Friday, December 31, 2010

Pope prays for families

Pope Benedict XVI marked the final hours of 2010 on Friday with public prayer and a word of concern for families struggling with economic troubles. You can find his message for World Day of Peace (also Jan. 1) here on the Vatican website. In it he says religion is not an obstacle to be overcome, but is itself the path to peace.

Meanwhile, Catholic News Service takes a look at the Pope's year ahead.

Vatican laws push financial openness

On the second last day of the year, the Vatican, whose bank is the focus of a money laundering investigation, enacted laws to bring it in line with international standards on financial transparency and the fight against funding terrorism.

Meanwhile, the Vatican plans to publish three important documents regarding its financial operations, including a papal letter on financial impropriety and a new statute to prevent money-laundering and other illegal practices.

To read more about the Vatican Bank, check out the unofficial Vatican Bank Website, which carries relevant stories.

Happy New Year, and Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

Tomorrow, Saturday,  Jan. 1, is the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, and a holy day of obligation. Sunday, Jan. 2, is the solemnity of the Epiphany. Due to liturgical precedence, if any parish celebrates an evening Mass on Jan. 1, it will be the anticipated (Sunday) Mass of the Epiphany. Check here for weekend Mass times at parishes in the Archdiocese of Vancouver.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Feast of Holy Innocents service

A service to celebrate all-too-brief lives

St. Ann's Church in Abbotsford is holding a service for the Feast of Holy Innocents where those who have lost a baby to misscariage, pre-term birth, stillbirth and infant death may mourn their loss.

Jody Garneau and Karen Murphy Corr were asked by Fr. John Hughes for a remembrance component for the evening Mass to celebrate the Feast of the Holy Innocents.

The Mass will be held on Tuesday Dec. 28 at 7 p.m.

Haiti bishops pick Quebecer for church reconstruction

A Canadian civil engineer with three decades of experience in project management and construction oversight has been hired by the Haitian Conference of Catholic Bishops to oversee church reconstruction in the earthquake-stricken country, reports Catholic News Service.

Quebec native Yves Lacourciere will take on the task of rebuilding dozens of parishes, schools, convents and community buildings that were destroyed in the Jan. 12 quake that killed an estimated 230,000 people.
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Condom clarification

Here is the statement from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, appropriately titled: Note on the banalization of sexuality; Regarding certain interpretations of "Light of the World."

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Bishop Monroe speaks to B.C. Catholic

Bishop David Monroe at his episcopal ordination March 12, 2002
Bishop thanks everyone for their prayers

Those who frequent The Busy Catholic and The B.C. Catholic website know that Bishop David Monroe has been released from the hospital and is recuperating at home. But what you may not know is that he spoke with The B.C. Catholic and wants to thank everyone for their prayers and support

Be on the lookout for an extended story on the bishop's recovery on the website and in the paper in the new year.

The Province cited the attack of the bishop in a recent story regarding the mentally ill and Canada's criminal justice system.

Confession? Be not afraid

Struggling with the idea of going to confession? Many people do, but there's no reason to. Listen to Father William Ashley's recent homily on the subject. The pastor of Sts. Joachim & Ann Parish in Aldergrove offers a real confession pick-me-up.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Shakespeare on Christmas

Some say that ever 'gainst that season comes
Wherein our Saviour's birth is celebrated,
The bird of dawning singeth all night long:
And then, they say, no spirit dare stir abroad;
The nights are wholesome; then no planets strike,
No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm,
So hallow'd and so gracious is the time."
- William Shakespeare, Hamlet, 1.1

Condom more time

For journalists and observers who missed it the first time, and the second, the Vatican is trying once again to make it clearer than clear that there has been no -- read our lips -- no change in teaching on condoms.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a note today saying Pope Benedict XVI's remarks on condoms use and AIDS do not signify a change in either the Church's moral teaching or its pastoral practice.

So what's the first headline I see on the clarification? "Vatican: condoms OK, but not as contraceptive."


