Saturday, July 31, 2010

B.C.'s oldest priest

Physical map of British Columbia
We were speculating in the office about the late Father John Chrysostom Brost, OSB, and whether he had been the oldest priest in the Archdiocese of Vancouver when he died at 98. We've now heard from Father Mark Dumont at Westminster Abbey, who is a walking encyclopedia of the Church, local and universal. He sends the following: "As far as I know, Father Chrysostom became the oldest priest in all of B.C. when Fr. J.J. Morelli died in Creston, B.C., in the Nelson diocese a couple of years ago.  When I told him that after the death of Fr. Morelli, he said, 'I can't help it.'"

B.C. pro-lifer released from Toronto jail

Mary Wagner, a 37-year-old pro-lifer from Nanaimo, has been set free after four months in an Ontario women’s prison after being found not guilty of a mischief charge. “I’m very happy,” Wagner told The B.C. Catholic in a telephone interview from the home of a friend in rural Ontario. Read the full story here. And a comment on the state of freedom of speech in Canada can be found here.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Canadian bishops wade into census controversy

The federal government's plan to make the census long form optional is not being received well. Not only has the chief statistician resigned over the matter, not only is prevailing public sentiment on the decision negative, but now the Canadian bishops are wading into the dispute. Bishop Pierre Morissette, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, has sent a letter to Industry Minister Tony Clement, asking him to keep the current form because the information collected, for instance on religion, is important to Canada as a society and it's anonymous. (This seems like an opportune time to point out that B.C. is still not reporting information on abortion in this province...information that is similarly anonymous and important to us as a society.)

My new stove is Kosher!

Norman Rockwell's Sunday Morning
The stove comes with Sabbath mode, which is to ovens what the Shabbat elevator is to hotel lifts. (The Shabbat elevator stops at every floor so a Jewish rider doesn’t have to press the floor button, constituting work on the Sabbath.) This stove has a feature that automatically turns on or off on the Sabbath. Which got me thinking: what kind of appliances could they come up with for Catholics? A TV that doesn’t work between 9 a.m. and noon Sunday mornings? Any other suggestions for Catholic devices?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Church sign board of the day

Was driving past this church and couldn't resist snapping a picture of the sign board out front. The church isn't Catholic, but the message is certainly relevant!

Archbishop Miller welcomes Anglicans

Bishop Wilkinson at Rosemary Heights Retreat Centre

Vancouver Archbishop J. Michael Miller recently sent a letter to the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada which was holding its synod at the archdiocese's Rosemary Heights Retreat Centre in Surrey. The Anglican Catholic Church of Canada, of course, is the group seeking an Anglican ordinariate in Canada.

Wanted: Cathedral builders

"With the firm conviction that new media presents us with new Roman roads to make the image and voice of Christ seen and heard, Media Cova hopes to send out a new generation of media missionaries across barbarian landscape to reach all people of good will, build virtual cathedrals, and proclaim the gospel." - Anton R. Casta,

The Canadian Anglican/Catholic story

Deborah Gyapong

Speaking of Deborah Gyapong, follow her blog here to stay on top of developments on the Anglican/Catholic situation in Canada. In addition, the Anglo-Catholic is also doing a good job of tracking the story.

B.C. Catholic in Italy

The B.C. Catholic post of Ottawa bureau chief Deborah Gyapong's personal reflections on Cardinal Ouellet got picked up by a big Italian blog that covers the Church.   

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

There Be Dragons

 A new motion picture that explores the nature of humanity and themes of forgiveness and reconciliation woven around the figure of St. Josemaria Escriva, founder of Opus Dei, will be released in theaters worldwide in early 2011. Directed by Academy Award nominee Roland JoffĂ© (The Mission), There Be Dragons is set during the Spanish republic and civil wars in the mid 1930s. It is an epic film that celebrates the life of one of the Catholic Church's most popular modern saints.

