Friday, April 30, 2010

Vocations labyrinth: the 2nd installment!

Last month, The B.C. Catholic launched a six-month spiritual journey we entitled The Vocation Labyrinth. Each week, Vocations Director Father Hien Nguyen will blog his response to each of the 23 vocations questions. Here is his second entry -- Paul Schratz.

When does one’s vocation start?
We have heard people say, “my vocation started when I was in Grade 2,” or “God called me when I was in high school,” or “I knew my vocation during the college years,” or “I am a late vocation.” These statements are true only if we put them in the right context.
To understand correctly when one’s vocation starts, we need to make the distinction between God, Who actively calls, and we, who passively receive or hear the call.
When God calls it is eternal. There is no timeline that applies to God because time is the measurement of change and God does not change. God calls us perpetually: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations." Jer. 1:5. “Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands” Is. 49:16. It is a profound mystery to realize that God already knew us before we existed biologically through our parents. He has consecrated us to be His own and willed us to live out our mission and purpose. Our vocation originates from God’s intention for us to partake in His divine life, and this is also the beginning of our calling.
When we receive or hear the call can vary. Some hear the call at a very young age and others at a later year. We have to remember that this is not when God is calling us but rather when we recognize and answer the call.
There are people who for different reasons cannot distinguish the call, or are confused about it and take longer to detect it. Samuel is a good example of this. After the Lord has called Samuel two times, he thought it was Eli who called and so responded to Eli. However, when the Lord “called Samuel again for the third time, he arose and went to Eli and said, ‘here I am, for you called me.’ Then Eli discerned that the LORD was calling the boy. And Eli said to Samuel, ‘go lie down, and it shall be if He calls you, that you shall say, 'Speak, LORD, for Your servant is listening.'" So Samuel went and lay down in his place. Then the LORD came and stood and called as at other times, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ And Samuel said, ‘Speak, for your servant is listening,’” 1 Sam. 3:8-10.
There are others who perceive the call very clearly at a young age. One of the saints who received this privilege is Therese of Lisieux. At the age of 9, she was already given the special grace to begin to see God’s plan for her.
If you have a comment or a question, please drop me a note and I will be happy to write you a response.
Next week we will discuss Step 3 of the labyrinth: Can you list different kinds of vocations? Please ask yourself this question through next week and I will post my comment at the end of the week.
God bless,
Fr. Hien Nguyen

Monday, April 26, 2010

CCODP looking for input

The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace is taking steps to ensure it hears from its members prior to a major national orientation assembly taking place June 19. Orientation assemblies take place every few years to discuss issues that are at the heart of its work, CCODP says in a statement, including "the challenges of international development and the impact of public awareness campaigns." Presumably that includes last year's well publicized controversy about partner agencies whose respect for life in the womb is non-existent. Delegates representing CCODP members from every part of Canada will be able to post notes and comments on the new blog, and the 12,000 CCODP members will be able to post their own comments and reactions to the issues being discussed. The address of the orientation assembly’s bilingual blog is: The last CCODP orientation assembly was in 2006.

The abuse crisis and the facts

Prof. Thomas Plante is a professor of psychology and director of the spirituality and health institute at Santa Clara University in California, and for 20 years he has helped screen applicants for the priesthood. In an interview with Roy Green on CKNW, Plante puts the sexual abuse crisis in perspective, acknowledging where the Church must do better, but also pointing out where misconceptions exist as well. Visit CKNW's Audio Vault of April 18 at 1 p.m. The interview comes right after the news at the top of the hour. (Note, Audio Vault content is only archived for 30 days.)

An archbishop invites people to ask him anything

What's the definition of courage these days? An archbishop walking into a public place with a sign that reads "I'm a Roman Catholic Archbishop: Ask me anything." And that's exactly what Archbishop Martin Currie of St. John's, Nfld., does on the "Ask Me Anything" segment of CBC's Connect with Mark Kelly show. You can watch it here.

Pope Pius XII: history comes to his defence

If you've been following the case of Pope Pius XII and efforts to slander him for not doing enough to save persecuted Jews during the Second World War, you'll want to check out this article in the March 10 New American. It's a solid account of his work and attempts to smear him that began in the 1960s. After several years during which the popular viewpoint was that the Pope didn't do enough to come to the aid of Jews during the Holocaust, the scale is now tipping -- heavily -- in his favour.

Friday, April 23, 2010

What's happening around the Archdiocese of Vancouver

In the next week alone, the Archdiocese of Vancouver will host an exorcist, a Catholic evangelist who walked across the U.S. with a cross on his shoulders, a talk about the Pope's latest encyclical, a concert of international folk music, a marriage-strengthening workshop, the archbishop's annual Mass for Life . . . and that's just the start. There are so many talks, fundraisers, dances, meals, and charitable opportunities around the archdiocese that The Busy Catholic can't keep up with them all. Fortunately, the archdiocesan website can. Check out the archdiocesan calendar of events regularly to find events that are sure to interest you. And subscribe to the Friday Report to have the latest updates e-mailed to you weekly.