What would Mary do?

A friend who went to a recent parish mission shares some insight into the Annunciation, the Visitation and the Nativity, and their relevance to our lives. At the end of this entry are some important questions about the roles Mary and Elizabeth can have in our own lives.

When the Angel Gabriel delivers the news that Mary is to give birth to the Savior, she doesn’t fully understand. Gabriel calms her by telling her not to be afraid.

Mary's next step is to seek more information, to ponder it, and to tell the angel, "Let it be done to me." Then she visits her cousin Elizabeth, whose own unborn child leaps in her womb at Mary’s arrival, acknowledging that Mary is carrying the Savior. Elizabeth tells Mary she is "blessed among women" and blessed is the fruit of her womb. Mary responds with her Magnificat.

What extraordinary developments from Mary's own confusing situation; she questions, ponders, takes the angel’s advice, then goes to the aid of her cousin. Elizabeth in turn honours Mary and recognizes the gift she carries within her.

When we are troubled, concerned, afraid, or discouraged, we can take a page from Mary. There is nothing wrong with asking questions and wondering what we are called to. We may experience fear, but we are to trust in God, step outside ourselves, and bring the gift of charity to those around us.

This time of the Incarnation is a prime season to consider our response to God's actions in our own lives. When the unexpected and the bewildering come our way, we can either resist with fear and anger, or we can ponder, seek answers, trust, and act in charity.

This is a good time to remember the many instances when we have been supported by others through troubling times. One of the gifts of the Nativity is to bring that gift to others in their periods of disability, doubt and despair.

And so we can ask, what would Mary do? What would Elizabeth do? When in our lives have we been helped by a Mary or an Elizabeth? Where are we called to be Mary or Elizabeth in someone else's life?  You're welcome to share your thoughts here.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Learn more about your faith in the new year

Looking for a good New Year's resolution? How about learning more about your faith so you can share it with others.

The Archdiocese of Vancouver's Office of Religious Education and the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry offer the annual one-day Winter Institute next month, and it's open to everyone.

A number of one-day courses for general interest as well as for those involved in various parish ministries will be offered Saturday, Jan. 29, at St. Patrick's Secondary School in Vancouver.

There are courses on Catholic apologetics, Theology of the Body, Church history, adult catechesis, and much more.


Friday, December 17, 2010

Holy Days on their way

Mass two times in one weekend

Remember that the only two holy days of obligation in Canada that don't fall on a Sunday are coming up soon.

Yes, Christmas and the Solemnity of Mary both fall on Saturdays this year, which means that you still have to go to Mass on the Sunday.

Luckily there are options on the Fridays and Saturdays:

Christmas and the anticipated Mass of the Solemnity of Mary on the Fridays of Dec. 24 and 31, respectively, fulfills the holy day obligation.

Similarly, attending Christmas Mass and the Mass for the Solemnity of Mary on the Saturdays of Dec. 25 and Jan. 1 also fulfills parishioners' obligation.

For members of the Archdiocese who have not yet been able to make it to a penitential service before Christmas Mass, here are the remaining services.

North Shore
Wed. Dec. 22 7 p.m. Christ the Redeemer

Vancouver West
Mon.   Dec. 20   6 p.m.    Guardian Angels
Tues.  Dec. 21   7:30 p.m. Blessed Sacrament
Wed.   Dec. 22   7 p.m.    St. John the Apostle

Vancouver East
Tues.  Dec. 21   7 p.m.    St. Jude's
Wed.   Dec. 22   7 p.m.    St. Helen's

New Westminster
Mon.   Dec. 20   7 p.m.    St. Francis de Sales
Tues.  Dec. 21   7 p.m.    St. Luke's
Wed.   Dec. 22   7 p.m.    Our Lady of Fatima

Fraser East
Mon.   Dec. 20   7 p.m.    St. Joachim & Ann
Tues.  Dec. 21   7 p.m.    St. Nicholas
Wed.   Dec. 22   7 p.m.    St. Ann's

