Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Five religious headed home

Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception return to New Brunswick

Sister Margaret Vickers, SCIC

It will be goodbye Vancouver, hello St. John when five Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception return to their order's motherhouse at the end of the September, says Sister Margaret Vickers, SCIC.

The sisters, who came to this area in 1929, built hospitals and residences and several schools. While five members of the order are leaving, four others will remain in the Vancouver Archdiocese.

A goodbye Mass and reception is planned for Sept. 27 at 7:30 p.m. at Holy Name of Jesus Church, 33rd and Cambie Street, near to the sisters' convent.

Watch The B.C. Catholic for more details.

New boss for Catholic colleges

Father Dr. Mark A. Hagemoen to be installed Sept. 18

Another priest will join the long and distinguished list of clergy leaders of UBC's Catholic colleges. Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, will lead an installation Mass Sept. 18 at Holy Name of Jesus Parish for Father Dr. Mark A. Hagemoen.

Monsignor Hagemoen will now be principal of St Mark's College and president of Corpus Christi College.
Among the distinguished guests for the installation will be Premier Christi Clark,  Minister of Advanced Education Naomi Yamamoto, and others.

For more information contact 604-822-6862.
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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Salt and Life to broadcast Cardinal's funeral

Mass for Former Archbishop of Toronto tomorrow

The funeral for Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic, who died last Friday at the age of 81, take place tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. EST at St. Michael's Cathedral in downtown Toronto.

Cardinal Ambrozic was born in Gaberje, Slovenia, which his family fled in 1945. When he arrived in Toronto in 1948,  he entered St. Augustine's Seminary. He was ordained a priest in 1955 and named auxiliary bishop of Toronto in 1976. He was named Archbishop of Toronto on 17 March 1990 and in 1998 he was created cardinal by Pope John Paul II.

Salt and Light Television will begin live funeral coverage at 10:15 a.m. EST, which will be available through their live web stream. Repeat broadcasts will also be available at 8 p.m. EST and 12 a.m EST.

More than 1,000 people are expected to attend the funeral, including 500 priests and numerous family and friends. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Lots of liking for Latin

Project under way to produce audio recording of New Testament in Latin

Father Stravinskas in the studio.
A new initiative got under way this summer for the first audio recording in Latin of the Neo-Vulgate version of the New Testament, the Catholic Church's official Latin translation.
Vatican Press has partnered with Faith Comes By Hearing, a nonprofit, donor-driven interdenominational ministry which in the past 30 years has made the New Testament available by audio in more than 500 languages.

"I've been involved with making available the liturgy in Latin since I was ordained," said organizer Father Peter Stravinskas, founder and president of the St. Gregory Foundation for Latin Liturgy.

Latin speakers from various parts of the United States who all share a passion for Latin voice the 180 characters in the New Testament. Father Nicholas Gregoris, editor of The Catholic Response magazine, has also been involved.

The audio version of the Scriptures in Latin is geared for a wide audience, particularly seminarians and young Catholics, who according to Father Stravinskas and Father Gregoris are showing a growing interest in learning the Latin language.
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Farewell to the good Sisters

The Franciscan Sisters of the Atonement's Vancouver mission ends
The Franciscan Sisters of the Atonement and Archbishop Miller cut
the cake at their farewell reception at Rosary Hall Aug. 27.

After the appearance of somewhat erroneous reports regarding the closure of the Franciscan Sisters of the Atonement's convent on Cordova St., a CBC story on the closure today has set the record straight (more or less).

The story explains the sisters are leaving because their order's membership is not being replenished and the few Franciscan Sisters in Vancouver could not continue running their numerous charitable missions in town forever.

"We have not had vocations sent to our community for at least 15 years and if anything happened to one of the four of us there would be no replacements," said superior Sister Elizabeth Kelliher.

What was lost in this report, and most other reports, is that The Door is Open (which is right next door to the convent) has taken up the food service role that the Sisters provided in the Downtown Eastside. The Door is Open will continue to do this until the Missionaries of Charity take possession of the convent and define their new ministry.

On Aug. 27 the Sisters had a send-off at Holy Rosary Cathedral, with Mass celebrated by Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, who thanked the sisters for their decades of service to the community.

Check out the next issue of The B.C. Catholic for a full story on the sisters' farewell Mass.

Singing Filipino priests coming to Burnaby parish

"Only in God" inspirational music coming to Vancouver Archdiocese

Fresh from a concert schedule in Toronto, 10 Filipino priests from the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro City in the Philippines will perform on Monday, Sept. 20 at 7 p.m. at Our Lady of Mercy Church, 10th Avenue and Kingsway in Burnaby.