The exorcist comes to Vancouver

Father Rufus Pereira is the exorcist of Mumbai, India, and he's here for several days, celebrating Mass and praying with individuals for healing and deliverance. He'll be at St. Mary's, Vancouver, Sunday April 25 and Monday April 26. Then he's at Sacred Heart in Ladner (Delta) Wednesday April 28 and Thursday April 29. Finally he's at St. Luke's in Maple Ridge on Friday April 30, and Saturday May 1. All the evenings start with Mass at 7 p.m. Father Pereira was vice-president of the International Association of Exorcists and initiated the International Association for the Ministry of Deliverance. For more info visit

Used bikes wanted

If you have an old bike you're not using, the Knights of Columbus in North Vancouver would love to get their hands on it. Holy Cross Council 5423 is having a used bicycle drive Saturday. Think of it as Spring Cleaning meets Earth Day. You get rid of something that's just lying around, and they find a good home for it. Drop by at North Shore Mountain Equipment Co-op at 1341 Main Street, North Vancouver, Saturday, April 24 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Bicycles, parts and accessories in reusable condition will be accepted on behalf of PEDAL and AMS Bike Co-op, two local non-profit organizations that will recondition them for free bike programs in the Vancouver area.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Vocations labyrinth: the first installment!

In the April 19 B.C. Catholic, we launched our six-month spiritual journey we entitled The Vocation Labyrinth. Each week, Vocations Director Father Hien Nguyen will blog his response to each of the 23 vocations questions. Here is his first entry -- Paul Schratz.

What is Vocation?
Vocation derives from the Latin and means a calling – a summons from God to His creatures to respond to His plan for them.
Vocations can be divided into two categories: primary vocation and secondary vocation.
Primary vocation is the most important and universal call from the Father, who, “by a free and hidden plan of His own wisdom and goodness, created the whole world. His plan was to raise men to a participation of the divine life. Fallen in Adam, God the Father did not leave men to themselves, but ceaselessly offered helps to salvation, in view of Christ, the Redeemer who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature. All the elect, before time began, the Father foreknew and pre- destined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that he should be the firstborn among many brethren.” (Lumen Gentium Ch I, #2.)
Therefore regardless of who we are – single or married, religious or lay faithful – all are called primarily to a participation of our lives in the Trinity.
Secondary vocation, although less important than the first, is also a call from God. In this secondary call, we are invited by God to live a single or married life here on earth to respond to the first call which is the participation in the divine life.
From the single state of life we have different types: consecrated, religious men and women, priest, and single.
The other state of life is married.
It is important to note that no matter what state of lives we choose to live, single or married, we are responsible to partake in God’s life and His salvation plan for us.
For example, a priest – a secondary vocation – lives the priestly life to respond to the primary vocation, a call to live eternally with God.
A religious sister or brother – a secondary vocation – lives the consecrated life in responding to the primary call, to participate in the divine life.
A married couple – a secondary vocation - live as husband and wife and parent to respond to the first call that is to share their lives in God’s.
Next week we will discuss Step 2 of the labyrinth: When does one’s vocation start? Please ask yourself this question through the coming week and I will post my comment at the end of the week.
God bless,
Fr. Hien Nguyen

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

St. Mark's to honour Margaret Somerville

Dr. Margaret Somerville, a renowned ethicist and scholar based at McGill University in Montreal, will receive a Doctor of Sacred Letters (honoris causa) from St. Mark's College at this year's convocation ceremonies at 2 p.m. on May 2 in St. Mark's College Chapel. The honorary degree will be conferred by Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, Chancellor of St. Mark's. Watch for coverage in next week's B.C. Catholic Newspaper.

Monday, April 19, 2010

An adult store meets its match

Question: What do you get when you cross an adult store and a Catholic bookstore? Answer: A Catholic bookstore. A "wee small miracle" took place in Coquitlam say the folks at Joyful Noise Books & Gifts when they had their front lawn transformed courtesy of some generous friends. No sooner was the front yard work started and the cross in place than the adult store next door closed its doors, packed up and moved away.

Joyful Noise before (above) and after (below)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Knights launch novena for Pope

Knights of Columbus are being encouraged to join in a special novena for Pope Benedict XVI. although the novena began on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 11, to conclude next Monday, the fifth anniversary of the Holy Father’s election in 2005, there's nothing preventing anyone from starting the novena today and finishing it after nine days. The novena, which can be found here, calls on the faithful to "pray for the Pope and for his pastoral mission, asking God to protect, strengthen and uplift our beloved Holy Father at this time of considerable challenge." The Knights website also has a selection of articles putting much of the current news in an accurate context.

