nets, sure that You will guide me.'"

Pope Benedict's full remarks at today's audience are posted here.

For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Faithful asked to be 'fervent in prayer'

Archbishop Miller reminds ONE Conference attendees of 'acts of charity'
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Caption: Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, during the Mass for migrants Jan. 20.
(Alfredo Chu / Special to The B.C. Catholic.)
Archbishop Miller warned 1,000 lay men and women at the ONE conference Feb. 16 to be on guard against devilish temptations. He spoke at the Vancouver Convention Centre:
Satan first tempts Jesus with food, since He has been fasting for 40 days. "Don't worry about it! You are God!" he says. "You can have all the food you want. For example, turn this rock into bread!" (cf. Lk 4:3).
This temptation is the one ever-present in the human heart: "Be self-sufficient. Rely only on yourself." You and I are tempted, too, with the demon of self-sufficiency. Sometimes with food, but that is relatively "small stuff."
Real temptations are far more subtle. But, at root, each of these temptations says: "Don't bother God with this; He's not interested. Take care of yourself. Watch out for number one, because if you don't, no one else will."
Read the full article here.

Roman Pontiff Emeritus

Pope Benedict's new name revealed
A technician works on a structure set up for TV media in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Feb. 26, the eve of Pope Benedict XVI's final weekly audience. CNS photo / Alessandro Bianchi, Reuters.
Catholic News Agency is reporting that the Holy See press office revealed Feb. 26 that Pope Benedict XVI will retain his papal name but will be called Pope Emeritus.

"He will still be called His Holiness Benedict XVI," said the press office director, Father Federico Lombardi, Feb. 26, "but he will also be called Pope Emeritus or Roman Pontiff Emeritus."

As for his apparel, the Pope emeritus will wear a simple white cassock without the mozzetta, the short cape that covers his shoulders, and a pair of brown shoes given to him in Leon, Mexico.

He will replace the Fisherman's ring worn by Popes with an episcopal ring from his time as Cardinal Ratzinger. The Pope's ring and seal will be broken at a moment to be determined by the College of Cardinals and its chamberlain, in accordance with the sede vacante norms.

For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Quebec Physicians rally opposition to euthanasia

Good palliative care needed
Many Quebec physicians oppose the province's plans to allow euthanasia,
saying it will replace a patient's right to be cared for. (Photo: CNS)

A growing group of Quebec physicians are working against the province's plans to allow euthanasia in hospitals, saying that it will make doctors "accomplices in homicide." Deborah Gyapong reports:
We will renounce the right to be cared for in exchange for the right to be euthanized, warned palliative care physician Dr. Patrick Vinay at a Feb. 19 news conference in Montreal sponsored by members of Physicians’ Alliance for Total Refusal of Euthanasia. “We cannot support it.”

Technically, giving someone a lethal injection to provoke death “is a homicide,” said orthopedic surgeon Dr. Marc Beauchamp. He stressed the responsibility doctors have in caring for vulnerable people and protecting them. “If doctors can kill people, it’s dangerous, it endangers vulnerable people.”
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Students need joyful teachers

English director warns educators not to lose their motivation
David Wells, a director of religious education, spoke at the Vancouver
Convention Centre. He said that laughter in the staff room is a sign
of a successful school. (Agnieszka Krawczynski / The B.C. Catholic)
According to David Wells, Catholic school teachers are in danger of forgetting their purpose. He encouraged educators during his keynote address at the Catholic Educators' Conference Feb. 15.
"The gods of performance indicators so take over our lives that one day we need to be gathered like this to remember our purpose," said Wells. "Don't turn teaching into an exercise about results."

The energetic speaker gave some tips for going to work enthusiastic and coming home happy. Those included looking at the bigger picture, being grateful, welcoming change, and spending time in reflection. "More than anything else," he said, "we need you to love children and enjoy your job."
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Papa B, we love thee

Poll finds strong approval for Pope Benedict, Catholic tradition
A woman prays in a pew at a Catholic shrine in Champion, Wis., in October. New data from the Pew Research Center shows many U.S. Catholics have a favourable opinion of the Pope. CNS photo / Darren Hauck, Reuters.
Catholic News Agency says that as the Feb. 28 resignation of Pope Benedict XVI approaches, the vast majority of U.S. Catholics have a favourable view of the Pontiff, and the majority support traditional Catholic teaching as well.

According to a recent survey by Pew Research Center, 74 per cent of U.S. Catholics "express a favourable view of the Pope." This rating is similar to one from March 2008, when about three in four Catholics held a "very" or "mostly" favourable opinion of the Pope shortly before his visit to the U.S.

Pope Benedict has been regarded favourably throughout his entire papacy, with approval ratings among U.S. Catholics ranging from 67-83 per cent.

For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Archbishop sends 'prayerful greetings' to Pope


Catechumens bring enthusiasm for Catholic faith

Other churches 'seemed like imitations:' Patterson
Patterson was not raised in a church environment, but became drawn to the
Catholic Church, especially the sacraments. (Photo: Western Catholic Reporter)
Richard Patterson became increasingly dissatisfied with the Protestant churches he was involved in. When he met some Catholics through the pro-life movement and started learning about Catholicism over the radio, he was excited to take the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults.
“I definitely felt drawn towards the apostolic feature of the Catholic Church, and the liturgy and the choral music,” said Patterson.

