Friday, May 28, 2010

Priests on the move

The new pastoral appointments are out. Check here to see who's where in the Archdiocese of Vancouver.

What the iPad means to newspapers, computers, and everything else

Here's a thought-provoking article from John McWade, who created Aldus PageMaker before it was bought by Adobe. He’s still considered the uber-guru of publication design. He publishes the premier design magazine Before & After – which is a must-have for designers. I read mine “religiously.” And while the article is good, go down to the comments. They’re very insightful and something to look at going forward when we think of publishing any publication or materials.

Canadian bishops welcoming comment

Canada’s Catholic bishops have launched a new, interactive website that includes video, a bishops blog area, and a feature to allow visitors to leave comments. The site was launched in response to Pope Benedict XVI's invitation to priests for 44th World Communications Day to “make astute use of the unique possibilities offered by modern communications.” In an interview with Deborah Gyapong of Canadian Catholic News, CCCB vice-president Archbishop Richard Smith acknowledged the bishops could leave themselves open to critical comments about the clergy abuse scandal. “We do not and cannot run from that issue,” the Edmonton archbishop said. “People need to talk about it. In the past a culture of silence has allowed this scourge to fester. We need to talk.” Bishops' blogs from across the country will be featured on the site's blog area.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Cardinal Ouellet proposes opening abortion debate

Cardinal Marc Ouellet held a news conference today in Ottawa to clarify remarks that got him in trouble last week -- not that anything should have needed clarifying if reporters had considered the total context of his remarks before writing their stories. Sadly, in this age when communications has never been easier, accurate communications might be more difficult than ever. Anyway, he called today for a reopening of the abortion debate in Canada. And before it gets reported that the issue has long been settled in this country, polled Canadians beg to differ.

Father Thomas Shiel has died

The funeral Mass for Father Thomas C. Shiel will be celebrated at 10 a.m. on Monday, May 31, at Holy Rosary Cathedral. The Rosary will be prayed at 9:30 a.m., prior to the Mass. Father Shiel died Thursday, May 20, at Vancouver General Hospital. Watch for coverage in The B.C. Catholic.

Cardinal Ouellet press conference live on Web TV

As I write this, a press conference is begin given by Cardinal Marc Ouellet and Archbishop of Ottawa Terrence Prendergast regarding the remarks that followed Oullet's abortion comments last week. The conference is being broadcast live on It's also being carried by CBC TV with simultaneous translation.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Vocations labyrinth: the 5th installment!

The B.C. Catholic and the Archdiocese of Vancouver Vocations Office are presenting a six-month spiritual journey entitled The Vocation Labyrinth. Each week, Vocations Director Father Hien Nguyen blogs his response to one of 23 vocations questions. Here is his fifth entry -- Paul Schratz.

How do I know my vocation?
Knowing our vocation requires us to carefully discern, and it is a lengthy process. We can go through many different stages of our life before hearing
God’s call and follow afterward with an extensive respond through the process. I will touch on different stages of discernment later when we go deeper into the labyrinth. Here, I would like to discuss the principal stage –
what we need to do to have a foundation that allows us to discern a vocation.
To know a vocation, we need to be “silent.” It is not in the “earthquake, or the strong wind, or the fire, but the still and gentle breeze” that the Lord speaks (1King 19:11-13). The “silence” consists of different aspects: physical silence and spiritual silence.
Physical silence involves us to develop a quiet and peaceful environment. If we are constantly surrounded by noise, how can we hear God? Some of us have our radio or TV on at all times, in the house and in the car. Our young people constantly plug in with their IPods and Mp3s. Another kind of noise is distraction: TV, the Internet, Facebook, games, or the pursuit of material goods, fame, success, and achievements. These deter us from hearing God’s call.
Spiritual silence is the interior silence, the fruit of our communion with God, others and self. To acquire interior silence, we must be free from sins – the obstacles that separate us from God and the interior noises that dissuade us from his love.
God’s graces continue to assist us to live in communion with Him. They liberate us and give us the heart of peace to come to the Lord to pray, talk, thank, praise, and listen.
We communicate to God through Scripture. We participate in God’s life through the sacraments we receive. There is no other way to know our vocation than to have our lives in communion with His.
We also need to be reconciled with our fellow men, and dispense God’s mercy that we have received to those who have offended us. We have to have the humility to look within and come to the realization of the need for conversion.
Please consider making sacrifices and self-denial to preserve time for God. We cannot comprehend God’s purpose and intention for us if we do not know how to pray and listen to Him. This is the basic foundation to discern our vocation. There are many other areas that would contribute and assist us to know our vocations. We will go through these steps through the journey in the vocation labyrinth.
For this week please contemplate on “how do I follow my vocation?”
God bless,
Fr. Hien Nguyen