First Roman Catholics of Nova Scotia

Canada Post / Special to The B.C. Catholic
This fourth stamp of Canada Post’s five-stamp French Settlement
in North Ameria series recalls Grand Chief Henri Membertou of the Mi’kmaq,
the first Indian of North America publicly to embrace Christianity.
The 400th anniversary celebration of a Nova Scotian chief's baptism will be held next week. Grand Chief Henri Membertou's baptism, along with others from the Mi'kmaq people represent the first conversions to the Roman Catholic Church in the area. Baptized by French explorers in 1610, Membertou became the first indigenous leader to become Christian. The celebration will take place on Chapel Island, Nova Scotia this coming Aug. 1.

Full story here.

Anglican Catholic Church of Canada Votes to Unite with Rome

Metropolitan and Ordinary of the ACCC

Leaders in the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada (ACCC), part of the Continuing Anglican Movement, voted recently to unite with the Roman Catholic Church through Pope Benedict's Apostolic Constitution. The meeting of the House of Clergy and the House of Laity focused on the implementation of a proposed Canadian Anglican Catholic Ordinariate.
“With the overwhelming support of clergy and laity for unity with the See of Peter and the establishment of a Canadian Anglican Catholic Ordinariate, our Diocese is now able to move forward united, renewed, and hopeful,” according to a letter from Dean Shane B. Janzen published on
Full story here.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

An act of mercy during wartime misery?

Catholic pharmacist Cristina Alarcon shares her thoughts on Canadian Army captain Robert Semrau's conviction for disgraceful conduct in the shooting of an unarmed and wounded Taliban insurgent in Afghanistan. She writes:
Around the world, the trial sparked much debate, and got me thinking about what I might do in the young captain's place.

That's not an easy task, as scenes of wartime chaos are but shadows on a TV screen glimpsed from the bulwarks of a comfy couch.

Still, I can try. The young insurgent's legs were severed, his innards protruding, a horrific sight to behold. 

It was something a paramedic might encounter in the aftermath of an airline crash.

I had the same sort of feeling that can sometimes come over me when dealing with the hopelessly chronically ill . . . though I always manage to shake it off.

Confronted by such wartime misery, would I still hold firm to my principles that the ends (relief of suffering) can never justify the means (killing)?

Or would the stress of wartime terror blur my usual moral clarity, my sense of the uniqueness of human worth?
Read full article here.

Archbishop Miller in Detroit

Last week Archbishop Miller was at  Ste. Anne de Detroit Parish, the oldest in the Archdiocese of Detroit (Michigan), to participate in the parish's celebration of 100 years of weekly novena prayers to St. Anne, the mother of the Blessed Virgin. Fellow Basilian and pastor of the parish, Fr. Thomas Sepulveda, said that many people in Detroit have a devotion to St. Anne, the original patroness of the city and of French Canada. Read more about the celebration here.

The feast day of St. Anne is July 26.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Pope expresses sorrow for music festival tragedy

During Sunday's Angelus, Pope Benedict XVI remembered the young people who died at a music festival called the Love Parade in Duisburg, Germany. According to CBCNews:
A stampede inside a tunnel crowded with techno music fans crushed 18 people to death and injured 80 at Germany's famed Love Parade festival on Saturday.
Thousands of other revellers kept partying at the event in Duisburg, near Duesseldorf, unaware of the deadly stampede that started when police tried to block thousands more people from entering the already-jammed parade grounds.
Police are still trying to determine exactly what happened, but the situation was "very chaotic," police commissioner Juergen Kieskemper said.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Hilarious adoption/fostering ads

Saw this on TV and cracked up. It's a public service ad for foster parenting, and its valuable point is something all parents could benefit from: "you don't have to be perfect to be a perfect parent." You can watch more from the series here.

Catholic studies in Vancouver this summer

It's Summer Institute time again from the Office of Religious Education. Meanwhile, watch here for details about the new adult faith formation program The Discipleship Series, which will be launched in the Archdiocese of Vancouver this fall.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

CCODP responds to food crisis in Niger

The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace is responding to the growing food crisis in Niger. As the Canadian member of Caritas Internationalis, Development and Peace and its Caritas partners are launching a $3.7-million program that aims to help close to 250,000 people. The program includes activities such as screening children and pregnant woman for malnutrition and providing treatment, distributing food and seeds, and organizing cash-for-work programs to increase household incomes.