More than anything he felt the strong desire to participate in the sacraments.
"Here (in the Catholic Church), you’ve got the real thing, so why accept the parody?” Once he caught a glimpse of what the Catholic Church was about, other churches seemed like imitations.
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Pope of Christian Unity

Benedict XVI praised for trailblazing unity with Anglicans
Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster stands with the three former Anglican bishops just ordained Catholic priests: Father John Broadhurst (left), Father Andrew Burnham, and Father Keith Newton. CNS photo / Marcin Mazur, Bishops' Conference of England and Wales.
Catholic News Agency reports that Pope Benedict's move allowing Anglican converts to enter the Catholic Church as a group makes him "the Pope of Christian Unity," according to the head of the United Kingdom's structure for these communities.

"I think it just shows his fatherly care to open his arms to those who came from different traditions, but shared a common faith," Msgr. Keith Newton told CNA Feb. 13.

Msgr. Newton leads, or is the ordinary of, the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, an ecclesial structure in the U.K. for Anglicans who enter the Catholic Church in groups and who wish to maintain elements of their spiritual and liturgical heritage.

For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Evelyn Billings dead at 95

Deceased natural family planning pioneer 'inspired us'
Drs. Evelyn and John Billings are pictured in the garden of their home in Melbourne, Australia, in this 2004 file photo. John Billings died April 1, 2007. CNS photo / Peter Casamento.
Dr. Evelyn Billings, who helped develop a major method of natural fertility regulation, has died. Here is a Catholic News Agency story.

"That's how we feel about her: she was wonderful, she inspired us, but she didn't restrict us," Dr. Hanna Klaus, of the Natural Family Planning Centre, told CNA from her Washington, D.C., office Feb. 19.

Billings, a pediatrician, died Feb. 16 at the age of 95 after a short illness. She and her husband Dr. John Billings developed the Billings Ovulation Method for identifying women's periods of fertility, based on their menstrual cycle. Couples can try to either achieve or avoid a pregnancy without the immoral use of artificial contraceptives.

For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Little Flower track star signs with U of Georgia

Asianna Covington hopes to compete in 2016 Summer Olympics
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Asianna Covington (with red hat on) signed papers Feb. 6 that grant her a scholarship to the University of Georgia. (Connie Sabo / Special to The B.C. Catholic.)
Asianna Covington couldn't have dreamed of a better ending to high school. The Little Flower Academy senior sat down for a press conference Feb. 6 and announced that she had accepted a full-ride scholarship to the University of Georgia.
More than 50 schools across the United States and a single Canadian university were interested in signing Covington. In the U.S., Feb. 6 is the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) national letter of intent day. All athletes, regardless of sport, have to choose where they will go for their post-secondary education.

"Initially I didn't know about hammer throw. My parents were pushing me for basketball," she recalled.

However Richmond Kajaks coach Richard Collier convinced her to try hammer throw and discus.
Read the full article here. 

Papal election may come earlier

Pope considering making changes to the rules
Pastoral rings are seen at the "Conflexclero" religious shop near the Vatican in Rome Feb. 19. Cardinals will gather in Rome next month to select a successor to Pope Benedict XVI. CNS photo / Max Rossi, Reuters.
Catholic News Agency reports that Pope Benedict XVI is considering modifying the laws that govern how a Pope is elected, given the circumstances created by his resignation.

Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, told journalists Feb. 20 that Pope Benedict is thinking about publishing a document to further clarify the conclave section of the Apostolic Constitution.

This means he would have to issue by a motu proprio a new set of legal regulations before he steps down Feb. 28. The Latin title "motu proprio" is a designation that means the document is personally signed by the Pope and is issued solely under his authority.

For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Bye-bye, Papa

Rome priests react with sadness to Pope's resignation
Pope Benedict XVI uses a cane as he arrives for an audience with priests of the Diocese of Rome Feb. 14.
CNS photo / Paul Haring.
Catholic News Agency reports that, after meeting with Pope Benedict, priests from the Rome diocese said they are sad he is retiring and that he was a great gift to the Church.

"We're sad because a Pope is not only a theoretical leader, he's the man to whom you give your allegiance and your vows, so there's a direct link and a sadness in that," said Father Robert, after the Pope met Feb. 14 with the clergy of his diocese in Paul VI Hall.

The priest, who is originally from South Africa, also praised the Pope's intellectual contributions, calling him "a giant in the Church."

