Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Travel restrictions

In light of the current travel restrictions on carry-on luggage, Julie VanSpall's Sept. 7 column on Travelling Light is worth a re-read. Not only does it apply to airline travel, but to your life journey as well.

Know of an Olympic story?

Do you have an Olympic story to tell? Is there an Olympic athlete in your family, parish or school? Is your parish taking part in the torch relay or welcoming visitors? The B.C. Catholic wants to help you to tell your Olympic stories. Please e-mail with a few details; put Olympic Stories in the subject line and The B.C. Catholic will take it from there.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A B.C. Catholic Christmas

Christmas issues of The B.C. Catholic from 1939-1960 showing the various looks of the newspaper’s masthead.

Reece's Rainbow -- an Update

In the Oct. 19 B.C. Catholic we ran an article by freelancer Paul Sanchez about Reece's Rainbow, an organization that rescues babies with Down syndrome threatened with abortion and finds loving homes for them. We told how a Vancouver Island family is the first recipient of such a child, so we're happy to provide this update. The Keno family is now spending their first Christmas with Aiden, recently arrived from Bulgaria. Shown are pictures of Aiden and his family.
Also, Paul Sanchez has written another article that might be of interest. It tells the story of an organization called Heart's Home, made up of French mission
aries, including from Canada, who work with the poor and suffering in Brooklyn, NY. What's even more special is that the missionaries comprise the full spectrum of Church vocations: an order for priests, one for nuns, and a fraternity of consecrated laypeople and lay volunteers. Take a look at the story here.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

St. Nicholas, patron saint of children

Jolly old St. Nick paid a visit to St. Luke's Parish on his feast day (December 6). The Knights of Columbus served a delicious breakfast of sausages, scrambled eggs and hash browns for parishioners after the 8:30 and 10:30 Masses.

Kids of all ages had an opportunity to have their photos taken with St. Nicholas, while Santa's little helpers distributed goody bags and Knights of Columbus colouring books.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Wrapping

As you may know, parishes in the Archdiocese of Vancouver are adding parishioners to their subscription list as the archdiocese moves toward having half of Catholic homes receiving the archbishop's paper.
One pastor, who I'll call Father Christmas, was adding names to the subscription list and decided he'd sample parishioners' views of the paper at the same time. Well, the results of the survey have landed on my desk, and it's not exactly gold, frankincense and myrrh.
There were three responses (it's a small parish), and they ranged from tepid to withering. "How about some new writers," said one parishioner, who added that certain of the newspaper's hacks, including yours truly, suffer from "an overbearing smugness, lack of humility and elitism that does nothing to bring a sense of the rich diversity of God's Vatican II Church."
The comments go on: "Did I say, joyless, humourless, self righteous, one sided reporting...?"
Now I know what the journalistic equivalent of a lump of coal is.

A Canadian Christmas Carol

Trivia question for the week before Christmas: What’s the oldest Canadian Christmas carol?
If you’re thinking it must be French, you’re on the right track. According to Wikipedia, it was Huron Carol, written by St. Jean de Brebeuf (St. John Brebeuf if you live in Abbotsford). St. Jean de Brebeuf of course was the Jesuit missionary and martyr known as the Apostle of the Hurons.
Although the Canadian Martyrs are probably Canada’s best known missionaries to Canada’s First Nations people, the first Indian of North America to publicly embrace Christianity was Grand Chief Henri Membertou of the Mi'kmaq tribe in what is today Nova Scotia. That was in 1610, 15 years before Brebeuf arrived in Canada from France, ministering to the Huron in the Great Lakes and southern Quebec.
The 400th anniversary of Chief Membertou's baptism will be commemorated by the Catholic Church, the CCAC, and the Mi'kmaq native communities in 2010.

