Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Carmelite sisters house Vancouverites

"We weren't merely guests in their home, but felt like we were meant to be there."
World Youth Day pilgrims from Vancouver pictured with the children from the slums. Photo credit: vanwyd.
World Youth Day pilgrims from Vancouver had the opportunity to grow in spirit with The Sisters of the Carmelite Mission, and the children of the favelas.

A pilgrim from Star of the Sea Parish wrote a reflection about her time there:
Today has been the definition of bittersweet. We are currently on our way from Missionary Week in Sao Paulo to Rio de Janeiro for WYD. While we are excited for all of the events in Rio and anxious to see what this week holds for each of us, the past week with our new family at Santa Zita parish has been one of the most amazing experiences of our lives. From the moment we arrived last Tuesday, we were welcomed with wide open arms and extreme joy.
The Sisters of the Carmelite Mission made their house a home away from home for us. We weren't merely guests in their home, but felt like we were meant to be there.
You can read her entire article on the VanWYD blog.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Pope Francis visits Hospital of St. Francis of Assisi

Pope offers drug addicts an embrace and a challenge

Pope Francis greets a young man as he meets with patients, family, and staff at St. Francis of Assisi Hospital in Rio de Janeiro July 24. CNS photo / Paul Haring.
A story from Catholic News Service by Francis X. Rocca reported that Pope Francis visited the Hospital of St. Francis of Assisi. He inaugurated a new wing dedicated to treating users of crack cocaine while he was there.

Pope Francis addressed a group of recovering drug addicts in a working-class neighbourhood of Rio, offering them a message of compassion and hope as well as a call to self-determination.

At the Hospital of St. Francis of Assisi, which he called a "shrine of human suffering," he told patients they were the "flesh of Christ," like the leper embraced by the institution's patron saint in a crucial step toward his conversion. He also said those struggling with drug dependency deserve the "closeness, affection, and love" of all society.

Yet the Pope also stressed the necessity of personal will in recovering from addiction.

Full article available here.

A nun wearing a clown nose smiles as Pope Francis meets with patients. CNS photo / Paul Haring.

Number of Catholics diminish in Brazil

Staggering decrease in Brazilians who identify with being Catholic
Pilgrims carry a cross to the altar during a Mass at the close of World Youth Day's missionary week in Nilopolis, Brazil, July 21. The prelude to the World Youth Day main events gave pilgrims from outside Brazil a chance to take part in local spiritual, mission and cultural activities. CNS photo / Tyler Orsburn
Brazil has been known to be a country with many Catholics, so it should be shocking to see the data of a poll about their Catholic demographic having the stilts kicked out of its once tall figures.

By only a little over a decade, the percentage of Brazilians who identified with being Catholic dropped about 30 percent, according to an article by the Wall Street Journal.

In a 1990 census, the figure was over 90 percent. In 1994, it was 75 percent. Now, it is only 57 percent.
Evangelical Protestant groups have made big inroads, and the country has become more secular amid economic growth. A Datafolha poll released Sunday showed that 57% of Brazilians call themselves Catholic today, compared with 75% in 1994.
"It's a bit strange for someone my age to go to Mass—all I see are old people," said Luisa Marazzi, a 16-year-old Brazilian Catholic who made a 10-hour road trip with her father to Rio for the event. "The problem has been the lack of young leaders, and even the language they use in church, sometimes it's hard to understand."
This information is part of a larger story on the importance of Pope Francis' visit to Brazil and its effect on the future of the Church.
 
The Wall Street Journal has the full story.

Pope visits Marian shrine, entrusts WYD to Mary's care

Pilgrims receive a blessing from Pope Francis with statue of Our Lady of Aparecida
YouTube credit: CNS / Robert Duncan.

Catholic News Service reporter Cindy Wooden wrote that Pope Francis received a copy of the statue of Our Lady of Aparecida from Cardinal Raymundo Damasceno Assis at a Mass in the Basilica of Aparecida. He then used it to give the final blessing to the people inside and to the crowds outside.

Comfortable in the presence of Mary and at a shrine that symbolizes one of his most important experiences as a member of the Latin American bishops' council, Pope Francis kicked off five days of intense activity with an act of devotion.

Visiting the Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida July 24, the Pope entrusted World Youth Day to Mary's maternal protection. He challenged parents, priests, and other adult Catholics to give the young people things that the world, with all its wealth, cannot: faith and values.

Full story available here.