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Raquel Welch takes aim at the Pill

It's the 50th anniversary of the birth control pill, and most of the media coverage has treated it like the Apollo moon landing. A refreshing contrast comes from actress and sex symbol Raquel Welch, who aptly puts her finger on oral contraception as a primary cause of the decline of marriage. While her article for CNN's retrospective on the Pill isn't quite the Catechism of the Catholic Church, she does offer personal insight on why the "miracle breakthrough" of 50 years ago has a lot to do with the ethical carnage we're dealing with today. Apparently Welch's new book takes a similar traditional approach toward marriage.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Stranded LFA students: just a misunderstanding

According to Coast Mountain Bus Company, stories of Little Flower Academy students being bypassed, evicted from buses, and yelled at were all a misunderstanding. In a press release, Coast Mountain president Denis Clements explains it wasn't a case of bus drivers taking political action against the girls because of the recent lesbian teacher controversy at the school. And it wasn't a matter of several drivers behaving poorly on routes all over town. It was simply one driver who was frustrated about perpetually full buses and who responded by making some bad decisions. The company has spoken to him about his behaviour and they're even considering putting an additional bus on the route to show their good faith. So you see, everything's fine.

Cardinal Ouellet attacked for being pro-life

Montreal's La Presse newspaper is being called on by the Catholic Civil Rights League to distance itself from the venom spewed by columnist Patrick Lagace in his column about Quebec Cardinal Marc Ouellet. On Tuesday Lagace wrote that he hoped Cardinal
Ouellet, archbishop of Quebec and Catholic Primate of Canada, would “die a slow and painful death” for his recent remarks about abortion. What exactly did Cardinal Ouellet say? Nothing that can't be found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Addressing a pro-life rally last week, he affirmed Church teaching that life begins at conception and that abortion is wrong even in cases of rape. Federal and provincial politicians have denounced the cardinal, and Lagace called him an extremist. For a more rational perspective, visit The National Post's religious blog The Holy Post.

Lilith Fair sales mercifully low

It seems the abortion-friendly Lilith Fair is experiencing "soft ticket sales." Perhaps people realize they don't need to spend their hard-earned money on an event that supports the culture of death. The fair, which has raised millions of dollars for "women's charities" such as Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion organizations, will make several Canadian stops this year, including Pitt Meadows July 1. The Lilith lineup includes a host of abortion rights- supporting entertainers, including headliners Sarah McLachlan and Sheryl Crow. How sad that Sarah's compassion toward living things doesn't extend to unborn humans.

B.C. Catholic wins nine Canadian Church Press awards

At the Canadian Church Press conference in Toronto Friday The B.C. Catholic won nine newspaper awards. Our May 31 issue will have full coverage.

First Place
  • News Story
  • Front Page
Second Place
  • Feature Layout and Design
  • Colour Photo
  • In-Depth Treatment of a News Event
  • Biographical Profile
  • Column Writing
Third Place
  • Overall General Excellence
  • Editorial

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Archdiocese of Vancouver skin for Firefox

If you're a Firefox user, you might want to customize your homepage a little with a taste of the Archdiocese of Vancouver thanks to the new RCAV Firefox skin. You can download it here. Looking for something a little different? Keep watching, there will more coming.

Vocations labyrinth: the 3rd and 4th installments!

The B.C. Catholic and the Archdiocese of Vancouver Vocations Office are presenting a six-month spiritual journey entitled The Vocation Labyrinth. Each week, Vocations Director Father Hien Nguyen blogs his response to one of 23 vocations questions. Here are his third and fourth entries -- Paul Schratz.

What are the different kinds of vocations?

In Step 1 of the labyrinth, I shared with you the meaning of vocations and differentiated the calls and their priority. If you remember, we touched on primary vocation and secondary vocation.

Primary vocation is the invitation from God to partake in His life and love. Secondary vocation is our state of life here on earth responding to the first call. In this secondary vocation or state of life we can be married or single, and here is where I would like to explore with you in fuller details of each secondary calling and how each can respond and fulfill the primary vocation.

In marriage the couple makes their commitment to give themselves to each other for the rest of their earthly life. In this exclusive state of life that they choose to live and love each other, God continues to be the ultimate source of their union.