Catholics and the World

A couple of intriguing articles about what happens when Catholics go head-to-head against influential powers of the day. The New York Times has an in-depth look at the successor, if you will, to Father Richard John Neuhaus as the Conservative-Christian Big Thinker of the day. Then, the Catholic Educator's Resource Centre has this intriguing article about scientists who go against the grain. It ranges from Galileo to global warming, and you’ll find some surprises in it.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Christmas gift for just about anyone

Need a last-minute gift or stocking stuffer? How about giving the gift of history -- the definitive history of the Church in Vancouver: TRADITIONS OF FAITH AND SERVICE: ARCHDIOCESE OF VANCOUVER 1908- 2008, by Jacqueline Gresko. The Archdiocese of Vancouver's Archives Office is having a hundredth anniversary book sale over the Christmas holidays. The cost of the history is $25 if picked up at 150 Robson St. Shipping extra if mailed or sent through school courier. Contact the Archives Office for more information: 604-683-0281, ext. 302, or

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Catholic movie, tonight only

Passing this along from Chris Radziminski. Tonight at the Empire Theatre on Granville is the final screening of "Popieluszko: Freedom is Within Us," about Polish priest Jerzy Popiełuszko (murdered by three security service agents).  Among the cast, Cardinal Józef Glemp (Primate of Poland) plays himself.  Salt & Light TV is one of the sponsors.  Trailer:  Folks went to see it last night and said it was excellent.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Bay says 'nay'

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas downtown, but something seems to be missing...what could it be...what could it be. Oh, yes, it's the life-size Nativity scene that's normally in the southeast window of The Bay on Georgia Street.
Now The Bay is understandably focussed on the upcoming Winter Olympics, so it's not a big surprise that its windows are full of Team Canada uniforms. Who can begrudge the store its title of 2010 Winter Olympic Games Superstore. Trouble is, several of the windows have humdrum, even tacky, non-Olympic displays that don't look much different than what you'd find at any other department store, complete with sparkling silver trees, and even a reindeer or two. One window has nothing but a banner. We called The Bay and asked them about the Nativity. They told us head office in Toronto tells them what to put in the windows and this year they haven't said Nativity. Head office's phone number is 1-866-746-7422, and click here to send an e-mail.
Now a visit over to the outdoor skating rink at Robson Square was a refreshing change. The busy venue was full of skaters circling the rink to the sounds of actual Christmas carols, including Away in a Manger.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sinners make the best Christmas travellers

Do you know anyone who might want to come home for Christmas?

During the Christmas season, coming home can also mean reaching out to former Catholics with an invitation to return to their spiritual family, the Church. As we renew our focus on reaching out to others, this is a time when we can extend a welcome hand to friends and family who may have drifted from their faith.

Penitential services offered throughout the Archdiocese of Vancouver make it easier to receive the sacrament of penance, no matter how long it's been since your last confession. Check the date and times of penitential services at a parish near you, when the Church pulls all the stops out to make priests available for confessions. Join hundreds of others in your parish who are availing themselves of the numerous priests who will be available and who are just longing to speak the words, "Your sins are forgiven."

For a list of reconciliation services, visit

Christmas, like Easter, is a time when offering, and accepting, an invitation to come to church is much easier. Let's not pass any opportunity up.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Bishops set up CCODP committee

An ad hoc committee of four bishops has been named to help the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace in a renewal process, reports Deborah Gyapong of Canadian Catholic News.
"The focus of the committee is to help Development and Peace to review its mandate and to see how they can adjust to the last encyclical letter of the Pope Caritas in Veritate," said the new president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) Saint-Jerome Bishop Pierre Morissette Dec. 3.
"We think that there is a lot of very helpful insight in this letter for Development and Peace."
The committe includes Calgary Bishop Fred Henry; Rimouski Archbishop Pierre-Andre Fournier; Sherbrooke Archbishop Andre Gaumond; and Toronto Auxiliary Bishop John Boissonneau.
The committee is a response to recommendations of an inquiry a bishops' delegation made last June into Internet-based allegations that CCODP was funding projects through Mexican partners who were "pro-abortion."
Though the inquiry report found no evidence any partners were directly involved in abortion, it did recommend more prudence on the part of CCODP.
Meanwhile, a
similar controversy Catholic Campaign for Human Development in the U.S., an organization similar to CCODP.

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