400,000 brave wind, rain on Copacabana beach

Pilgrims gather for WYD's opening ceremony
Young people carry the World Youth Day cross during the event's opening ceremony on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro July 23. CNS Photo / Paul Haring.
Police watch over the crowd as pilgrims gather on the beach. A Brazilian navy vessel can be seen in the distance. CNS. Photo / Ricardo Moraes, Reuters.
A story from Catholic News Service by Lise Alves reported that World Youth Day officially opened with a Mass celebrated by Rio Archbishop Orani Joao Tempesta. Despite the rain and cold winds, youths were enthusiastic to see the pilgrim cross carried to the main stage by other young people.
 
The mosaic of hundreds of national flags waving in the cold wind on Copacabana beach was symbolic, as pilgrims from all backgrounds, driven by a single faith, participated in the opening Mass for World Youth Day.

"We come from different cultures, speak different languages, but we sing the same songs and have the same faith," said Nancy Issa of Ramallah, West Bank. Issa and 20 other Palestinians came to Brazil for the July 23-28 events.

Full article available here.


Brazilian soccer team gives Pope personalized jersey

Supporters chant song written for 1980 papal visit
Pope Francis receives a soccer jersey from the Fluminense Football Club. Photo credit / Nelson Perez - Fluminense F.C.
Catholic News Agency reported that during his visit to Laranjeiras Stadium, Pope Francis received a personalized jersey from Alexey Dantas, the vice president of the Fluminense Soccer Club. Fans of the team are known for chanting "À Benção João de Deus," or "A Blessing, John of God," written during Pope John Paul II's 1980 visit to Brazil. A video of the song can be found here.

After arriving last night by helicopter at Laranjeiras Stadium, the home of the Fluminense Soccer Club, Pope Francis received a personalized jersey and blessed the famous Brazilian soccer team.

The Pope, in Rio de Janeiro for World Youth Day and on his way to Guanabara Palace yesterday to meet with President Dilma Rousseff, received the jersey from team vice president Alexey Dantas. A smiling Pope Francis thanked him in Spanish for the gift.

Full article available here.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Spirit of WYD experienced from home

Salt and Light offer free coverage to Canadians
Youths celebrate the impending WYD. Salt and Light Photo.

Canadians will be able to join youths in Rio and experience the many events and activities taking place without leaving their homes. Salt and Light Media Foundation is providing exclusive coverage on the different events live on location at World Youth Day (WYD) Rio 2013 free to Canadians.

"I'm happy to say that we will have the most extensive and exclusive coverage of the events, more than any other English media outlet attending the events," said Noel A. Ocol, director of marketing and communications.

Seven distributors supply free channels

Salt and Light Television is free for the week of July 22 to customers across Canada. The distributors are as follows:

Shaw Direct 558 (classic), 293 (advanced)
Shaw Cable 160
Bell Fibe 654
Rogers 240
Sogetel 28, 851
Telus 159
Videotron 242

"Just an inside piece of info..."

"Just an inside piece of info," Ocol added, "we just got word that Father Tom Rosica (our CEO), and Salt and Light producer Sebastian Gomes will be accompanying Pope Francis as he visits the slums of Rio on Thursday." Only 40 accredited registered English journalists of over 600 were chosen to accompany the Pope.

Although cameras are not allowed at this particular event, "Father Rosica and Gomes will be tweeting live, from what promises to be a truly emotional and touching event," Ocol said.

Schedule - Pacific Daylight Time

Monday, July 22
11:00 a.m. - Who is Pope Francis? (Documentary)
12:00 p.m. - Pope Francis Arrives in Rio de Janeiro LIVE
8:00 p.m. - Who is Pope Francis? (Documentary)
9:00 p.m. - Pope Francis Arrives in Rio de Janeiro (repeat)

Tuesday, July 23
10:30 a.m. - Perspectives Weekly (A look at the Church in Brazil)
11:00 a.m. - Pope Francis Arrives in Rio de Janeiro
1:30 p.m. - WYD Central LIVE
2:00 p.m. - Opening Mass for WYD Rio LIVE
5:00 p.m. - WYD Central (repeat)
5:30 p.m. - Opening Mass for WYD Rio (repeat) 

Wednesday, July 24
6:00 a.m. - Catechesis Session with Cardinal Timothy Dolan LIVE
9:00 a.m. - Pope Francis visits Aparecida
1:30  p.m. - WYD Central LIVE
2:00 p.m. - American National Gathering LIVE
4:00 p.m. - Youth Festival LIVE
8:30 p.m. - Perspectives Weekly (A look at the Church in Brazil)
9:00 p.m. - Pope Francis visits Aparecida (repeat)  

