Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Egypt's Christians worry they could be martyred anytime

Slaughter of 28 Coptic pilgrims brings fear and anger

Father Rafic Greiche told Catholic News Service that Christians in Egypt are "getting this idea that we could be a martyr at any moment."

This after an attack on Christian pilgrims on a bus May 26. At least 28 died and another 25 were injured. Coptic Catholic Abouna Beshoi Yasa Annis said his parish has cancelled one trip and the plans for many other summer trips and pilgrimages are now up in the air. "They are in despair," he said. More from The Catholic Register here.

Photo credit.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

'Love Is' coming as music to Vancouver

Musician Joe Zambon to perform with dance duo Project Pursuit

Joe Zambon will be playing at Rosary Hall, May 21.
Canadian folk singer Joe Zambon will be making a stop in Vancouver for his show tour across Canada and the U.S. Zambon will perform alongside hip-hop dance duo Project Pursuit, May 21.

Zambon is a self-taught musician who was born with webbed fingers. However, he requested his fingers separated at three years of age because he wanted "to play piano". After two surgeries, his fingers were separated, and he began his music career.

Project Pursuit are comprised of a local dance duo who performed at a youth festival in Krakow last summer at World Youth Day 2016. The two women represented Canada, dancing to music by many Canadian artists.

The event begins at 2 p.m. at Holy Rosary Cathedral in Rosary Hall, 646 Richards Street. Admission is free, though donations are accepted.

For more information, click here or visit the event page.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Study finds sex-selection abortion happens in Canada

Immigrant moms from India show continued preference for boys over girls
Female immigrants from India are having more sons than daughters, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology Canada.
"It's counterintuitive," said Marcelo Urquia, a research scientist at the University of Manitoba's Centre for Health Policy and lead author of the study. "We know that the longer immigrants are in Canada, the more likely they are to align to the host country."
But Indian women in Ontario who already have two daughters are giving birth to 192 baby boys for every 100 girls. The ratio is so distorted, only sex-selective abortion can explain it. Read the rest of the article from the Globe and Mail here.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Local Eastern Rite bishop reflects on pope meeting

Bishop Nowakowski spoke on the topic of married priests

Canadian Archbishops Richard Smith of Edmonton, Alberta, Richard Gagnon of Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Bishop Kenneth Nowakowski of the Ukrainian Diocese of New Westminster, British Columbia, are pictured in front of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome March 27. The bishops were making their "ad limina" visits to the Vatican to report on the status of their dioceses. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) 
The Ukrainian Prelate of New Westminster, British Columbia, spoke with Crux about his recent meeting with the pope March 27-31. About 22 Canadian bishops participated in the meeting, discussing with the Holy Father several issues, including assisted suicide, youth, and the gathering of bishops.
"The very first words [Pope Francis] said to us were 'I understand that being a bishop is a very difficult task, and I want to thank you, and I want you to share with me what you're experiencing in your homes, and allow me to talk to you as a pastor," said Bishop Kenneth Nowakowski of the Ukrainian Diocese of New Westminster, British Columbia.
For the rest of the article, as well as Bishop Nowakowski's reflection upon the unique challenges and blessings for married priests, click here.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Case for Christ hits the big screen

New film based on book attempting to prove Jesus' existence
When B.C. Catholic reporter Agnieszka Krawczynski was studying theology, The Case for Christ was required reading.

Now, the book by atheist-turned-Christian Lee Strobel has become a feature film about a journalist with a great mustache trying to find evidence for or against the existence of Jesus. Interested? Watch the trailer here!

Friday, March 17, 2017

This 5-foot nun stands tall on the basketball court

97-year-old sister acts as team chaplain
Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt. (Photo)
Sister Jean Schmidt is the newest member of Loyola University's sports hall of fame in Chicago. She's also been the men's basketball team chaplain since 1994.