The myth of Vatican secrecy

With the Pope in the news, it was time for the CBC to dust of the Vatican sexposé it’s had on hand since 2006. By my count, this is at least the third time the “timely and revelatory documentary” Sex Crimes and the Vatican has been broadcast, without any updating or new context. One of its assertions is that Rome used the document Crimen sollicitationis to hush up allegations of sex abuse by priests. This allegation, which has been around for years, is like an urban legend that won't go away. It's been thoroughly discredited -- as far back as 2003 and still today. Presumably it keeps hanging around because it helps drive the narrative of the Vatican as an international criminal conspiracy agency.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Mass tonight at Holy Rosary cathedral for Polish victims

Mass will be offered tonight at Holy Rosary Cathedral for the victims of the Polish plane crash and the people of Poland. The crash last Saturday claimed the lives of President Lech Kaczynski (left), the first lady and many of Poland's top military and civilian leaders. Cathedral rector Father Glen Dion will say the Mass at 7 p.m. All are welcome.

The media and Pope Benedict

"Don't shoot the messenger," the mainstream media are fond of saying. "We don't make the news, we just report it." It's true that blaming the press for your problems is usually an exercise in futility and a recipe for even more concentrated attacks. There's nothing wrong, however, in asking them to at least get the message straight. Here are some noble attempts from the Catholic press to tell the MSM that their zeal for a juicy story is getting in the way of a few things, such as facts. These responses come from the Catholic left, right, and centre.

Happy Anniversary, Pope Benedict!

Monday is Pope Benedict XVI's fifth anniversary as Pontiff, and the Archdiocese of Vancouver will mark the occasion at this weekend's Masses. Archbishop Miller is asking parishes to print in their bulletins the following prayer from the Sacramentary to commemorate this important occasion in the life of the Church: “God our Father, shepherd and guide, look with love on Benedict, our servant, the pastor of your Church. May his word and example inspire and guide the Church, and may he, and all those entrusted to his care, come to the joy of everlasting life. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.” Parishes are also encouraged to say the prayer at a suitable time in the liturgy. Archbishop Miller will say Mass on Monday at 12:10 p.m. at Holy Rosary Cathedral to commemorate the anniversary.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Happy Divine Mercy Sunday

Everyone knows about last year's Miracle on the Hudson, the airliner that ditched into New York's Hudson River. Many have not heard about the personal miracle of one of the passengers, Fred Beretta, and the Divine Mercy connection. And for more about this important day, visit the Divine Mercy web site's explanation of Divine Mercy Sunday.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Stations of the Cross

Chris Radziminski, formerly of the Office of Service and Justice for the Archdiocese of Vancouver, is currently in Argentina where he sends this item:
"Happy Easter and blessings to you and your families this Holy Week!
"I ran across this sad story of Palestinian Christians being denied entry to celebrate Easter:
"It's a lot different here in Argentina! I'm in Mar del Plata and yesterday a few thousand people led by the Bishop conducted the Stations of the Cross through the city streets, with the Cathedral orchestra being broadcast via Radio Maria to the procession by trucks with speakers.

Euthanasia in Oregon: so much for the pain argument

Euthanasia trivia time: since Oregon approved euthanasia in 1994, what percentage of requests for "assisted death" were for untreatable pain? Answer: Zero. That's right. Even though fear of unbearable pain is one of the chief reasons people support euthanasia, patients actually get euthanized for reasons such as loneliness and not wanting to be a burden on others. This letter from an Oregon doctor to his Canadian neighbours is very persuasive: the Oregon system is not a road British Columbia should venture down.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Good Friday: Is seal flipper meat or fish?

In St. John's, Nfld., the Benevolent Irish Society is raising a thorny theological issue: whether seal flipper is meat or fish. It's an important question because tomorrow, Good Friday, the 204-year-old Irish fraternal organization is putting “flipper pie” on its menu. Good Friday is the day Catholics and others Christians commemorate Jesus's death on the cross. It's a day to fast and abstain from eating meat. So the society is serving cod, salmon, and a seafood platter. As for the seal flipper pie, the fact the society has already put the item on its menu suggests it has some pretty convincing doctrinal evidence in support of its decision, and indeed it does: According to the Archives of the Archdiocese of St. John's, research at the Memorial University Folklore and Language Archives indicates flippers are classed as fish. Apparently in Newfoundland Catholics have been permitted to eat “flipper pie” during Lent which coincided with the seal-hunt. Local legend says a Pope, through the local bishop, once declared the seal to be a fish so that during Lent and on meatless Fridays, starving Roman Catholics had a better chance to preserve both body and soul.

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