Thursday, July 25
6:00 a.m. - Catechesis Session with Archbishop Mark Coleridge LIVE
9:00 a.m. - Pope Francis Visits St. Francis of Assisi Hospital
10:30 a.m. - Pope Francis Visits the Community of Varginha
1:30 p.m. - WYD Central LIVE
2:00 p.m. - Papal Welcome Ceremony LIVE
4:00 p.m. - Youth Festival LIVE
9:00 p.m. - WYD Central (repeat)
9:30 p.m. - Papal Welcome Ceremony (repeat) 

Friday, July 26
6:00 a.m. - Catechesis Session with Cardinal Sean O'Malley LIVE
10:00 a.m. - youth Festival LIVE
1:30 p.m. - WYD Central LIVE
2:00 p.m. - Way of the Cross with Pope Francis LIVE
7:00 p.m. - Who is Pope Francis? (Documentary)
9:00 p.m. - WYD Central (repeat)
9:30 p.m. - Way of the Cross with Pope Francis (repeat) 

Saturday, July 27
5:00 a.m. - Mass with Clergy and Religious LIVE
7:30 a.m. - Pope Francis Meets with Brazil's Leaders LIVE
8:30 a.m. - Canadian National Gathering
10:00 a.m. - Australian National Gathering
1:00 p.m. - Who is Pope Francis? (Documentary)
3:00 p.m. - WYD Central LIVE
3:30 p.m. - Vigil with Pope Francis LIVE
9:30 p.m. - WYD Central (repeat)
10:00 p.m. - Vigil with Pope Francis (repeat)

Sunday, July 28 
5:30 a.m. - WYD Central LIVE
6:00 a.m. - Closing Mass LIVE
8:30 a.m. - Who is Pope Francis? (Documentary)
2:30 p.m. - Papal Farewell LIVE
5:00 p.m. - WYD Central Wrap-up Show
6:00 p.m. - Closing Mass (repeat)
9:00 p.m. - WYD Central Wrap-up Show (repeat)
10:00 p.m. - Closing Mass (repeat)

Note: All times are subject to change.

Pope Francis is scheduled to visit the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida at 9:00 a.m. on July 24 in Guaratinqueta, Brazil. Our Lady of Aparecida is the patroness of Brazil and is connected to a miracle in Guaratinqueta with catching fish. Salt and Light Photo.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Small acts of faith vital, say Christian families in Israeli village

Muslims from Muqeibleh celebrate with their Christian neighbours when church is built
Fuad Shunnara and his wife, Sohad, kneel and read the Bible and pray with their sons in their living room in Muqeibleh, Israel, June 22. The family belongs to the Church of the Transfiguration in the village and prays with their children every night at home. CNS photo / Debbie Hill
Catholic News Service posted a story by Judith Sudilovsky about how Christian families in an Israeli village and their Muslim friends and neighbours have mutual respect. But to establish their identity, small acts of faith are vital. Muqeibleh is a small village between the city of Lod and Nazareth. When a church was built in Muqeibleh in 2006, the Christians were not the only ones to celebrate. Muslim religious leaders and neighbours also joined in celebration with the community. Sudilovsky reported that Muslims and Christians are on good standing with one another.

Every evening Suhad Shunnara, 32, reads the Bible to her three sons and kneels with them to say the rosary. On Friday, she and her husband, Fuad, 40, send the children to religion class, and on Saturday, after Mass, they all watch a Christian TV channel together.

In this small village of 4,000, where the Christian community totals 135 people, these small acts of faith are not only a statement of their own beliefs but also an important way to instill in their children a love and understanding of the importance of their religious traditions to their own identities.

"There are a lot of things which we do differently than our Muslim neighbours," Fuad said, noting that most of his friends are Muslim, "but the atmosphere here is very good; there is a lot of Muslim-Christian respect as well as Christian-Christian respect."

Full story available here.

Pilgrimage photos offer colourful snippets

IT administrator captures pilgrimage in all angles

Pauline Chau, the archdiocese's web and database administrator, posted some great shots of the Rose Prince Pilgrimage in Lejac July 5-7. Here are some quick photos:
Rose Prince Pilgrimage procession in Lejac July 7. Photo credit: Pauline Chau.
 Photo credit: Pauline Chau.
Rose Prince's grave. Photo credit: Pauline Chau.
Bishop Stephen Jensen celebrated Mass during the pilgrimage July 7. Photo credit: Pauline Chau.
Photo credit: Pauline Chau.
To view all photos, visit Chau's Flickr page.
To see slideshow, click here.

Crash course in apologetics

Prolife activists teach Socratic Method to win hearts and minds
Choice Chain in Ottawa after the apologetics crash course the night before. Photo by Paul Lauzon / Campaign Life Coalition / CCN.
About a dozen prolife men and women 30 and under gathered July 12 for a crash course in prolife apologetics, learning how to use the Socratic Method to win hearts and change minds. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.