East side of Fraser West (Surrey / North Delta)
Mon.   Dec. 20   7:30 p.m. Our Lady of Good Counsel
Tues.  Dec. 21   7:30 p.m. Immaculate Conception

West side of Fraser West (Richmond)
Mon., Tues., Wed., and Thurs., Dec. 20-23 7:30 p.m. (all parishes)

Kamloops Bishop David Monroe out of hospital

Bishop Monroe with Pope Benedict in 2006.
Bishop David Monroe of Kamloops is out of hospital after nearly two months recovering from the severe beating he received in October. In a statement, his family says it's a wonderful Christmas present, but caution that he still needs his privacy as he mends.

A Bible reading plan for the New Year

There are many, many Bible reading plans out there, which are structured to help you get more out of reading the Bible than simply wading through it from the Genesis to Revelation. Here's one that just came my way, from a writer I know in Washington. I'm going to give it a try. New Year's resolutions don't get much better than this.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Add Simbang Gabi to your Christmas celebrations

Everyone is invited to take part in a joyous preparation for the coming of Our Lord on Christmas Day with Simbang Gabi, the joyous Filipino traditional novena.

Traditionally Christmas Day in the Philippines is ushered in by a Novena of Masses beginning in mid-December. Known as Misa de Gallo—traditional Spanish for Rooster’s Mass—or more popularly in Filipino as Simbang Gabi or Night Mass, it is one of the most important Filipino Christmas traditions. After Mass, participants gather to enjoy traditional Christmas delicacies.

These nine Masses are also considered a way for churchgoers to show their devotion to the faith and to heighten anticipation for the Nativity.

To keep the tradition, each year the Sambayanang Pilipino Society of B.C. schedules Masses in parishes within the Archdiocese of Vancouver. The full schedule of Masses is listed below.

Dec.15 – Holy Rosary Cathedral, Vancouver

Dec.16 – St. Jude, Vancouver

Dec.17 – St. Paul, Richmond

Dec.17 – Our Lady of Sorrows, Vancouver

Dec.18 – St. Luke’s, Maple Ridge

Dec.19 – Holy Trinity, North Vancouver

Dec.19 – Queen of All Saints, Coquitlam

Dec.20 – Our Lady of Mercy, Burnaby

Dec.21 – Our Lady of Mercy, Burnaby

Dec.22 – St. Bernadette, Surrey

Dec.23 – Immaculate Conception, Delta

See the poster here.

Census form stays voluntary, minister says

You may recall that back in the summer Canada's bishops joined many others in urging the federal government to reconsider its plan to abolish the mandatory long-form census.

Much of the information in the census is “most helpful to all faith groups,” said Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) president Saint-Jerome Bishop Pierre Morissette in a letter to Industry Minister Tony Clement. Now Clement has responded, saying he's confident the new process, which will see a voluntary long form but sent to more people, will be helpful.

Christmas giving to the Archdiocese of Vancouver

During this special time of year many people make a special charitable donation. If you’re looking for an opportunity to help the Church from the convenience of your home, visit That's the Archdiocese of Vancouver's online donation site. There you’ll find a number of projects in need of your help, from Catholic education, to Project Advance, to caring for our elderly priests. Thank you for your generosity.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Little Blog of Bethlehem

Here's a whimsical look at what would happen if you crossed the first Christmas with social media.Yes, they've even got an app for the Nativity!

MPs refuse to legislate against coerced abortions

Roxanne Fernando
Members of Parliament have just voted down Bill C-510, which proposed to make it a crime to coerce a woman to have an abortion. The bill was introduced by MP Rod Bruinooge and named after Roxanne Fernando, killed by her boyfriend because she refused to abort her child. It was defeated in the House of Commons by a vote of 97 to 178.