Sr. Jean has become a fixture on the Chicago campus, even getting her own bobblehead day before a game in appreciation for her service. She keeps an office in the Student Center where her door is always open, and she lives in a dorm with 400 undergraduate students, where she also serves as their chaplain.
Read more about Sister Jean here!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Pope Francis puts spotlight on Christian persecution

He asks for prayer in new video

In his prayer video for March, Pope Francis prays for persecuted Christians, asking for the prayers and aid of the whole Church toward those mistreated because of their beliefs.
“How many people are being persecuted because of their faith, forced to abandon their homes, their places of worship, their lands, their loved ones!”
The video was released March 2. Read more about the video here.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

What happened to Roe?

Woman involved in Roe v. Wade died Saturday
Norma McCorvey. (Photo)
Norma McCorvey, the Jane Roe behind the landmark pro-abortion case in the U.S., died Feb. 18. So why are pro-lifers mourning her death?

Opinion writer Melissa Clement explains:

"As I sat listening to Miss Norma, I was overwhelmed with the burden she carried.
She told her story of meeting with Sarah Weddington and the other attorneys, the Roe v Wade decision, her coming out as Roe, her strident advocacy for the legalization and normalization of abortion, her conversion to seeing the humanity of the unborn caused by the patient and loving efforts of young pro-lifers, her acceptance of Christ and her lifetime efforts to reverse a Supreme Court decision that she felt she caused."
Read the full opinion piece here.

For more about McCorvey's conversion check out this article by the Catholic News Agency.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Bishop: Iraqi Christians 'celebrated when Trump won'

Iraq prelate supports a preference for minorities fleeing genocide
Archbishop Bashar Warda of the Chaldean Archeparchy of Erbil, Iraq. (Credit)
Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil says the U.S. president's executive order, which some have criticized as a travel ban or discrimination against Muslims, actually brings "renewed hope" to persecuted minorities.
"Most Americans have no concept of what it was like to live as a Yazidi or Christian or other minority as ISIS invaded. Our people had the option to flee, to convert, or to be killed, and many were killed in the most brutal ways imaginable."
The executive order gives priority to minority refugees fleeing religious persecution. He said that is good news for persecuted Iraqis who have been hoping for help from America.
"I am happy an American president finally realizes there are Christians - and other religious minority groups - here who need help. This is an important step forward, and it means a good deal to the displaced people here. We have felt like we were forgotten by the United States until now."
While he agrees the executive order should have been clearly explained to the public, he wonders why protests against it became so heated.
"I wonder why all of these protesters were not protesting in the streets when ISIS came to kill Christians and Yazidis and other minority groups. They were not protesting when the tens of thousands of displaced Christians my archdiocese has cared for since 2014 received no financial assistance from the U.S. government or the U.N."
Calling the order a "Muslim ban" actually hurts Christians, he said. Continue reading here.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Small Alaskan community shows pro-life colours

Palmer residents host their own March for Life for first time
While massive crowds took to the streets in Washington, D.C., during the March for Life in January, a small community in Alaska decided to participate from afar for the first time.
"Each year, since Roe vs. Wade was decided, hundreds of thousands of pro-life Americans have made their way to Washington, D.C., to demand an end to abortion," a statement from the group said.

"D.C. is a long way for we Alaskans to travel, so why not stay closer to home and still share the same message: abortion is a travesty of epic proportions and it must be stopped!"
More than 300 people came out to protest abortion. More on their snowy protest here.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Pope says it is too early to judge President Trump

He tells reporters jumping to conclusions is unwise
Pope Francis talks to El Pais. (El Pais)
The Pope who has become famous for his words "who am I to judge?" is not judging the new president of the United States just yet.
"I think that we must wait and see. I don’t like to get ahead of myself, nor to judge people prematurely. We will see how he acts, what he does, and then I will form an opinion."
Pope Francis sat down for an interview with Spanish daily El Pais on Jan. 20, the day Donald Trump was sworn into office.
"Being afraid or rejoicing beforehand because of something that might happen is, in my view, quite unwise. It would be like prophets predicting calamities or windfalls that will not come to pass. We will see what he does and will judge accordingly."