Other stories recently posted to the website include:

Migrant workers enjoy hospitality

More than 200 migrant workers and friends attended Mass celebrated by Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, in St. Luke's Church in Maple Ridge. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.


Pope's island visit carried light to end of world

After the unexpected July 8 visit from Pope Francis, the little Italian island of Lampedusa received "an electric shock," because he shed light on "the problem of immigration and the suffering of immigration," said Archbishop Francesco Montenegro of Agrigento, in Sicily. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

St. Matthew's teacher becomes Canadian citizen

Educator and Aura Humanitus founder helps less fortunate in El Salvador, Downtown Eastside
Angelique Rasmussen, a teacher at St. Matthew's Elementary School in Surrey,  shakes Judge Robert Watt's hand after becoming a Canadian citizen June 21. Agnieszka Krawczynski / The B.C. Catholic.
A chorus of 7- and 8-year-old voices cheered as Angelique Rasmussen, a teacher at St. Matthew's Elementary School in Surrey, became a Canadian citizen. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.


Other stories recently posted to the website include:

Panelists predict widespread impact of U.S. marriage rulings

Although the Supreme Court's recent rulings on marriage were narrowly constructed, legal experts say they will likely have far-reaching consequences for society. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.


IMFC study shows palliative care would reduce health care costs

The Institute of Marriage and Family Canada (IMFC) has released a study showing that Ontario could save millions of dollars on health care through improving palliative care access. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Relics on display at World Youth Day in Rio

Blessed John Paul II hailed as 'inventor' of event
The World Youth Day cross arrived in Rio July 6.
(Photo credit: Vatican Insider.)
Relics of Blessed John Paul II, the pontiff who set up World Youth Day, have arrived in Brazil.

According to L'Osservatore Romano, the official Vatican newspaper, Cardinal Stanisław Ryłko, President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, presented the relics July 7.
Following Madrid, the “inventor” of World Youth Day will also be present in a certain way in Rio de Janeiro.
"For my part I am very happy to preside over this Eucharist for the consignment of the relics of Blessed John Paul II, who will soon be proclaimed a Saint,” Cardinal Ryłko said.
Read the full article here.

Bishops call for aid in the wake of recent tragedies

Two Canadian dioceses gravely affected
Damaged belongings cleared from homes sit on the street after severe flooding by the Bow and Elbow Rivers in Calgary, Alta., June 24. Premier Alison Redford called it the worst flooding in the province's history and said rebuilding could take 10 years.
CNS photo / Andy Clark, Reuters.
For the last couple of weeks, Alberta's land and water have all shifted in different directions, and the province's luck has only gone down, with the recent Canadian Pacific Railway bridge failure in Calgary on June 27. 

There were no casualties because there was no explosion from the flammable cargo on the train, and evacuation plans were carried out swiftly, according to CBC. Instead, there were only headaches from CP Railway employees, government officials, and people stuck in traffic.

Unfortunately, this wasn't the most upsetting development in recent train related news.

A train derailed in Lac-Mégantic, Que., exploding and causing a number of civilian casualties.

The death toll has been rising since the explosion on July 5.

Pope Francis sent a special apostolic blessing to all those affected by the explosion at Lac-Mégantic.

In the face of these tragedies, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has reached out to the dioceses of Canada in a letter sent out on July 8 for prayers and financial contributions.

Archbishop welcomes Catholic converts downtown

New Vatican-approved liturgy for former Anglicans used for first time in Vancouver
Father Lee Kenyon (third from left) and Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, stand with Catholics who were formerly Anglicans June 12 in the John Paul II Pastoral Centre. Father Kenyon, a former Anglican minister, came to town from Calgary to celebrate Mass using the Book of Divine Worship, a Vatican-approved translation for Catholic converts from Anglicanism. Alistair Burns / The B.C. Catholic.
For the first time in Vancouver, the Book of Divine Worship (BDW), a Vatican-approved translation of the Mass for Catholic converts from Anglicanism, has been used. Father Lee Kenyon, dean of St. John the Baptist Deanery of the Chair of St. Peter Ordinariate, celebrated the Mass in the John Paul II Pastoral Centre June 12. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.


Other stories recently posted to the website include:

International Christian Voice played key role in publicizing Rimsha Masih's plight

International Christian Voice (ICV) played a key role in publicizing the plight of Rimsha Masih who was charged with burning a Koran in Pakistan in August 2012. Now Masih, 13, her parents, and her three siblings are safely in Canada. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.