Their state of married life is the symbol and an expression of the covenant God has for His chosen people and Christ for his Church. In this secondary vocation of marriage, the couple is living out this state of life through their union, and the consummation of this love with God’s will is the fruit of their children.

To fulfill their secondary vocation in marriage so that they can respond to the primary vocation – a participation in the divine life and love – each spouse needs to love the other faithfully and raise their children responsibly in loving and knowing God.

Their fidelity as spouse, their responsibility as husband and wife, and their sacrificial love as parents are ways of living out their secondary vocation to lead their family closer to God and His life, which is the primary vocation.

In the other secondary vocation, single life, we have different categories of single: priest, religious, consecrated virgin, single, etc. Let us take religious life as an example of the single category.

A religious man – a secondary vocation – commits himself to God and sets aside his life for the sake of the kingdom. Thus, he is a sign and a pointer showing people the way to the kingdom.

His life of celibacy, poverty, and obedience is an anticipation of what is to come in the life with God. We can say a religious is trying to live her/his life with God in heaven here on earth. He recognizes that the primary vocation – a participation in God’s life and love – is above everything that can be offered in this earthly life, and so dedicates his entire state of single life (secondary vocation) to the primary vocation.

What is the difference between vocation and occupation?

A vocation is totally different from an occupation. An occupation is a job that helps a person to make a living whereas a vocation is a life the person lives.

Let’s take as an example your parents. Their vocation is the married life, but their jobs – an essential part of their lives – are what they do to make money to support the family. A pilot, a police officer, a doctor, etc., belongs to the mother or father, as an adjective to a noun, an accident to a substance, or an occupation to a vocation.

My parents, who live a secondary vocation of marriage, have many different jobs in their lives. Part of their vocation is to feed us, to change diapers, to educate us in the faith and life, etc. My secondary vocation is a priest and part of my vocation is to celebrate Mass, anoint the sick, baptize, bring God’s forgiveness and mercy to sinners, etc. However, as for my job, I can be working at the office at the chancery to recruit more men and women to enter the life of the priesthood or consecrated life.

I hope these explanations will give you some clarity in your discerning and help you distinguish the priority of vocations and what predicates to them.

Feel free to leave me a comment or a question and I will be happy to help you find the answer.

I apologize to those who were looking for the 3rd instalment last week. I put together both Steps 3 and 4 since they support each other. Until next week please contemplate on “how can I hear my call / vocation?”

God bless,

Fr. Hien Nguyen

Monday, May 17, 2010

Triple ordination at Vancouver cathedral

Three deacons will be ordained to the priesthood Saturday, May 22, at Holy Rosary Cathedral, and all are welcome to attend.
Christ the King Seminarians Swann Kim, Edwin Kulling, and Rodney Nootebos will receive the sacrament of holy orders from Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, at 10 a.m. Full B.C. Catholic story and link to supporting seminarians can be
found here.

Hospitals block abortion statistics

B.C. pro-lifer Ted Gerk's campaign to find out how many abortions are performed in B.C. is getting some resistance from hospitals trying to keep the numbers secret. The Globe and Mail's story on his efforts to get the numbers released shows just how false is the idea that abortion is just another medical service. If it were, there wouldn't be such fear over letting the public know how many of these "procedures" they're paying for.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Don't count out Babies!

Saw a few scenes from Babies, the new documentary on, what else, babies. It looked absolutely charming. Then I read a review of it that suggested giving it a pass unless you want to watch clips of babies for the entire length of the film. Hmm. That didn't sound too exciting. Now I come across a review by Catholic film critic Steven D. Greydanus, whose views I have a lot of respect for. In his review Don't Count Out Babies!, he says, "Everyone should see Babies. Even people who have cats instead of children should see Babies." Simply put, Babies is a "celebration of new life, of love, of family, of the wonder of the world." Count me in!

Pro-lifers gathering at legislature in Victoria Thursday

Do you find it strange hearing complaints about this human rights violation and that one, when the human rights violation that matters most -- against human life -- gets no attention? That changes tomorrow when pro-life British Columbians from around the province march to the B.C. legislature in the 3rd Annual March for Life BC in Victoria. All the info you need for the event, entitled "LIFE, THE FIRST HUMAN RIGHT” is here.