Archdiocese of Vancouver Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Cross recipients

Papal honourees

We recently posted Spirit of Service, a list of Archdiocese of Vancouver recipients of the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Cross. Unfortunately we neglected to provide a link to the recipients of the Benemerenti Medal. Apologies. That link is now included.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Our Bug Reporter had a bug!

How embarrassing. We launched our new B.C. Catholic beta site, complete with a Bug Reporter at the top. Well it turns out the Bug Reporter had a bug. It's just been repaired. So if you went to our site, found some problems and reported them, we never got them. Would you please try again. And remember, whoever reports the most bugs in the most charitable manner will get a Starbucks gift card.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

UVic pro-life students settle out of court

Congratulations to the pro-life students at the University of Victoria. Youth Protecting Youth have settled out of court with the UVic Students Society.

Father John Chrysostom Brost in The B.C. Catholic, 1991

Father John Chrysostom Brost, OSB

A familiar face at Westminster Abbey has passed away at the venerable age of 98. Father John Chrysostom Brost, OSB, died July 15. Abbot John Braganza will celebrate his funeral Mass this afternoon at 2 p.m. at the abbey, with internment in the abbey cemetery after Mass. A reception will follow in the gymnasium. Watch The B.C. Catholic for full coverage.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Mission grotto pilgrimage set for Aug. 21

There’s a new pastor at the helm of the largest annual event in the Archdiocese of Vancouver this year. Father Alessandro Lovato has barely moved into the parish, and he’s now the man in charge of the Pilgrimage to Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto in Mission. The event takes place Saturday, Aug. 21. The annual event at Fraser River Heritage Park will draw thousands of Catholics from parishes around the Archdiocese of Vancouver for the event in honour of the Our Lady of Lourdes in France, which two years ago celebrated the 100th anniversary of Mary’s appearances at Lourdes. See The B.C. Catholic for the full story.

B.C. Catholic launches new website

The B.C. Catholic's new beta site is now live. You can visit it at We looking forward to hearing your feedback and suggestions through the bug reporter at the top of the page. And if you have any bookmarks going to the old site at, you'll want to update them.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Making the world Catholic

Father Robert Barron, a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago and founder of, has an interview with Charles Lewis of the National Post. They discuss the illness of noted atheist Christopher Hitchens and criticism of Father Barron for praying for him; how Father Barron's generation has been poorly served by the Catholicism it was taught; and his projects to bring real Catholicism to the world.

Friday, July 16, 2010

B.C. Catholic Facebook page

It's official: The B.C. Catholic's Facebook page is now

The B.C. Catholic makes a few changes

The B.C. Catholic website will undergo a bit of an overhaul this weekend. We're not making a big splash about it because it's more or less a beta site. But it will allow us to put much more local content up each week. Take a look and let us know what you think. There's a Starbucks gift certificate for the person who finds the most bugs and lets us know in the most charitable manner!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Christopher Hitchens needs our prayers

Christopher Hitchens has certainly left his mark on 21st-century atheism. "Acerbic" is how well-known blogging priest Father Robert Barron describes the man best known for throwing darts at the religion dart board. Now that Hitchens has esophageal cancer, Father Barron has some other words for him, like compassion, and prayer. From the sound of things, most Christians feel the same way. Let's pray for Hitchens.

Vatican rules make it easier to go after abusive priests

The Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has revised its procedures for handling priestly sex abuse cases in a set of new norms concerning the most serious crimes. The Vatican website provides an extensive number of resources on the new norms here. Rome says the norms will give strength to efforts to deal with abusive priests, allowing it to deal with abuse cases more rapidly and effectively, including by removing the offending cleric from the priesthood. Vatican journalist John Allen reviews the norms here.

New app for a new Mass translation

If you have an iDevice and want to understand the new translation of the Mass due out next year, there's a home-grown app you'll want to try out. You can download The New Mass App from the Apple App Store, from this website, or follow the official iTunes site for the app. The Archdiocese of Toronto Blog has an interview with the Ontario developer here, and his story is as interesting as that of his new application.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

How cool are priests?