Online video highlights Pope Francis's vocational path

A new animated video in 15 languages is helping Catholics and non-Catholics learn more about Pope Francis in a simple way. Entitled "Meet Pope Francis (in 4 minutes)," the video is posted on the website Catholic Link and recounts the Holy Father's journey through the roles of priest, bishop, cardinal and Pope. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Texas bill bans abortions after 20 weeks

The number of abortion-restricting laws in the U.S.A. is rising
Texas governor Rick Perry signed the Texas bill, despite protests. (Photo: CNS)
Legislators in Texas passed a bill on Friday, July 12, that places restrictions on abortion. A BBC report explains:
In addition to banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, the bill will require all abortion procedures to be performed at a surgical centre, and mandate all doctors performing abortions have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles (48km) of the clinic.
The article states that most of the state's abortion clinics will likely be shut down.

According to a story by Catholic News Agency, 2013 is the "second-best year on record" when it comes to passing laws regulating abortion in the U.S.A. So far, 43 provisions against abortion have been passed this year.

Read more about those laws here.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Faith, Family, and Film

What have you seen up on the big screen lately? (Photo: momsnightoutmovie.com)
NCR reports on efforts by Christians to make better movies than what Hollywood usually offers:
Lately, I’ve been delving into the classics — films from the 1940s all the way to the ’60s. 
I’ve rediscovered great acting, profound storytelling and a level of morality rarely found in modern productions. I’ve gained a new appreciation for Alfred Hitchcock, Humphrey Bogart and Bette Davis. 
The industry abandoned the Motion Picture Production Code in 1968 in favor of the current rating system, resulting in a sharp decline of family-friendly films. Countercultural movies began to push the envelope by glorying sin, decadence and sensuality. Today, they’re the norm.
However, Christians in Hollywood are pushing back hard.

Read the rest here.
See also these recent stories at The B.C. Catholic's Web site: 

Local film portrays struggles of the faithful: Letter to a Priest

Memo to Fr. Barron: The Man of Steel is no superman

'They aimed at you, Mr. President, but hit us'

A bad egg cracks the relationship between Poland and Ukraine further
A man presses an egg to Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski’s shoulder during his visit to Lutsk in this video screen shot. Photo credit: Zik TV.
A 21-year-old Ukrainian man broke an egg on the jacket of Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski, who was in the Ukrainian city of Lutsk to honour the lives of tens of thousands of fellow Poles who were killed in World War II by Ukrainian nationalists.

The incident left Myroslav Marynovych, Vice Rector of the Ukrainian Catholic University, and a former prisoner of the Gulag, with a "stirred conscience." It compelled him to write a letter of apology to the Polish president.

You came to our land as a pilgrim, who in prayer paid tribute to the victims of the fratricidal conflict. Pilgrims are to be blessed and received kindly, not offended.
You delicately crafted the political focus of your visit to fulfill your civic duty to your people and at the same time not to hurt the feelings of the Ukrainian people. For this, one must be thanked and honored, not stained.
They aimed at you, Mr. President, but hit us.
Read the full letter on the Religious Information Service of Ukraine website.

Blasphemy in a text message

Attempt at chastisement lands a Pakistani Christian man a life term
In a separate case, neighbours and members of the media gather in front of the house of a Pakistani Christian girl accused of blasphemy. CNS photo / Faisal Mahmood, Reuters.
A Christian man in Punjab has been sentenced to a life term after sending blasphemous text messages using his wife's phone to Muslim clerics of Gojra.

According to The Indian Express, Masih's wife had contracted a marriage with a man in the UK, and to teach her a lesson, Masih tried to make her look like a blasphemer.

Needless to say, his plan backfired. 

Read the full story here.

Pub Night discusses same-sex attraction

Father Comerford gives a talk highlighting the importance of chastity
Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington addresses young adults May 7 during a Theology on Tap talk at Buffalo Billiards pub in Washington. Locally, one Catholic group gathered at a pub for a Theology-On-Tap-style discussion on same-sex attraction. Theology on Tap is an informal get-together aimed at Catholic young adults. CNS photo / Michael Hoyt, Catholic Standard.
Earlier in July, I wrote an article on a pub talk on same-sex attraction hosted by Catholic After Hours at the St. Regis Bar and Grill.
The Church calls people with same-sex attraction (SSA) to live chaste lives, explained Father William "Bill" Comerford, CSsR, the chaplain of a Courage chapter in Vancouver, when he gave a talk about SSA June 9.
"People with same-sex attraction should pray, be companions, be friends, and go to Mass."
Read the full article on The B.C. Catholic website.