Monday, December 13, 2010

First Nations observe feast day and day of prayer

In churches across Canada, Catholics observed the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe as well as the National Day of Prayer for Aboriginal People. Read the message for all the faithful published by the Canadian Catholic Aboriginal Council.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

"How Heather Stilwell made my life, and thinking, better"

Heather Stilwell
Check out Carolyn Budd-Goertzen's column "How Heather Stilwell made my life, and thinking, better" in Friday's Province. Tributes don't come much finer than this, nor arguments for being a prophet in one's time.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Girls' team makes a slam dunk

Breakfast Television features O.L. Assumption basketball

As part of its coverage of community sports and events, City TV's morning program Breakfast Television featured Our Lady of The Assumption's girls basketball team narrowly losing to the Richmond Blazers at Killarney Secondary in Burnaby.

The game is part of the eleventh annual HSBC Basketball Classic.

It would have been nice if they had found out the correct names of the schools that were playing, as the hosts continually refer to the school as "Our Lady of Assumption."

It looks like BT's assumption regarding the school's name was incorrect.

BT's story on the game can be viewed here.
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Advent, preparation, confessions

Here's your place to go for Advent resources: what this season is all about, how to prepare for Christmas, and a link to confessions and penitential services at your parish and all over the Archdiocese of Vancouver. Pass it along.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Mocking the Lord for Christmas

You'd think a business in the heart of Vancouver's gay community, where hatred and bashing is a huge concern, would be more sensitive.

A smoke shop (drug paraphernalia store) on Davie Street has what purports to be a Christmas display. I'll spare you the details. If you want to see for yourself, here's the business's Facebook page, where a discussion is under way on the appropriateness of the display, which involves sex, drugs and Our Saviour. No surprise, most visitors find it amusing. Be forewarned and be aware that they appear to be blocking critical comments.

The store has been paid a visit by city officials, presumably checking to see whether any regulations have been violated. Suffice that if a business insulted Muslims or Jews the way this display does Christians, the community response would be a lot different.

The store is called the Cottonmouth Smoke Shop at 1120 Davie St. The phone number is 604-331-1602.

The story behind the food court Messiah

Here's the background story behind the flash mob at Welland, Ont.'s, Seaway Mall and how it turned into an Internet sensation.

Saints and art testify to truth

Titian. St. Sebastian. 1575.
Father Raymond de Souza provides today's quote of the day: "Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger once claimed that the Church had only two convincing arguments for the truth of the Gospel: the lives of the saints in her midst and the art which she has inspired. The good and the beautiful testify to the truth."

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The late, great Heather Stilwell

Pro-life and pro-family champion Heather Stilwell gets a decent sendoff here from The Vancouver Sun's Douglas Todd. It's not a fluff piece, but a fair obituary on a woman admired by many, many people...including some of her philosophical opponents, as evidenced in the comments section.

Prayers will be tonight, Wednesday, at 7 p.m. at Precious Blood Church in Cloverdale.The funeral will be Thursday at 10 a.m. at Precious Blood, 17475-59th Ave, Surrey.

Do we still need marriage tribunals?

In an age when couples live together outside of marriage, marry outside the Church, and remarry without the sacraments, why does the Catholic Church bother with its marriage tribunals?

The Church's marriage or matrimonial tribunals exist to investigate the question of whether individuals are free to marry in the Catholic Church. Tonight, Vancouver's Catholic Forum invites you to explore that question Does the Marriage Tribunal Still Matter? at St. Mary's Church in Vancouver.

Msgr. Pedro Lopez-Gallo, who directs the Archdiocese of Vancouver Marriage Tribunal, will give the presentation at 7 p.m. All are welcome.

Monday, December 6, 2010

VC Irish win AAA varsity football provincials

Fighting Irish shoot down Ravens in 27-15 victory

Vancouver College's Adam Konar getting tackled by the
Terry Fox Ravens. Konar was named MVP of the game, helping
his team out with three touchdowns and two interceptions.
The Vancouver College Fighting Irish had a stunning victory over Port Coquitlam's Terry Fox Ravens on Saturday, clinching the AAA high school provincial title for the first time since 1994.