For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Historian reveals how Millionaires won Stanley Cup

1915 champions changed hockey's rules
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The 1914-1915 Vancouver Millionaires, months before they won the Stanley Cup. Fred "Cyclone" Taylor (back row, second from right) led the PCHA in scoring, while Catholic Frank "Pembroke Peach" Nighbor, (front row, far right) gave opposing stars fits with his determined back-checking. Frank Patrick (front row, centre) was the player-coach.
(Special to The B.C. Catholic.)
Canucks fans can take solace from the fact that a Vancouver hockey team once hoisted Lord Stanley's Cup. Unfortunately, that was way back in 1915. Historian Craig Bowlsby explained at a Vancouver Public Library lecture how the Vancouver Millionaires fundamentally altered the game:
Catholic Frank the "Pembroke Peach" Nighbor, a Hockey Hall of Famer, was a rare on-ice sight: a player who combined tremendous skill and gentlemanly conduct. He won his first Stanley Cup as a Vancouver Millionaire in 1915. 
Long before the dreaded term "hockey-related revenue" entered the sports lexicon, Nighbor skated through a world of Edwardian era manliness; violence was as prized as a breakaway goal. 
How did the "Peach" and the Millionaires change hockey's rules and win the Stanley Cup? Historian Craig Bowlsby reveals the answers in his new book, Empire of Ice: The Rise and Fall of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA). 
He began with brothers Frank and Lester Patrick founding the PCHA in 1911, when "the coolest game" was played quite differently.
Read the full article here. 

Speculation mounts for possible Canadian pontiff

Cardinal Marc Ouellet 'well-known' throughout world
Cardinal Marc Ouellet, seen in 2010, has been mentioned as a frontrunner to succeed Pope Benedict XVI.
(The Catholic Register.)
As soon as Pope Benedict XVI announced he would abdicate the Chair of St. Peter, speculation began that a Canadian, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, might be the next Pope. Deborah Gyapong reports from Ottawa:
The cardinal’s picture has graced the covers of newspapers and magazines in Canada and elsewhere; his name appears in the top three of most Vatican-watchers' lists; even the odds-makers rank him at or near the top.
Cardinal Ouellet has beautiful spiritual qualities, deep spiritual convictions, Quebec Archbishop Gerald Cyprien Lacroix said. He noted the cardinal’s facility with languages, and his knowledge of the Church from time spent in the Roman Curia, in South America, and several parts of Canada.
Read the full article here.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Student ducks out of religion classes

Parent seeks exemption from faith-based teaching
Bruce Campbell, spokesman for the school board, says it is
 impossible to remove Catholicism from a Catholic school.
A parent of a grade 10 student at Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School in Brampton, Ontario, wants his child to be exempt from all religious material at the school. Oliver Erazo, who chose the school for its location and favourable ranking, is considering legal action.
"He's now looking to be exempt from all religious-focused programming, which it is pretty much impossible to do in a Catholic school," said Campbell.

"In essence what he is looking for is a public school conveniently located near his home. What he is saying is something similar to registering your children in a French school but asking to have instruction in a language other than French."

Oliver Erazo has been battling the board to have his son Jonathan, a Grade 10 student, fully exempt from the religious course and programming since last spring.
Read the full story on The B.C. Catholic website.

'A great teaching Pope'

Archbishop admires Benedict XVI's courageousness
Pope Benedict XVI receives ashes from Cardinal Angelo Comastri, archpriest of St. Peter's
Basilica, during Ash Wednesday Mass at the Vatican Feb. 13. (Photo: Paul Haring / CNS)

Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, understands Pope Benedict's reasons for resigning and supports his decision. The archbishop met the Holy Father years ago and was impressed by his enthusiasm, intelligence, and clarity.
Pope Benedict XVI will be remembered for being "a great teaching Pope," said Archbishop Miller. He expressed sadness about the Pope's decision to resign and admiration for his courage in making the decision.

"The Church is losing not only a great historic figure, but also a father and a friend," the archbishop wrote in a press release. "The Holy Father has been a tremendous source of truth, stability, and inspiration, not only for the past eight years of his papacy, but also for decades as a theologian and a scholar."
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Friday, February 15, 2013

New nun becomes sister to the world

Sister Ludmilla professes first vows at Queen of Peace
Sister Ludmilla kneels in front of Prioress Sister Claire Marie as she
takes her first vows at Queen of Peace Monastery in Squamish.
(Photo: Elizabeth A. Tjoelker / Special to The B.C. Catholic)

Sister Miryam Anastasia Ludmilla made a commitment to the Dominican community at the newly-finished Queen of Peace monastery. She was excited about taking her first vows, saying they held special significance for herself and for others at the ceremony.

Religious sisters at Queen of Peace Monastery recently celebrated another first. This time it was the first vows of Sister Miryam Anastasia Ludmilla of Christ.

"I have always wanted to be a sister to every single person in the world. Now everyone calls me 'sister' when they see me!" Sister Ludmilla exclaimed after she professed her first vows Feb. 2.

She donned a black veil for the event as she took her first vows at the monastery just outside Squamish.

Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Workplace presents a venue for evangelization

Archbishop calls working a 'moral activity'

Grouard-McLennan archbishop challenges Christians to
employ evangelism at work. (Photo: Western Catholic Reporter)
Archbishop Gerard Pettipas gave a talk in Edmonton about opportunities to evangelize in the workplace. He hoped Christians would be "opportunists" who would seek ways to "announce Christ" in their daily tasks.

“Work makes up a great deal not only of any person’s time, but also his identity,” Archbishop Pettipas said. “Our work also situates us in many of the relationships that make up our life.”

Due in large part to the goals of mass production and maximization of profit, the Industrial Revolution spawned workplaces that lack human touch. But Archbishop Pettipas said the workplace is always a human place, where men and women gather to spend large portions of their time.

“Work is a deeply human activity,” he said. “Because of that fact, it is also moral.”

Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Media spread misinterpretations of Vatican II

Council fathers' 'key vision of faith' distorted, Pope says
Pope Benedict XVI delivers his blessing during an audience with priests of the Diocese of Rome. At right is Cardinal Agostino Vallini, papal vicar of Rome. CNS photo / Paul Haring.
According to a Catholic News Agency story, Pope Benedict XVI said that many of the misinterpretations of the Second Vatican Council were caused by the media promoting its own version.

"The world interpreted the council through the eyes of the media instead of seeing the true council of the fathers and their key vision of faith," said Pope Benedict at Paul VI Hall Feb. 14.

"Fifty years later, the strength of the real council has been revealed, and it is our task for the Year of Faith to bring the real Second Vatican Council to life," he told the priests gathered to meet him.

For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Archbishop Miller to discuss papal resignation

Plans set to honour outgoing pontiff
Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, met Pope Benedict XVI in 2009
(CNS)
Archbishop Miller will discuss Pope Benedict XVI’s surprise resignation when he speaks to more than 1,000 Catholics at the ONE Conference Feb. 16.

In the Vancouver Convention Centre, the archbishop will speak about plans for honouring the Holy Father and his successor.

Also, Archbishop Miller will give insight into the process of a papal election, including what happens to a “resigned Pope.”

Holy Father shows 'beatific smile' during Mass

Choir member gets close up view of tired Pope
Allison Hunwicks, second from right, performs for the Pope
during the final weeks of his papacy. (Photo: Tara Leerdam)
Singing at Mass with Pope Benedict XVI, Allison Hunwicks witnessed the Pontiff's frailty, but also his love for the liturgy. She felt the way his assistants watched over him showed the "tender" nature of the Church community and its care for people.
As an alto in the Our Lady of Sorrows Ecumenical Choir, Hunwicks stood three metres from Pope Benedict as the choir assisted the Pope in St. Peter’s, chanting the Mass of the Angels.

The Pope sang most of the Feb. 2 two-hour Mass in a light but strained voice.
“He had a lovely sort of beatific smile on his face the whole time,” Hunwicks said.

Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Pontiff's new home nearby

Nun describes simplicity of Pope's retirement monastery
Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican Gardens, where Pope Benedict XVI will retire, in a picture taken in January 2011. CNS photo / Mark Kortum, Reuters.
Catholic News Agency has a story about Benedict XVI's retirement home.

One of the nuns who lived until a few months ago in the monastery where the Pope will retire says his choice shows his "great simplicity" because it "is not a work of art or comparable with other Vatican buildings."

"His decision to retire has surprised me, but he is very brave, although he is fragile and elderly," said the nun from the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary, who requested anonymity because of her cloistered life.

For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Just 15 days to go

Vatican releases schedule for Pope's final days
Pope Benedict XVI gives his blessing during his general audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican Feb. 13.
CNS photo / Paul Haring.
A Catholic News Agency story says the last days of Pope Benedict XVI will include three public appearances, a meeting with the priests of Rome, Lenten spiritual exercises, and audiences with politicians and cardinals.

The first event on the list is Ash Wednesday Mass this evening in St. Peter's Basilica, which will be his final concelebration of the liturgy.

His final public appearance will be the general audience on Feb. 27, which was originally planned for Paul VI Hall, but is being moved to St. Peter's Square because of the large number of people expected.

For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Pope’s resignation leaves archbishop saddened but thankful

Arcbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, offers prayers & thanks to Holy Father


Archbishop Miller receives a pallium from Pope Benedict XVI in 2009.

Archbishop Miller released this statement following the Pope's shock announcement yesterday. The archbishop said he was startled, but added that he was thankful for the Pope's "lifetime of service to the Church."

Full text: 
News of Pope Benedict’s pending resignation early this morning left me as startled as anyone, and I can’t help but feel a sense of sadness that the Church is losing not only a great historic figure, but also a father and a friend.

The Holy Father has been a tremendous source of truth, stability and inspiration not only for the past eight years of his papacy, but also for decades as a theologian and scholar. To learn he will be stepping aside leaves us saddened while at the same time thankful for his lifetime of service to the Church.


Pope Benedict has advanced important initiatives in his emphasis on the harmony between faith and reason, religious liberty, ecumenical dialogue, evangelization, the primacy of the love of God, and the importance of truth in a highly secularized world.

His decision to step down may also be an important legacy which is bound to influence the decision-making of the cardinals at the next conclave.

I ask all Catholics and people of goodwill to support the Holy Father in prayer during his final days as our shepherd, and to pray for the enlightenment of those responsible for choosing his successor as we trust in the Holy Spirit to guide the Church as it has for the past 2,000 years.

See bccatholic.ca for a story on the archbishop's statement by Agnieszka Krawczynski.

Canadian bishops thank Holy Father

CCCB's Archbishop Richard Smith thanks Pope
Archbishop Richard Smith, president of the Canadian
Conference of Catholic Bishops.

On behalf of the CCCB, Edmonton's Archbishop Richard Smith wrote this letter to the Pope Benedict XVI yesterday. He offers the Pope "heartfelt thanks" and notes the Church in Canada will be praying for him.