Local film portrays the struggles of the faithful

Letter to a Priest encourages Catholics to 'talk in a candid way about the meaning of life'
Frank C. Turner plays Father Boniface.
A new local film, Letter to a Priest, written, filmed, and produced in the Fraser Valley, will have its worldwide premier at World Youth Day in Rio de Janiero this year. The film tackles the subject of those who feel challenged in their devotion to their faith. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.


Other stories recently posted to the website include:

Canadians might be staying home during WYD

The number of Canadian pilgrims registering in advance for World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, later this month is significantly less than advance registered for past WYD events. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.


Pope Francis's first encyclical stresses the beauty of the faith

The first encyclical of Pope Francis, started by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI to help strengthen the faith of Catholics, was released July 5. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Memo to Fr. Barron: The Man of Steel is no superman

Compare the Man of Steel poster (source: Warner Bros) with Christ Before Pilate, the painting by Duccio di Buoninsegna completed in 1311 (source: WikiPaintings.org).

C.S. Morrissey reveals the key to understanding the Man of Steel movie in The B.C. Catholic.

Part 1: The Man of Steel embodies supernatural virtue

Part 2: The Man of Steel is no superman

To use the language of Fr. Barron's preliminary analysis, Morrissey sees further that Krypton represents the heteronomous (Platonic) state, whereas Zod in fact represents the autonomous (Nietzschean) individual, since it is Kal who, according to the movie's visual symbolism, represents Biblical theonomy in the life of the Christian:
This summer, many people are comparing the myth of Superman with the life of Christ. The new Superman film, Man of Steel, invokes the parallels.
But it would be a mistake to think that the filmmakers are offering the Superman story as a substitute for Christianity. Instead, the movie is best seen as depicting what any Christian striving to live a life of super-heroic virtue, by modeling their life on Christ, can expect to encounter: namely, opposition from a world mired in darkness.
Clark Kent says in the film: “My father believed that if the world found out who I really was, they’d reject me, out of fear. He was convinced that the world wasn’t ready. What do you think?”
Clark learns that his real name is Kal-El and that he has a father Jor-El from beyond this world, a father who entrusts to him a mission involving the salvation of this world. True, that much of the story clearly parallels the vocation of any Christian, since it obviously resembles the life of Christ himself.
Read the rest of Part 1 here.

Part 2: Memo to Fr. Barron: The Man of Steel is no superman

Single-child families becoming the norm

Birth rate declines for women aged 20 to 24
For the third year in a row, birth rates have declined. Couples are no longer having the typical 2.5 children. According to an article in the National Post, single-child families are becoming increasingly common. Also, people are having children later in life. Studies have shown that women between the ages of 35 and 39 are having more births than women from 20 to 24.

The “white picket fence and 2.5 children” that long signalled the domestic dream isn’t just outdated because our architectural tastes have evolved. According to new figures from Statistics Canada, women, on average, haven’t had families that large since 1968 — nor do they appear to be headed that way any time soon.

On Tuesday, the agency reported that the total fertility rate in Canada has declined for a third year in a row, falling to just 1.61 children per woman in 2011. And while that represents an increase over a decade earlier, when the rate plummeted to a historic low of 1.51, it’s nonetheless consistent with the long-term trend.
In fact, Statistics Canada shows we haven’t met the population replacement level of roughly 2.1 children per woman since 1971.

Full article available here.

World Youth Day on TV

Canada's Salt and Light Television will cover World Youth Day in Rio live



Salt and Light TV, Canada's only national Catholic network, will provide a six-day live and exclusive coverage of this year's World Youth Day in Rio July 22-27. From Pope Francis's arrival and departure, pilgrims, interviews, papal events, to other WYD activities, Salt and Light TV will have it covered.
TORONTO, July 11 – Salt + Light Television will have live and exclusive coverage of World Youth Day Rio 2013 from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from July 22-27.
In his first trip abroad since being elected Pope, His Holiness Pope Francis will make his return to South America for World Youth Day Rio 2013. Originally conceived by Pope John Paul II in 1985, the week-long international Catholic youth festival has attracted millions from around the globe since its inception.
For full press release, visit the Salt + Light Newsroom.
For the full schedule of covered events, visit Salt and Light's World Youth Day Central.
Here is the live television feed.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

'Voices Together' sing praise to the Lord

Archbishop joins 12,000 Christians of various denominations in prayer
Thousands gather in Rogers Arena for the multidenominational worship event "Voices Together: Lift High the Name of Jesus" July 1. Sophie Desvaux de Marigny writes that she "experienced a roar for the Lord" through song, dance, and praise. Pamela Ho / Special to The B.C. Catholic.
On Canada Day I experienced a roar for the Lord. Through the singing and dancing and praising of Jesus, I felt God's intentions for me. I was reminded that in every town, and in every corner of the world, Jesus is on trial at this time, and like in a tribunal court, I need to be a witness for Jesus. If the position was reversed and I was unable to practise my religion, would the jury find enough evidence to convict me of being a Christian? For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.