The Irish gave up a touchdown early in the game only to bounce back and tie the game in the waning moments of the first quarter. They took the lead early in the second, holding onto it for the rest of the game. 

VC's offense continued to add points to the scoreboard in the second and third quarters and their defense held the Ravens off besides a touchdown in final moments of the fourth, for a final score of 27-15 in favour of the Irish.

Running back/defensive back Adam Konar was named MVP of the game, after collecting three touchdowns and two interceptions for the Irish. Vancouver College defensive lineman Christian Covington and Ravens quarterback Cam Canalas were named defensive and offensive Players of the Year, respectively.

Be on the lookout for the forthcoming story in the BC Catholic as well as a slideshow on the website.

Heather Stillwell: A champion for life

Heather Stilwell, a staunch pro-life advocate and former chair of the Surrey School Board known for her efforts promoting life and family causes, passed away Saturday after battling cancer.

Hundreds of pro-life supporters recently honoured her with an extended and moving standing ovation at the International Pro-Life Conference in Ottawa, Ontario.

Prayers will be Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Precious Blood Church in Cloverdale.The funeral will be at 10 a.m. Thursday at Precious Blood, 17475-59th Ave, Surrey.

 A 2005 B.C. Catholic story about her run for municipal office can be found here.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Archdiocese welcomes Sisters of St. Cecilia

Nashville nun to return to Vancouver

From left to right: Sr. Marian Sartain,
Mother Ann-Marie Karlovic and Sr.
Mary Jacinta Li at the Vigil for Life at
Holy Rosary Cathedral
Members of the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia recently took part in the worldwide Vigil for Life in Vancouver on Nov. 27, including Sr. Mary Jacinta Li (pictured right) who is a Vancouver native and cousin of Fr. Anthony Ho.

Mother Anne-Marie (pictured centre) recently informed Archbishop Miller that the Sisters plan to establish a foundation in the Archdiocese with the help of Fr. Ron Thompson of Our Lady of the Assumption Parish.

With the establishment of this foundation, Sr. Li will be returning to the Lower Mainland to assume the title of first superior.

Archbishop Miller has asked parishioners to pray for the Sisters and "that their presence and apostolic work will be fruitful in our local Church."

"It is a blessing that the presence of religious women in the Archdiocese will be strengthened and the presence of the Dominican Family now brought to its full compliment of priest, contemplative nuns and sisters," Archbishop Miller said.

A video on the Dominican Sisters of St. Celia can be found here.

Smuggling bill has Catholics divided

MP Jason Kenney
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is a staunch Catholic, but he's not seeing eye to eye with the Canadian bishops right now over the issue of reducing human trafficking.

The Calgary Southeast MP is leading the charge on Bill C-49, a bill aimed at tackling the growing problem of smuggling people into Canada, especially by boat.

Unfortunately for Kenney, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, and a host of other critics of the bill including Vancouver Archbishop J. Michael Miller, are concerned the proposed legislation is more about clamping down on the refugee claimants once they're here. And Kenney admits in an interview with Deborah Gyapong that part of the bill's intent is to deter would-be refugees from making the dangerous voyage.
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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Advent overkill

Advent Calendar with a million dollar price tag
Advent is the time Christians prepare for the celebration of Christmas. Though it's not known as a period of self-denial and penitence in the same way that Lent is, it's not particularly known as a chance to revel in one's opulence either (even if you did splurge a bit today on Christmas gifts).

Porsche, however,  sees this season of giving as an opportunity for one obscenely wealthy person to display their obscene wealth to an obscenely wealthy loved one.

Every year people complain about the never-ending over-commercialization of Christmas, but Advent was left relatively unscathed until Porsche revealed their million dollar Advent Calendar.

Among the daily goodies are a designer watch, shoes, luggage, gold sunglasses and a speedboat. If someone is getting these presents for Advent, it's hard imagine what it looks like under their tree on Christmas Day. Perhaps they'll have an old-growth tree shipped in to fit their bounty under.