Full text:
Most Holy Father,

The Bishops of Canada received this morning the news of your intention to resign the ministry of Bishop of Rome. We and the faithful of Canada have grown to love and admire you, and so are marked today with sadness at your impending departure from your role as Supreme Pontiff. At the same time, we are full of gratitude to God for the wondrous blessings that have been ours because of your extraordinary leadership. With admiration we acknowledge the courageous witness of life and marvellous clarity of thought that have marked your many dedicated years of service as priest and Bishop, teacher and writer, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and, especially, as Pastor of the Universal Church.

Your Holiness, please accept this expression of the heartfelt thanks of the Bishops, clergy and faithful of Canada for the entire gift you have made of yourself for the good of the Church. Your beautiful and inspiring encyclicals, homilies and innumerable messages form a legacy of clear teaching, infused with love for Christ and His Church, that you now leave as a sure guide for Christians of future generations.

As President of our Episcopal Conference, I wish to thank you for the great kindness and unfailing support you have shown to the Church in Canada and its Bishops, as we endeavour to be faithful workers in the Lord’s vineyard. I particularly wish to express our deep appreciation for expressing the sorrow and regret of the Church for past errors toward the Indigenous People in Canada, while opening the way to a new future with the canonization of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha.

Holy Father, your decision to resign arises, we know, out of your love for the Church. It is an act of faith, which in turn invites all of us to place our trust and confidence in the Heavenly Father who guides all things, in Jesus Christ who remains always with us, and in the Holy Spirit who unites us in love and hope.

Thank you for having served us so very well as Successor of Peter. Rest assured of the abiding  prayers, love and support of the Church in Canada.  

Yours sincerely and respectfully in our Lord,

+ Richard W. Smith
Archbishop of Edmonton and
President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops


See bccatholic.ca for a story on reaction to the letter by Deborah Gyapong.

Mount St. Joe's raises cancer awareness

Feast of Fortune fundraising dinner set for Feb. 16
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David Thompson (left), vice-president of Seniors Care, Providence Health Care, and Ann Adams, CEO of Tapestry Foundation, stand with donors Dr. Miriam Yu, Patricia Yeo, and Sing Lim Yeo. (Alistair Burns / The B.C. Catholic)
Physicians at Mount St. Joseph Hospital (MSJ) look forward to celebrating the "Year of the Snake" six days late this year. The Scotiabank Feast of Fortune dinner, an annual fundraiser, will take place at the Westin Bayshore Hotel in downtown Vancouver Feb. 16.
The goal is to raise funds for "the Automated Breast Volume Scanner, which provides superior images for examining dense tissue commonly found in young women," explained Dr. Jin-Si Pao, an MSJ surgeon.
Sing Lim Yeo, honorary chairman for the dinner, said at a press conference Nov. 28 that the scanner would cost $380,000.
If the goal is reached, MSJ will be the first hospital in Western Canada to offer three-dimensional scanning. The technology will allow doctors to study "high-quality images of an entire breast," clarified Dr. Pao. The images would be "extremely valuable" to surgeons about to operate.
Read the full article here.

Nigerian cardinal warns about increasing terrorism

Bombings threaten 'long-standing' harmony between Muslims, Christians
Cardinal John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan spoke to MPs on Parliament Hill Feb. 4.
Church burnings and bombings are becoming a disturbing trend in the African country of Nigeria. Cardinal John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan of Abuja explained the situation to MPs and Senators.

Deborah Gyapong reports from Ottawa:

Cars can no longer drive near Cardinal Onaiyekan's cathedral. Men can expect to be frisked and women have been encouraged not to bring big bags. 
The extremists say they are acting in the name of Islam, said Cardinal Onaiyekan, but they are "a group of criminals who do not represent the authentic faith of Islam." 
These criminals have attacked not only Christian churches, but also government installations and other Muslims, he said. They have killed imams who were preaching against their activities, but this side of the story is not getting out. 
Nigeria is about 50 per cent Muslim and 50 per cent Christian.
Read the full article here.

Unity not based on uniformity

Archbishop Muller: U.S. ordinariate brings gifts to the Church
Archbishop Gerhard L. Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is pictured in a Jan. 11 photo in Rome. CNS photo / Paul Haring.
This Catholic News Agency story says the Vatican's doctrine chief called on Anglican communities that have entered the U.S. Catholic Church to have courage in bringing their patrimony into the larger Catholic community.

"Be courageous pioneers of communion, placing the diversity of your gifts at the service of the universal Church," Archbishop Gerhard Muller said Feb. 2. "The distinctiveness of your traditions and manner of prayer and worship are no obstacle to true unity in the Church."

The archbishop, who is the Prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, spoke at St. Mary's Seminary in Houston, Tex., during a symposium on the mission of the U.S. ordinariate.

For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Pope Benedict resigns

Holy Father will leave the papal office Feb. 28


Pope Benedict XVI announced today that he will resign the papal office at the end of February, citing healt reasons. The Holy Father plans to spend the last two weeks of his papacy administrating the Church from his summer residence at Castel Gandolfo. The 85-year-old pontiff is the first to step down since 1415.

Here is the Pope's message:

Dear Brothers,

I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the barque of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.

Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.