The priesthood is cool, we all know that. But how can you show young men that it's cool? Take a look at the video entitled Fishers of Men from the U.S. bishops conference.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Pharmacists have rights too

Cristina Alarcon, a Catholic pharmacist in West Vancouver, has started an online firestorm in the National Post over the controversial issue of conscience rights for pharmacists. Should a pharmacist have to provide whatever medication a doctor and patient request, even if it's intended to cause death? Alarcon has been championing pharmacists' conscience rights for years, and it's sad to see the comments to her piece on the topic. There's not a single person whose health is jeopardized by a pharmacist who doesn't want to be complicit in killing, but pathetically, the reaction of people who put their own self-interest in front of conscience rights knows no bounds.

How to fill an empty collection basket, and more

If you’re involved in parish development or stewardship, or Catholic philanthropy of any level, here’s a conference you need to be at, and there’s money available to send you!
It’s the International Catholic Stewardship Council, taking place in San Diego Sept. 19 to 22.
One development director says he takes away ideas worth at least $500,000 in extra revenue each year for his diocese. Those who attend say they receive the benefits and new ideas that they use in their diocesan work every year.
Even better, $250 bursaries from the Archdiocese of Vancouver are available to help you attend.
Join Archbishop J. Michael Miller who will be attending and hear our own Msgr. Gregory Smith of Christ the Redeemer Parish who will present on the topic of Stewardship and Generation X.
The early bird registration and bursary deadline is Thursday, July 15, so hurry up and get your application in!
To apply for the bursary, send an e-mail to Barbara Dowding at
For more information go to
Early bird registrations can be done online here.

Compassion in action

Catholic Women's League members in Vancouver should give themselves a pat on the back for supporting families who have suffered domestic violence. Domestic Abuse Services, founded by the League, has this year welcomed four families to Eva's House, a sanctuary where victims of abuse and their children can begin to recover and move on with their lives, says DAS president Michele Smillie. Watch for the story in this week's B.C. Catholic.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Classic books in a minute

This is a delightful site that I learned about from B.C. Catholic columnist Peter Vogel. The clever 60 Second Recap offers engaging 60-second summaries of classic works of literature. The idea is to interest teens in taking a look at these books, most of which are high school reading material. So don't be surprised if your high schooler checks out the site and ends up reading Huckleberry Finn, Frankenstein, Crime and Punishment, Fahrenheit 451, Romeo and Juliet, Catcher in the Rye, Animal Farm, Pride and Prejudice or other classics from the growing list this summer. If the site doesn't have your favourite yet, you can request an addition to their library.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Stanley Cup visits parish, but not in Vancouver

If only the Canucks had gone all the way, some parish in the Archdiocese of Vancouver might be benefitting the way this Chicago-area parish is. With the Stanley Cup paying a visit, an Illinois parish fund-raising effort received a welcome boost. Maybe this will be the incentive the Canucks need next season. Do they have any idea how many of our churches need new roofs?

More defenders for Pope Pius XII

The "case" against Pope Pius XII and his supposed inaction during the Holocaust is crumbling. Of course this is old, old news to many of us.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Cardinal Ouellet, a welcome ruffler of feathers

The significance of Cardinal Marc Ouellet's new posting to Rome is...well, significant! Father Thomas Rosica, CSB, of Salt+Light Television spells it out perfectly here.

Friday, July 2, 2010

The state doesn't monopolize education

Last week The National Post editorialized on religion and education and fell into a common trap when it comes to the financing of private schools. It assumed that governments holding the pursestrings makes all schools academically and financially beholden to the state.
Charles Lewis responded by pointing out that religious adherents pay taxes too, which is true. But parents have more than a financial stake in their children's education. Vancouver Archbishop J. Michael Miller makes the essential point that in fact the principal responsibility for educating children belongs to parents.

Cardinal Ouellet on his new assignment in Rome

Cardinal Ouellet admits to a certain apprehensiveness about his new posting in Rome in a story by Deborah Gyapong of Canadian Catholic News. Have a read and it becomes obvious why he's the right man for the job.

Cardinal Ouellet heading to Rome

Canada's loss is Rome's gain, not to mention the world's. The appointment of Cardinal Marc Ouellet as Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops and President of the Commission for Latin America is tremendous news for the Canadian Church. Here's Father Raymond de Souza's take on the appointment. And you can read the letter of congratulations from Bishop Pierre Morissette, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.

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