Reporters asked him about a variety of other topics, too, including the refugee crisis, Vatican relations with China, and a promise Pope Francis made 25 years ago to stop watching television. Read it all here.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

New leader of Opus Dei confirmed by Pope Francis

Monsignor Fernando Brana plans for a bright yet simple future for the prelature

Spanish Msgr. Fernando Ocariz, the newly elected head of Opus Dei, is pictured during a media opportunity at the University of the Holy Cross in Rome Jan. 24. His appointment was approved the previous day by Pope Francis. (CNS photo/courtesy of Opus Dei)
The new Opus Dei head prepares for his office with a simple plan for the future.
"I have the desire that the prelature of Opus Dei continues to do the good it has done and is increasingly doing in service of the world, which is really the only thing that interests us: the good of the person. The good of the person which, in the final moment, is the encounter with Jesus Christ," Monsignor Fernando Ocariz Brana told reporters.
His nomination was formally accepted by Pope Francis Jan. 23. The Pope acted "with great affection… the affection he has for us, the hope for the work the premature does in the world," the monsignor told journalists Jan. 24.

Msgr. Brana previously acted as the vicar general of Opus Dei from 1994 to 2014, becoming the auxiliary vicar afterwards. For more information, read the Catholic News Agency article here.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Christmas celebrations filled with hope in Erbil

Liberated villagers in the Nineveh Plains gather Christian spirit
Father Luis Montes, who has lived in Iraq since 2010, stands beside a Nativity scene.  A majority of villages on the Nineveh plains have been liberated from the Islamic State, allowing them to celebrate their Christian traditions once again.
Refugees are overjoyed to hear their homes have been liberated from the Islamic State (IS), and celebrate Christmas together.
The refugees, many who live in Erbil, the capital city of semi-autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan, have lost much during their lives. "Despite everything, Iraqis have lost neither their smiles nor their hope," said Father Luis Montes, episcopal vicar of the Latin bishop for Kurdistan. He has lived in Iraq since 2010, and spoke with the international charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) about the current situation in the refugees from the Nineveh plains.
"When we received the news that IS was retreating, a spontaneous celebration broke out in the refugee camps. The people went out into the streets to dance and sing, as though they did not have any other problems in their lives," Father Montes told ACN. More than 120,000 people fled their villages from the jihadist threat, and are eager to return to their homes after more than two years away.

"Nevertheless, there is still a long way to go before the refugees can return to their homes. The region is riddled with bombs," said Father Montes. The area has been "riddled with land mines" and reports of "bombs in with children's toys" have caused further delay for the returning refugees.

Father Montes noted the mines required to be cleared up and villages restored. "Approximately 60% of the homes on the Nineveh plains were burned down," he said. "Everything still needs to be done, the people have nothing left."

Nonetheless, they are happy to hear the news of their liberated villages, and many Christian refugees living in Erbil celebrated the Christmas season in an even grander scale. The houses and streets were decorated with trees and lights, and chocolate and gifts donated from all around the world were passed around the refugee camps. "I find it quite impressive to look into the faces of the children when they see the presents," said Father Montes. "Not only because of the things in and of themselves, but because people who live very far away were thinking of them."

"They know that Christians from other countries have kept them alive."

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

First Filipino to head U.S. diocese will supervise Salt Lake City

Auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles appointed after 20-month vacancy
Pope Francis appointed Auxiliary Bishop Oscar A. Solis of Los Angeles as bishop of Salt Lake City. (Photo Credit: CNS / J.D. Long-Garcia, The Tidings)
The first Filipino bishop of the United States will become the first to head a diocese.