From the Vatican, 10 February 2013

BENEDICTUS PP XVI

Friday, February 8, 2013

ONE Conference happens Feb. 16

Be inspired, united, and empowered

Vancouver's second annual ONE Conference is coming up this Feb. 16. This day-long conference features five speakers from across North America, a one-stop ministry fair with over 60 exhibitors, Mass with our archbishop, and a concert by international Catholic recording artist Matt Maher. The conference takes place at the Vancouver Convention Centre.


The ONE Conference hopes to "inspire, unite, and empower Catholics in their faith and mission" and is open to everyone. For more information or to buy tickets, see the ONE Conference website.

MPs call for investigation of infant deaths

Babies born alive deserve full protection of Criminal Code
Saskatoon-Wanuskewin MP Maurice Vellacott is one of three MPs who
wrote a letter demanding protection for infants who survive abortions.
Three MPs are demanding that the RCMP investigate possible homicides involving babies born after failed abortions. Deborah Gyapong reports from Ottawa:

Initial news reports claimed erroneously the MPs were seeking investigations into all abortions after 19 weeks gestation. One of the signatories, MP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon—Wanuskwein) said in an interview the letter has nothing to do with abortion, which he acknowledged is legal for the full nine months of pregnancy.

Instead, the MPs want the RCMP to investigate the deaths of infants who lived and breathed outside the mother for a period of time said Vellacott. Under Section 223.2 of the Criminal Code it is a crime to “cause injury to a child before or during birth as a result of which the child dies after being born alive,” he said. “This is the law of Canada, the Criminal Code, not some law I wrote up.”

After babies are “out of the womb, living and breathing, at that point they have the full protection of the Criminal Code,” Vellacott stressed. “Do we not have common ground? Do we not agree a child has the full protection of the Criminal Code when they are born alive?”

Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Forward-thinking attitudes towards equality

Knights of Columbus celebrate history of breaking down racial barriers
Pope Benedict XVI greets Carl A. Anderson, supreme knight of the Knights of Columbus, and his wife, Dorian, last December. CNS photo / Paul Haring.
Catholic News Agency points out that during Black History Month, the Knights of Columbus are noting the Catholic organization had "forward-thinking" attitudes towards racial equality long before they were popular.

Andrew Walther, Vice President for Communications and Media at the Knights of Columbus, told CNA the Catholic fraternal organization "took stands for racial equality in ways that were really stunning, when you think of the 1920s or the 1910s."

The Knights of Columbus's first African-American member joined in Massachusetts in the 1890s, less than two decades after its founding.

The Knights of Columbus website is www.kofc.org.

For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Conference raises awareness of persecution

Over 500 people discuss what oppressed Christians really need
Laurentian Leadership Centre director Janet Epp Buckingham
addressed religious persecution in Canada. (Photo: CCN)

The "Learn, Pray, and Act" Conference in Ottawa was a chance to learn about Christian persecution in Canada and around the world. Deborah Gyapong from the Canadian Catholic News reports:
“We have to become more savvy in response,” said Voice of Martyrs CEO Doug McKenzie. Not only must people be trained, they must do what they can to protect themselves, to remain compassionate “and let God do the rest.”

VOM founder Pastor Richard Wurmbrand had a vision that someday religious institutions and seminaries would teach courses on ‘martyrology’ and ‘sufferology,’ McKenzie said.

Theological training needs to include the reality of persecuted Christians, he said.


Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic.

Permanent diaconate offers 'great gift'


First class scheduled for ordination in 2015

IMG_2704resized.JPG.jpg
Mgsr. Gregory Smith chats with candidates for the permanent diaconate and their wives in the Rosemary Heights Retreat Centre in January 2013.
(Alistair Burns / The B.C. Catholic)

As James Joyce famously wrote, "The Catholic Church means, 'Here comes everybody.'" This diversity is reflected in the first class of men studying for the permanent diaconate for the Archdiocese of Vancouver.

Permanent deacons can "witness marriages, bring Viaticum to the dying, and preside at funerals and burials."

Msgr. Smith clarified that discernment for the ministry helps men discover whether "they have a new vocation in addition to being married." If accepted as candidates they meet monthly and take academic courses through St. Mark's College for four years.

Hilmar Pabel, a history professor at Simon Fraser University, joined the study group in 2011.

"What I really value is the fellowship between candidates," he said. "I came in without any brothers and sisters and came out with 18," he said with a smile.
Read the full article here. 

'Gay marriage' advances further

U.K. bishops decry outcome of first of three votes
Archbishop Peter Smith at a press conference in Rome in 2010.
CNS photo / Paul Haring.
Here is a Catholic News Agency story about the passage of a bill allowing same-sex "marriage" the U.K.'s House of Commons. Catholic bishops have warned that the legislation will have profoundly negative effects on society.

"Marriage is rooted in the complementarity of man and woman. For these reasons the Church opposes the government's bill to redefine marriage," said Archbishop Peter D. Smith of Southwark Feb. 5.

Late in the day Feb. 5, the lower house of the British Parliament voted in favour of the Marriage Bill, allowing marriage for same-sex couples. It passed by 400 to 175, and was backed by prime minister David Cameron.