If that wasn't excessive enough, only a few weeks after Porsche revealed their calendar, they have already been topped by a diamond Advent Calender, which blows Porsche's speedboat out of the water with a price tag of $3.25 million.

Things like these go against the Church's teachings of poverty and charity and are the antithesis of positive holiday trends such as the Advent Conspiracy.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

2010-2011 B.C. and Yukon Catholic Directory released

The Catholic Directory of B.C. and Yukon is now available for order. This is a treasure trove of helpful info: school and parish phone numbers, e-mails, websites, contacts for the archdiocese of Vancouver and Catholic organizations...and that's just for this diocese! It's got listings for Kamloops, Nelson, Prince George, Victoria, Whitehorse and the Ukrainian Eparchy of New Westminster. But wait, there's more! It's got a handy business directory so you can support businesses that support the Church! You can order here for only $12.95 plus HST (and shipping if necessary.)

The Advent Conspiracy

Here's a new take on worth checking out!

Advent: our journey begins

Throughout the four weeks of Advent, the prayer of the Church, the Scripture readings, ritual gestures and symbols, and our celebration of Eucharist hold before us our destination. It is not a geographical location, but a person: Jesus Christ. Here's a helpful reflection on the important season we've just entered.

Christmas confession schedule

Parishes throughout the Archdiocese of Vancouver will be offering penitential services so everyone will have an opportunity to go to confession this Advent. Here is the confession schedule as of today, divided by regions of the archdiocese (deaneries). We'll update the list as it becomes more complete. Be a friend and send it to a friend or relative who might not see it.

Immigration bill concerns bishops, Archbishop Miller

 Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, Asia-Pacific Gateway
Minister Stockwell Day, and Public Safety Minister Vic Toews
Bill C-49 is a federal bill subtitled the Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada’s Immigration System Act. Archbishop Miller has released a statement outlining his concerns with the proposed legislation, which he says seems to confuse the smuggled men, women and children with the smugglers who are exploiting them.

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has also released a statement critical of the bill.

Archbishop Miller speaking at City in Focus breakfast

City in Focus is a Christian ministry that works to increase the "real and visible presence of Jesus within the city of Vancouver," and on Friday, Dec. 10 its special guest speaker will be Vancouver Archbishop J. Michael Miller. The archbishop will speak at the Vancouver Club on the theme of extending welcome at Christmas, in the context of the Catholic Church's 150 years in B.C.

The breakfast is $30 and is from 7:30 - 8:30 a.m. Please RSVP two days before and note there is a dress code at the Vancouver Club. To register for the breakfast click here.

Calgary Anglican church becomes Catholic

Fr. Lee Kenyon at St. John the Evangelist church.
A Calgary parish has made history by becoming the first Anglican church in Canada to accept Pope Benedict’s invitation to convert wholesale to the Roman Catholic faith.

Bishop Gary Gordon visits Catholic Missions in Canada

Archbishop Martin Currie and Whitehorse Bishop Gary Gordon
Bishop Gary Gordon of Whitehorse (and formerly the Archdiocese of Vancouver) and Archbishop Martin Currie of St. John’s and Grand Falls were in Toronto this week visiting the office of Catholic Missions in Canada, the group that funds 90 per cent of their activities in Newfoundland and the Yukon.

Catholic press irreplaceable: Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI says the Catholic press has an irreplaceable role in forming Christian consciences and reflecting the church's viewpoint on contemporary issues.

Pro-life video contest

The pro-life organization Signal Hill is launching a video contest entitled Life is a Human Right. Simply produce a 30-60 second video advertisement for life for a chance to win prizes.

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Posts and comments to The Busy Catholic must be marked by Christian charity and respect for the truth. They should be on topic and presume the good will of other contributors. Discussion should take place primarily from a faith perspective. We reserve the right to end discussion on any topic any time we feel the discussion is no longer productive.