The Vatican announced the appointment of Bishop Oscar A. Solis as the new head of the Diocese of Salt Lake City Jan. 10. The Philippines-born bishop, who is currently an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, will be covering a 20-month vacant spot left in Salt Lake City by the previous bishop John Charles Wester, who was moved to the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, N.M. in April 2015.
Solis considered his role as the 10th bishop of Salt Lake City "a recognition of the diversity of the Church in America and the universality of the Church. I know what it means to be a pastor, a shepherd of a particular diocese," he told the L.A. diocesan newspaper Angelus News. "It is a tremendous blessing and a responsibility and a privilege to be a service to the local Church in the United States of America, coming from the Philippines."
For more information on Bishop Solis, visit Catholic News Agency's article here.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Our Lady of Perpetual Help parishioners reflect in new grotto

A Sacred Garden for The Season

Young parishioners of Our Lady of Perpetual Help gather in front of newly installed grotto. The grotto was installed for the 150th Anniversary of the icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. (Photo Credit: Kathy Mok)
First it was the rust and crimson colours of Fall and now the twinkly lights of Christmas which are beckoning parishioners and passersby alike, to stop and stay a while at the newly landscaped garden of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish. Ever since the grotto was installed for the 150th Anniversary of the Icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, the garden has become a focal point for parish celebrations.

The parish’s Advent season began with a beautiful concert by parish choirs with the theme of light. The congregation processed to the nativity scene on the lawn for an official light-up of the church and garden after the music. Children and adults were thrilled. Hot chocolate with marshmallows warmed up cold hands. It was a lovely way to begin the preparations for Christmas.

Situated on the north lawn of the church and graced by a Marian shrine, the sacred garden around the OLPH grotto is becoming a quiet attraction for adults and an irresistible place for children to run around and play. Perhaps, it’s the way the graceful figure of Our Lady gently draws all the beauty of the natural setting towards herself. The Japanese maple, so appealing all-year round but simply stunning when it turns bright crimson in the Fall, is a beautiful backdrop for the grey stone of the grotto and the white sculpture of Mary.

OLPH Pastor Fr. Babu Mathew has had a hands-on approach in creating this space. He and his confreres spent several hours digging trenches for the lighting cables over the summer.
“The idea was to create a space which would help people glorify God by simply enjoying nature …the plants, the trees, the water…all in the presence of our Blessed Mother. The idea of using hewn and polished rock is also part of the whole experience of being part of nature,” said Fr. Mathew. “This garden is part of caring for our common home, Laudato Si! It is very appropriate that we should be working on it not very long after the release of Pope Francis’ encyclical.” 
The search for rocks, shrubs and trees began in Squamish. The ground in front of the shrine was leveled and paved for easy wheelchair access. Bluestone was cut and shaped to lead the casual wanderer to the Blessed Virgin’s feet and under her gentle gaze. A variety of unusual dogwoods were planted to create a natural grove that would complement the vista of the grotto. The choice of shrubs and trees were designed to kindle the senses with colour and fragrance. The Katsura tree releases a delicate scent in the Fall. One of the Japanese maples with lovely fall foliage is called Koto no Ito which translates to “harp strings.” A perfect setting for angels.

Gardener and landscaper Deborah Trudel oversaw the planning and planting of trees and shrubs to complement the grotto.

Integral to the concept was the creation of a space intimate for private prayer but not closed off to the public. Small rhododendrons, shrubs, ferns and ground cover, contribute to the sense of peace around the gurgling water from the rock waterfall.

Said Fr. Babu Mathew, “One of the things which moves me is that this spiritual space is created by people who don’t necessarily share the same faith background we do yet they contribute in a very profound way, connecting us all at a deeper level. That alone means we are speaking to a larger community.”

What a wonderful way to bring joy to the world this Christmas season! 

For more information on the 150th anniversary, see the BC Catholic article here.
Bertilla Watanabe is a Pastoral Coordinator at OLPH Parish and a Pastoral Associate at Holy Rosary Cathedral.

12 Days of Christmas Choir

Choral and organ music to fill the halls
The Twelve Days of Christmas poster. (Photo Credit: RCAV)
The lilting tones of Christmas will be visiting three local churches this holiday season.