For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Holy See struggles with China over bishops

Catholic leaders worry about 'catastrophic schism'

Students hit the books in Shanghai's Sheshan regional seminary in 2007. (CNS / Nancy Wiechec)

Diplomatic contact between the Vatican and the People's Republic of China remains cool. The B.C. Catholic columnist Msgr. Pedro Lopez-Gallo explains why a recent flashpoint has been the Chinese government's appointment of bishops without the Holy See's approval.


Who will prevail? While the Patriotic Church has about 3 million adherents, the underground Church which is united with Rome still numbers 12 million.

The drama intensified when newly installed Auxiliary Bishop Thaddeus Ma Daqin of Shanghai stunned his congregation by announcing, without delay, his resignation from the Chinese Patriotic Association.

Catholic leaders who have spent years fostering a detente between Rome and Beijing worry about the possibility of a catastrophic schism, something avoided during the darkest days of the Communist Party's war on religion.
Read the full article here. 

Shop owner relies on faith

La Rinascente Imports, a family business that caters to 'the sacraments'
Maria Mazzocco, owner of La Rinascente Imports, stands with her brother Father David Bellusci, OP.
(Special to The B.C. Catholic)
An east Vancouver's store has employees busy catering for nice children's clothes, including baptisms and confirmations. The B.C. Catholic's Nathan Rumohr reports: 
Sitting on shelves next to hanging blouses and mother-of-the-bride dresses are religious articles such as rosaries, icons, statues, and figurines. 
"We have always been connected with the Church," Mazzocco said. "The most important part of our life is faith, and you bring that into your business. I wouldn't want a business that didn't have the religious articles." The Bellusci family grew up in east Vancouver and were members of Our Lady of Sorrows Parish. Mazzocco's youngest brother, Father David Bellusci, is a Dominican priest.
The store's website is www.larinascente-rosa.com.

Read the full article here.

HHS mandate has good side effect

State legislation blocking abortion insurance coverage grows
People participate in a rally in support of religious freedom in Garden City, N.Y., in June 2012.
CNS photo / Gregory A. Shemitz, Long Island Catholic.
Catholic News Agency has a rather surprising story that a number of states in the U.S. are passing restrictions on insurance coverage of abortion under the health care reform law.

Mary Harned, staff counsel at Americans United for Life, said that state-level pro-life laws passed in recent legislative sessions have "been a great victory for the unborn and women across the country."

"The fact that these types of laws are successful," Harned told CNA on Feb. 5, "shows that many Americans do not want public funds paying for abortions, and they also do not want their own insurance premiums paying for abortion."

For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Teachers to gather for symposium

 Catholic Educators' Conference to bring educators together
The 34th Catholic Educators' Conference, Feb. 14-15 at the Vancouver Convention Centre, will help expand teachers' understanding of the Church, according to religious education consultant Michel Gloanec. (Photo: designpics.com)
Thirteen hundred teachers are expected to attend the 34th annual Catholic Educators' Conference Feb. 14-15. The two-day event will bring superintendents and principals from five B.C. dioceses to the Vancouver Convention Centre.

"Certainly there's a cast of hundreds. I greatly believe in sharing responsibility," explained Sandra Marshall, associate superintendent of the Catholic Independent Schools of the Vancouver Archdiocese.

She's gone to the CEC over the past 20 years as a teacher and as a principal; this year she will be the conference chairwoman.

"We have prayers, Masses, an on-site chapel, and a choir," she commented.
Read the full article here.


Tories restate opposition to abortion debate

Minister of Justice confirms government 'will not reopen' issue
Rob Nicholson, the Minister of Justice, declared that the federal government's priorities include job creation and making sure "communities and streets are safe." (Photo: Canadian Catholic News)
The Conservative government reaffirmed its intention not to reopen the abortion debate as the House of Commons resumed sitting Jan. 28 after a six-week break. Deborah Gyapong reports from Ottawa:
NDP MP Niki Ashton challenged Rona Ambrose, Public Works and Status of Women Minister, in Question Period, noting the 25th anniversary of the Morgentaler decision that struck down Canada's abortion laws.
Ambrose has been under fire since she voted for MP Stephen Woodworth's Motion 312, which called for Parliament to study the definition of a human being found in the Criminal Code. Ambrose is on record as opposing sex-selection pregnancy termination that targets unborn girls.

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson responded: "The Prime Minister has been very clear on this, that the government will not reopen this issue."
Read the full story here. 

When a change is not a change

HHS mandate changes protect only 'a few more ministries'
The headquarters of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is seen in Washington in this file photo.
CNS photo / Nancy Phelan Wiechec.
Catholic News Agency says legal analysts are warning that the government's new proposals on the HHS mandate do little to expand religious freedom protections for employers that object to it.

"This unilateral redefinition of religious freedom undermines the sanctity of religious freedom for all people," said legal expert Brian Walsh, "even those who are not affected and have no objection to these products and services."

On Feb. 1, the Obama administration announced its intent to modify the federal contraception mandate, which requires employers to offer health insurance coverage of contraception, including some drugs that can cause early abortions, and sterilization.

For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Over 700 Muslims baptised

Ex-leader of Muslim Brotherhood shares Christianity
Pastor Wagdi Iskander talks about his conversion
and experience as a persecuted Christian. (Photo: CCN)
After becoming a Christian, Pastor Wagdi Iskander was disowned by his father and sent to jail. When he refused to renounce his faith, Iskander was sentenced to death. Here is the story of how this courageous man converted and brought many Muslims to Christianity.
The son of a Bedouin camel trader, Iskander had memorized the entire Koran by the age of 6. The tribe’s religious leader warned him to “beware of Christians.”