Modesty for Christ fashion show

Coming to St. Ann's Parish in Abbotsford May 29 is a fashion event aimed at showing girls how to wear the latest fashions yet maintain a modest appearance. It kicks off at 6:30 p.m. with a dinner and entertainment by Fraser Valley songbird Brook Harris. Tickets available at 604-852-5602. More information in an upcoming B.C. Catholic.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Marian Movement of Priests cenacle tonight

On May 8, 1972, Father Stefano Gobbi, a priest from Milan, Italy, was taking part in a pilgrimage to Fatima. While praying in the Chapel of the Apparitions for some priests who, besides having given up their own vocations, were attempting to form an association in rebellion against the authority of the Roman Catholic Church, an interior voice urged Fr. Gobbi to have confidence in the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In July 1973, Fr. Gobbi began to write down these interior locutions which he was receiving. The messages, dating from July 1973 to December 1997, are published in the book, "To the Priests, Our Lady's Beloved Sons." This led to the formation of the Marian Movement of Priests, which has grown throughout the world. Worldwide membership of the MMP is now at least 400 cardinals and bishops, more than 100,000 priests, and millions of religious and faithful around the world. Tonight, Monday, May 10, at St. Patrick’s in Vancouver, 2881 Main St., you are invited to attend the annual regional cenacle with Father Francis Geremia. It starts with Mass at 7:30 p.m. followed by adoration with cenacle prayers and refreshments. Phone 604-787-0902 for more information.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Catholic journalist takes a run at politics

Regular B.C. Catholic readers likely know Terry O'Neill. He's a frequent contributor whose journalistic resume is almost as long as his Catholic pedigree. He has written for the National Catholic Register, the Interim, and Catholic Insight, hosted RoadKill Radio, was editor of B.C. Report magazine and was senior writer of the Western Standard. He's active at St. Joseph's Parish in Port Moody, chairing the finance committee, organizing life-affirming events like the Easter Flower distribution, singing in the church choir for 17 years, and serving as a lector for almost as long. He used to be vice-chair of the education committee at Archbishop Carney secondary and sits on the boards of the Coquitlam Foundation and of Signal Hill. Clearly the guy has too much time on his hands, so now he's running for Coquitlam City council in the May 15 by-election. We try to stay out of partisan politics here at The Busy Catholic, but if you want to find out more about Terry's campaign you can check him out here.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Abuse poll was flawed

Remember that poll from a couple of weeks ago that said more than two million Canadians know someone who has been abused by a priest? We dutifully reported it, but there seemed something curious about the figures. When so few clergy have actually been involved in abuse, the numbers just didn’t seem to ring true. Even the pollsters admitted they were astonished by the numbers. Well it turns out there was good reason to be astonished. The poll didn’t meet the most elementary standards of poll-writing, as sociologist Reginald Bibby points out.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Prayers offered for Hollywood

Can Hollywood be transformed into Holywood? Christian Churches and Ministries in the Los Angeles area hope so as they partner today to pray for those who work in the media and entertainment fields. It’s the National Day of Prayer in the U.S. (possibly the last one) and Christian media watchers are invoking God’s blessing on His people, particularly in the City of Angels. Since Vancouver is Hollywood North, it seems fitting to offer up prayers for our domestic film industry and media. Thou shalt make better movies.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

New missal approved

It's been a long time coming, and now the Vatican has given its "recognitio," or confirmation, of the new English translation of the Roman Missal. The new Roman Missal was approved by the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL), whose chairman, Bishop Arthur Roche, welcomed the announcement. Watch The B.C. Catholic for news about how the definitive English text of the Third Edition of The Roman Missal will be introduced in Canada and the Archdiocese of Vancouver.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

After Cinco de Mayo comes Flores de Mayo

The Filipinos at Our Lady of Fatima in Coquitlam are hoping for a good turnout this weekend at Santacruzan, also known as "Flores de Mayo." It’s a religious festival in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary and traditionally celebrated in May with a parade of colourfully decorated floats and elaborately dressed participants representing biblical and historical figures, under a canopy of elaborate floral arches.

Coquitlam's Santacruzan will start with an assembly at 3 p.m. Saturday, May 8, at the gym at Our Lady of Fatima School. The procession starts at 3:30 p.m., going along Alderson Ave., up Allison Str., along Edgar Ave, then finally down Walker St., ending at Our Lady of Fatima Church, where Mass will be celebrated at 5 p.m. It’s all followed by a dinner and dance at the church hall at 6 p.m.

The public is invited to watch and then join in the fun at the dinner and dance. Tickets are $20 each from Myrna Mata at 604-524-4393 or 778-889-4664, or by emailing

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