MOTET Chamber Choir will be performing various choral and organ music leading up to the Epiphany. The concerts will feature works from Orlando Gibbons, Sir David Willcocks, and a new carol by Thomas Hewitt Jones.

The performances will be located on Dec. 30 at 7 p.m., Sts. Joachim & Ann Church, Aldergrove, Dec. 31 at 2 p.m., Sts. Peter & Paul Church, Vancouver, and Jan. 2 at 2 p.m., at St. Hilda's Church, Sechelt.

Admission to each performance is by donation. For more information, visit MOTET's Facebook page or website.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Opus Dei leader dies at 84

Prelate of Opus Dei passes away due to lung infection
Bishop Javier Echevarria Rodriguez (centre), Prelate of Opus Dei, greets Cardinal Carlos Aguiar Retes of Tlanlnepantia, Mexico at the Vatican. Bishop Echevarria headed Opus Dei for more than 20 years before passing away in Rome. (Photo Credit: CNS Photo/Paul Haring)
Bishop Javier Echevarria Rodriguez, the Prelate of Opus Dei, died at the age of 84 in Rome Dec. 12, days after being hospitalized with pneumonia.
"I wish to make known to you and to all members of this prelature my deepest condolences," the Pope wrote Dec. 13 expressing his sympathy, "at the same time that I unite to your action of giving thanks to God for his paternal and generous witness of his priestly and episcopal life."
The late bishop was born in Madrid in 1932, where he met St. Josemaria Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei, a Catholic organization with the goal of growing spiritual health and discipleship among laity. Members of Opus Dei are taught to use their work and daily activities to encounter the Lord.

Bishop Echevarria would eventually become St. Josemaria's secretary from 1953 to 1975, and was ordained a priest of the prelature in 1955. He later became the secretary general of Opus Dei, and was elected prelate in 1994, being consecrated a bishop the following year.

Msgr. Fernando Ocariz, Bishop Echevarria's auxiliary, now controls the prelature's ordinary government. A successor will be nominated later.

For the full story, see Catholic News Agency.

Friday, December 9, 2016

New ministry starts up in the Downtown Eastside

Full-time Catholic Street Missionaries aim to serve the homeless, prostituted, and drug-addicted
Members of a new outreach gather at Westminster Abbey for a fast and pilgrimage to pray for their success. Photo submitted.
A new ministry to people living on the streets has sprung up in Vancouver. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Also newly posted:

For international stories see The B.C. Catholic website.

More guidance on euthanasia
Edmundston Bishop Claude Champagne
Atlantic Canada's Catholic bishops seem to be leaving the door open for the reception of the Last Rites and Catholic funerals for Those seeking assisted suicide or euthanasia. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Campbell River celebrates with loved hermit

Frater Charles Brandt honoured during the 50th anniversary of his ordination
It was standing room only for 93-year-old Frater Charles Brandt from Oyster River, B.C.
"Brandt, soon to turn 94, is much revered by almost everyone for his tireless work on behalf of the natural world, a world he sees as infused with divine purpose...
He’s a hermit who took a science degree, ornithology, and uses social media to distribute his stunning photographs of wild creatures — a cougar visiting his hermitage, wild swans in flight, a red-winged blackbird."
Find out more about Frater Brandt here.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Pro-life speaker creates documentary

Schadenberg motivated by lack of media coverage on the dangers of euthanasia
Alex Schadenberg holds up his newly released documentary The Euthanasia Deception, about the situation in Belgium. Josh Tng / The B.C. Catholic. Josh Tng / The B.C. Catholic.
A new documentary warns of what the future may be like with euthanasia legal. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Also newly posted:

For international stories
 see The B.C. Catholic website.


Christian organizations intervene in ski resort case
Constitutional lawyer Albertos Polizogopoulos
Two Christian organizations intervened Dec. 1 before the Supreme Court of Canada behalf of an historic Indigenous religious freedom claim. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

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