Other stories recently posted to the website include:

Pope offers 'deep sympathy' to Quebec train victims

Pope Francis said he is uniting himself in prayer with the victims of the unusual train explosion that killed at least 15 people and destroyed a central section of a Quebec town July 6. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.


Salt and Light to cover the Catholic 'World Cup'

Salt and Light Television has a game plan for covering the "World Cup of the Catholic Church." Deacon Pedro Guevara-Mann, producer and radio host for Salt and Light, is part of a team of 12 that will descend upon Brazil to begin coverage of the events the week before World Youth Day, to be held July 23 to 28 in Rio de Janeiro. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Jesuit priest snaps compelling photographs

Father Don Doll tells stories of aboriginals, refugees, and loved ones as part of his vocation
Father Don Doll, SJ, began taking pictures on native reserves about 50 years ago, before he became a priest. "I prayed that somehow my photographs would show, in some small way, how God loved them and treasured them," he said. Father Doll also documents the stories of loved ones, refugees, and priests in action. Father Don Doll / Special to The B.C. Catholic.
Taking compelling photos that illuminate the profound stories of people and their environments is something Father Don Doll sees as part of his vocation as a Jesuit priest. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.


Other stories recently posted to the website include:

CNEWA focuses on supporting the churches in Egypt and Syria

The Christian population in Syria faces a threat of being "wiped out," says Carl HÇtu, national secretary of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association Canada (CNEWA). For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.


App helps parents catechize

What's easier than staying up until 3 in the morning to put the baby to sleep, or negotiating with a child to eat their veggies? Being a thumb swipe away from all kinds of parenting tips and tools which not only assist parents, but reignite their own, and their children's, faith. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Crossroads team Canada walk for the unborn

Group of young people devote their summer to a noble trek across the nation
Members of Crossroads USA. CNS photo / Bob Roller
A group of college students involved with Crossroads Canada are spending their summer unemployed, but having the opportunity to walk across Canada for the awareness of an important human right is worth the mild financial disparity.

Swayed by the pro-life movement, Ian Gallagher, 23, is leading a group of young people on a mission across the True North, to spark debate and raise awareness for the right to life.

In an article by LifeSiteNews.com, Gallagher is interviewed on his motivations for participating in his cross-country adventure:
LSN: What made you want to embark on this walk across Canada?
Gallagher: I have been interested in Crossroads the past few years while attending Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy, from which many of the walkers come. However, I originally planned to work this summer at home in Ottawa, but it fell through. Not knowing quite what I was going to do, I considered going out to work in the Alberta oil patch. Then I talked to a friend (who is on our team) about doing Crossroads Canada.
What has been the hardest aspect of your journey thus far?
One would think that the hardest part of our journey is the opposition we face. But actually the hardest part of the journey is keeping our constant focus on our mission, which is to change hearts and save lives. 
The reason why it’s hard is due to the devil’s traps. He seeks always to stop us from our activities by causing us difficulties of all kinds. We feel the presence of evil constantly, whether while walking, driving, or praying in front of abortion clinics.
Read the full story here.

Missionaries to present on medical aid for Vietnam

Two-week trip will assist impoverished patients
A boy displays an artillery shell and other metal items he collected at a village in Buong Tam, Vietnam. CNS photo / Tran Van Giao, UCAN.

For almost two decades, Father Tien Tran, pastor of All Saints Parish in Coquitlam, has been conducting medical mission trips to Vietnam to aid poor patients in remote villages. 

The Vietnamese priest is joined by a team consisting of hundreds of doctors, dentists, and volunteers in his humanitarian travels to Vietnam.

"We see about 500 to 800 patients a day, depending on the size of the team," said Father Tran in an article by The B.C. Catholic.

Father Tran, and Father Joseph Le, who has also been on the mission, will be presenting on the subject at St. Mary's Church on July 20 and 21 during Mass, to gather more support.

Archbishop celebrates feast day of founder of Opus Dei

St. Josemaria Escriva showed Gospel's beauty to 'tepid believers to live in the joy of faith'
Anne Marie Abraham wrote a story in the July 1 B.C. Catholic about the feast day of St. Josemaria Escriva:
One man recently travelled a long way to participate in the Mass at Holy Rosary Cathedral. Edward Mungai, a business teacher at the University of Strathmore in Nairobi, Kenya, flew all the way to Vancouver to celebrate the feast of St. Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer.