“Burn them before they burn you,” he said, leaving Iskander with a burning hatred for Christians.

When Iskander went on to university in Khartoum, he joined the Muslim Brotherhood and soon became one of its leaders and participated in their violent efforts to protect Islam from corrupting influences.
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Cardinal gives three keys to wisdom

Effort requires conscience, prudence, and concern for the common good
Cardinal Thomas Collins encouraged a dinner reception
to be as humble as hobbits. (Photo: The B.C. Catholic)
Wise decision-making has three key ingredients, according to Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto. The cardinal told a Vancouver dinner reception that wisdom requires conscience, prudence, and concern for the common good.
Cardinal Collins said the secret of a happy life was putting oneself third. "God is first, my neighbour is second, and I am third."

"Happiness always comes in the back door, and creeps up on us while we are serving others; if we seek to find happiness by pushing ahead our own agenda, forgetful of others, we will be disappointed."

The cardinal strongly recommended spiritual direction for examining one's motives. He said a humble, honest look at one's own heart is the surest way to make sure one's intentions are selfless. "Humility is the lifeline," he said.
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

U.S. has life without parole for minors

Bishops encourage changes in incarceration of minors
Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, Calif., chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, addresses the bishops at a 2012 meeting. CNS photo / Michael Alexander, Georgia Bulletin.
The U.S. bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development has joined with more than 100 other organizations to call for more fair prison sentencing for minors, Catholic News Agency says.
"Life sentences without parole eliminate the opportunity for rehabilitation or second chances," said Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, Calif., who chairs the committee.

The bishops' committee is one of scores of groups that have endorsed the Statement of Principles of the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth. These principles urge an end to sentencing minors to life in prison without possibility of parole.

For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Cardinal Collins encourages Vancouver lawyers

Canada's newest cardinal gives insight on St. Thomas More's life
Cardinal Thomas Collins encourages those involved in the
administration of justice to follow St. Thomas More's example
during his homily at a Red Mass on Jan 24. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto urged Vancouver lawyers to imitate St. Thomas More's courage, values, and virtue in their work. The B.C. Catholic reports:
Now the patron saint of lawyers, judges, and other stewards of the law, the St. Thomas More was ambitious, intelligent, hard-working, and skillful. “He was wise, and with a wisdom that arose from sources both earthly and divine,” added Cardinal Collins.

The cardinal told the life story of St. Thomas More, relating how his wisdom led to his success as a lawyer, a judge, and as chancellor of England. As chancellor he was in a political position that was second only to the king’s. He also became a good friend to King Henry VIII.

Undistracted by wealth or power, St. Thomas was able to make wise, just judgments. To a family member who wished to take advantage of his position, he replied: “Son, I assure thee on my faith, that if the parties will at my hands call for justice, then, were it my father stood on one side and the devil on the other, his cause being good, the devil should have the right.”
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Church a 'drive through' for young people

Consumer culture impedes youth ministry
Michael Hryniuk encouraged anxious youth ministers to "be not afraid"
when it comes to leading their young people. (Photo: James Buchok)
Youth leaders find it increasingly difficult to reach young people. They feel they have to compete, produce, and perform to catch their attention. Michael Hryniuk, a consultant in ministry development, explains the reasons why.
Youth ministers are working under a weight of anxiety, much of it of their own making, says Michael Hryniuk, a Canadian Catholic theologian and consultant in ministry development, but most of it is due to a dominant culture that worships efficiency, productivity, and achievement.

“Those three words are not in the Bible,” said Hryniuk, speaking at the 25th Western Canadian Association of Catholic Youth Ministers conference, Jan. 17-20 in Winnipeg, with about 65 youth and young adult ministers in attendance from across the west.

“How do we move from a place of anxiety and ‘busyness,’ from adrenalin-based youth ministry,” he asked, adding that it reminds him of the 1970s, when youth ministry was high voltage and entertainment driven and people were burning out. “There was a sense we had to be performing and producing. Is this what God is asking us to do -- pizza nights? Are we activity directors?”
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

LA archbishop relieves Cardinal Mahony of duties

Prelate asks prayers for abuse victims after the release of priests' personnel files
Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles elevates the chalice as he celebrates Mass with Cardinal Roger M. Mahoney, retired archbishop of Los Angeles, in 2011. CNS photo / Paul Haring.
Catholic News Agency reports that Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez has relieved retired Cardinal Roger Mahony of his remaining duties after the release of personnel files of priests accused of sexual abuse decades ago. Also Bishop Thomas Curry of Santa Barbara has stepped down.

"We need to acknowledge that terrible failure today. We need to pray for everyone who has ever been hurt by members of the Church, and we need to continue to support the long and painful process of healing their wounds and restoring the trust that was broken," the archbishop said in a Jan. 31 statement.

Archbishop Gomez noted that "effective immediately, I have informed Cardinal Mahony," who served the archdiocese from 1985 to 2011, "that he will no longer have any administrative or public duties."

For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

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