Friday, August 28, 2009

The Kingdom of God belongs to such as these...

This animated short film made me smile (and laugh out loud). I love the originality of the concept: a 1960s audio recording (in Ireland) combined with stories from the Bible done in animation. The young storytellers definitely steal the show.

“This series, including the original Oscar-nominated short, from Brown Bag Films is based upon the 1960s recordings of young children telling Bible stories in a classroom to their schoolteacher. When a film crew arrives at an inner city Dublin National School to record the children, the result is a warm, funny and spontaneous animated documentary, featuring young children telling the story of John the Baptist, The birth of Jesus, the Crucifixion, Saint Patrick and others. Give Up Yer Aul Sins combines simple humour with clever animation to create films with a timeless quality and appeal to a family audience. Give Up Yer Aul Sins has screened in almost 50 film festivals, including The Galway Film Fleadh (where it won Best Animation), Cork Film Festival (Best Irish and Best International Animation), Cartoons on Bay (Special Award for Original Idea), NewYork Comedy Festival, Boston Irish Film Festival, Aspen Film Festival and Cannes Film Festival.” - monsterdistributes on YouTube. Hat tip to the Aggie Catholics blog.

Give Up Yer Aul Sins

John the Baptist:

The Annunciation, Visitation and birth of John the Baptist:

The Birth of Jesus:

The Story of Lazarus:

Making the Blind See:

The Death of Jesus:

The Story of St. Patrick:

'We forgive you'

When Kamloops Bishop David Monroe recently met with survivors of Indian Residential Schools, he wasn't entirely sure what would result. Two Indian Residential Schools (St. Joseph's, Williams Lake, and Kamloops IRS) had operated in his diocese. He went, and he was forthright.
"As Bishop I can say that I am sorry for any harm that's been done."
The response from the natives: "We forgive you."
Bishop Monroe noted that in spite of the residential schools he has never felt rejected by former students: "I thank you for that."
The legacy of the Indian Residential Schools has been a sad and troubling one, but it's also been an incomplete one.
There are positive stories that came out of those times, and some of those stories are now starting to be told.
In a column, Vancouver Sun religion writer Douglas Todd discusses the mutual respect that aboriginals and churches are sharing these days in the run up to the the work of the national Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
He reports the findings of Canadian religion sociologist Reginald Bibby, who finds that Canada's natives are quite forgiving toward the Christian Church. In fact, churches often are a big part of native life, and levels of support for Christianity and Catholicism among natives are actually higher than in some segments of the Canadian population.
See next week's B.C. Catholic for a full report on the Kamloops gathering.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Attention Catholic pet owners

I'm not sure if the above headline refers to Catholic pets or Catholic pet owners, but regardless, Felix and Fido's big day is coming up, the annual blessing of pets on the Feast of St. Francis, Oct. 4.
You might be interested in knowing that compiles an annual list of animal blessing services around the U.S. and Canada. (The Canada part is more wishful than actual . . . there aren't any Canadian listings yet.)
Organizers are asking for help finding out where pet blessings are taking place in B.C. They need to have the organization’s (church, school, etc.) name; street address; city and province; date and time of the blessing service; a phone number including area code; the name of a contact person; and any additional in
formation that might be important for someone going to that location to know.
Their fax number is 513-241-0399 and their email is The information that they receive will be available on the website beginning in mid-September. Visitors will be able to go directly to the pet blessing listings to check for services.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

B.C. Evangelicals like encyclical

Dr. Jonathan S. Raymond
The Pope's new encyclical on social justice is getting a warm welcome, including from some local Protestants. Academics at Trinity Western University in Langley, which the Catholic Redeemer Pacific College is affiliated with, are among the signatories to an Aug. 18 letter signed by 68 leaders from academia, para-church organizations, magazines and think tanks. The local signatories include Trinity Western University’s Laurentian Leadership Centre director Janet Epp Buckingham; Michael W. Goheen, Geneva Professor of Worldview and Religious Studies; and Trinity Western University President Jonathan S. Raymond (above). Also signing was Paul Williams, David Brown Family Chair of Marketplace Theology and Leadership at Regent College in Vancouver.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Fasting, the secular way

Many Catholics consider it a challenge to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. When you consider what prisoners in Canada’s prisons do each year for Prisoners Justice Day, however, we might want to rethink how hard we have it.

There’s none of our “two small meals that together are less than the main meal, which can’t include meat.” Inmates in Canada go on a total fast from midnight to midnight, every Aug. 10.

Their fast is a secular one, in memory of prisoners who have lost their lives in the prison system.

I spoke with one inmate at a local institution who talked about the prisoners of the past whose sacrifice helped to bring about the comparatively civilized system they have today.

The respect the inmates have for those who died a generation ago brings to mind the honour we have for the saints who witnessed the faith in their lives and deaths. “I just do the thing with no eating because I honour it, for the guys who gave their lives for us, so we can have things like TVs and microwaves on the unit and stuff like that.”

The temptation to eat on Justice Day must be extraordinary. The prison kitchens serve up the food as usual. The prisoners simply don’t eat it, and they abstain without the spiritual graces that aid us in fasting. (Although they're no doubt assisted by the threat of violence from other inmates should anyone be so foolhardy as to break the fast.)

Perhaps the prisoners could benefit from a devotion to St. Lawrence. Not only is his feast day Aug. 10, but he’s also the patron saint of cooks.

Meantime, let’s keep prisoners in our prayers. “For I was in prison and you visited me.” Matthew 25:16.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Right to die, or duty to die?

The moral objections to euthanasia are obvious -- no one has the right to deliberately end innocent human life. But the practical worries are pretty persuasive too.

Euthanasia, assisted suicide, death with dignity . . . call it what you will, “The so-called ‘right to die’ often becomes a ‘duty to die,’” Michele Boulva of the Canadian bishops office of life and family told Canadian Catholic News Ottawa bureau chief Deborah Gyapong. See her full article here.

That's why the bishops are urging Catholics to prepare for the upcoming battle against euthanasia and assisted-suicide.

For the third time, Bloc Quebecois MP Francine Lalonde has introduced a private member’s bill that would amend the Criminal Code to make assisted-suicide and euthanasia legal in Canada. The bill could be dealt with as soon as this fall.

Please use the summer break, when MPs are in their ridings, to express your concern about Bill C-384.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Largest annual event in the archdiocese -- Mission, Aug. 15

What's the largest archdiocesan event of the year? No, it's not the return of The B.C. Catholic from our summer break. It's the annual Pilgrimage to Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto in Mission, and thousands will be attending from across B.C. and beyond.

This summer's pilgrimage will be Saturday, Aug. 15. The day begins with outdoor confessions at 11 a.m., followed by Mass at 1 p.m. offered by Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB.

At 2:30 p.m. there will be a procession up the hill from the Mass site to the grotto, followed by the Rosary and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. After that there'll be a picnic.

The apparitions at Lourdes, France, began in 1858. Before his death in 1890 Bishop Louis-Joseph d'Herbomez, OMI, then Bishop of Vancouver but born in France, requested that a grotto to Our Lady of Lourdes be built in Mission. He said the rocky area reminded him of the caverns in Lourdes and was one of his favourite places.

Bishop d'Herbomez's wish was completed in 1892.

It's a magnificent annual family event. Bring water, umbrellas (rain or shine), lawn chairs or blankets, and food and make a great day of it.

Here's how to get there.

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