"I have a lot of respect for St. Josemaria," said Mungai. The university he works at was founded by Opus Dei missionaries sent to Kenya by St. Josemaria, the founder of the Catholic institution, to establish the first multicultural college in Kenya.

Mungai, who came to take up a position as visiting business professor at the University of British Columbia until December, arrived in Vancouver the day of the celebration.
 For the full story, see The B.C. Catholic website.

Former NHL referee laces up in Rome

Kerry Fraser puts away whistle, discovers Vatican City
Kerry Fraser, who holds the NHL record for most games called, is vacationing in the Eternal City.
(@kfraserthecall / Kerry Fraser's Twitter Feed)
Toronto Maple Leaf fans still heartbroken from their team's 1993 playoff run take note: former NHL referee Kerry Fraser is a convert to Catholicism and far away from Maple Leaf Gardens.

With the hockey season over, he's brought his laconic wit to Twitter with this comment from the Roman Colosseum:
"Glad I didn't work in original Le Colisée! Legend has it they were a tough crowd?"

(For younger fans of the frozen game: before the Quebec City franchise moved to Colorado in 1995, "les Nords" or Nordiques, used to play in Le Colisée.)

"Burnaby Joe" Sakic, in an undated photo, waits to take a face-off as Nordiques captain.
(hrboards.hockeysfuture.com)


Follow Kerry Fraser's trip through Rome and Vatican City through the B.C. Catholic Twitter account: @BCCatholic.

And read an article that explains why the ref converted to Catholicism here.

Educators unite in anti-bullying efforts

Online Reporting Tool an asset to Bully Free Schools campaign
Faith Ford stars in a scene from the TV movie "Field of Vision." The movie explores the theme of bullying in schools and how standing up for what's right pays off, despite the difficulties of doing so. CNS photo / courtesy Field of Vision.
The Catholic Independent Schools of British Columbia (CISBC) have formally joined the province's Ministry of Education in its efforts to end bullying in B.C. schools. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.


Other stories recently posted to the website include:

Jason Kenney launches petition to support John Paul II Day

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has launched a petition in support of a bill now before the senate to establish Pope John Paul II Day. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.


Despite setbacks, Vatican Bank undergoing important evolution

News that Vatican Financial Intelligence Authority has been admitted to a global network of financial oversight agencies proves that the Vatican is threading an international and multilateral path to adhere to international standards. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Monday, July 8, 2013

WYD officials calm fears over protests in Brazil

Brazilian prelate claims: 'Protesters themselves are insisting there be no violence'


Photo credit: catholicseeking.blogspot.com
While recent protests in Brazil have gained much publicity, the World Youth Day organization and Brazil's police force are positive this year's celebration will be peaceful and calm.

Photo credit: newsinfo.inquirer.net
"There will not be any safety issues, whether for the Pope or for those in attendance, as we are studying everything down to the smallest details," Domenico Giani, Commander of the Vatican Gendarmerie Police Force, said. The protests began when prices increased for public transport, later growing into a call for better public service from the government and an end to corruption.

Operation centres, patrols, and over 1,000 agents will be distributed across several venues. Archbishop Joao Tempesta Orani of Rio de Janerio commented to the press last month, saying that he has been assured by public authorities that the protests will not affect World Youth Day.

The Secretary General of Brazil’s Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Leonardo Steiner, has expressed optimism that calm will reign among participants at recent protests, some of which have turned violent, in Brazil. Pope Francis is due to preside at World Youth Day Rio celebrations in the South American nation from July 23-28. 
The Brazilian prelate told Vatican Radio “the protesters themselves are insisting that there be no violence.”
Read the full article on the Vatican Radio website.

WYD coordinator prepares for arrival of Canadian pilgrims in Rio


 New centre to welcome English-speaking pilgrims in Rio

A letter from Msgr. Patrick Powers, the General Secretary of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), has announced that Father Thomas Rosica, CSB, will assist the CCCB as the World Youth Day (WYD) 2013 coordinator. Father Rosica is the CEO of Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation. In 2011, he coordinated the Canadian delegation to Madrid's WYD, and over the last year he has represented the CCCB at WYD meetings in Rome and Rio.

Father Rosica has informed the CCCB that there will be a Welcome Centre for English-speaking pilgrims at Vivo Rio, a performing arts facility in the eastern Flamengo area of Rio. The letter says the Centre will feature:
Experiences of prayer and worship, music, media and videos, motivational speakers, cultural presentations, and networking activities.

The letter adds:

The Canadian government representation in Rio has worked closely with Father Rosica over the past months in preparing for WYD 2013 and the arrival and care of Canadian pilgrims.

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