Tickets, $10 each, can be reserved by calling Gert at 604-544-2572 or Lilet at 604-439-7539.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Swiss cheesed at sex-ed program

New educational materials include a "sex box" for older students

In May, the city of Basel, Switzerland, introduced a sexual education program to 30 elementary schools and kindergartens that includes a "sex box" with a fabric penis and fabric vagina (warning: link to story features pictures that some may find offensive).

The sex-ed package contains dolls, puzzles, books, and other educational material for 4 to 10-year-olds. There is also a box with more explicit materials for older students, according to the newspaper Blick.

The guide included with the kit instructs kindergarten teachers to "show that contacting body parts can be pleasurable." It also recommends having children massage each other or to rub themselves with warm sand bags, all accompanied by soft music.

"Children should be encouraged to develop and experience their sexuality in a pleasurable way," said Daniel Schneider, a deputy kindergarten rector for Basel who helped develop the sex-ed curriculum along with experts. "It's important that they learn to say no if they don't want to be touched in a certain area."

Gabi Huber of Switzerland's Free Democratic Party was shocked at the program. 

"Sex education in this form belongs and should stay in the hands of parents – and certainly not in kindergartens," she said and called on education authorities "not to tolerate instruction like this."

After protest from parents Christop Eymann, Basal's education minister, admitted that "sex box" was not an appropriate name (warning: link contains picture that some may find offensive), but stood by the concept.
“It was no doubt stupid to call it a 'sex box' – we will change that," he said. "But we will stick to our goal: to get across to children that sexuality is something natural. Without forcing anything upon them or taking anything away from their parents." 

Peter Alsop's song "My Body" (skip to 5:20) might be a more tame introduction to personal boundaries and "no" feelings for children.

HST is History

More than 1.6 million vote in referendum
Chris Delaney (left) and Bill Vander Zalm lead the
successful Fight HST Campaign

B.C. has rejected the HST in a referrendum, after the successful Fight HST campaign lead by former premier Bill Vander Zalm and Chris Delaney.

Elections BC said 54.73 per cent voted to scrap the HST and 45.27 per cent voted to keep it in place.

The controversial tax has had broad political and economic effects since its implementation, including being partially responsible for the steep drop in popularity for former premier Gordon Campbell, as well as his subsequent resignation.

More than 1.6 million British Columbians out of about 3 million registered voters voted in the referendum.

The question now is how B.C. will pay back the federal transfer payments and reinstate the PST.

A breakdown of the referendum results by electoral district are available on the Elections BC website.

Baby cells are forever...

Fetal cells remain in mothers for the rest of their lives

Vicki Thorn, founder of Project Rachel, spoke to thousands of young English-speaking pilgrims at the Love and Life catechetical site during World Youth Day. She shared insights about how the Catholic Church's theology of the body is consistent with recent scientific discoveries on human attraction and reproduction.

She said: "Mothers carry cells of every child they ever conceived the rest of their lives." This might be "old news" for some, but for the thousands of young pilgrims, it was probably the first time they had heard this amazing piece of information about the bond of a mother and her children (born and unborn). Even the cells of an unborn child (lost through miscarriage or abortion) will also remain in the mother.

An online search yields numerous articles regarding this finding, including a feature article on Dr. Diana Bianchi, Professor of Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology at Tufts University. Dr. Bianchi discovered fetal cells that remain in the mother's body through her research into fetal cell migration.

"A pregnancy lasts forever because every woman who has been pregnant carries these little souvenirs of the pregnancy for the rest of her life." - Dr. Diana Bianchi

Not only do baby cells remain in the mother, they may be there for a therapeutic purpose: "If the woman suffers a wound or develops a disease in an organ even decades after being pregnant, the fetal cells in her body migrate to the site of the injury, divide and change into the perfect cells needed to fix the problem. Fetal cells provide, in effect, a long-term life insurance policy for the mom." A mother nurturing the developing child inside her is only half the story, according to the research, and that the "umbilical cord is a two-way street" of nurturance.

Based on her findings, Bianchi believes in the therapeutic potential of fetal cells for a woman, her children and even unrelated individuals. It has been called the Good Fetal Cell Hypothesis. She is hopeful that these fetal cells, that could be extracted from maternal blood or tissue, are true stem cells, making the use of human embryos in therapy unnecessary.

Bianchi's findings have been met with skepticism and rejection. There are those who subscribe to an earlier explanation of the purpose of these cells, referred to as the "Bad Fetal Cell Hypothesis," that the prevalence of autoimmune diseases in women is due to fetal cells. But more and more scientific findings support the theory that the baby cells in the mother remain in her to "protect, defend and repair her for the rest of her life." It's a possibility that the researchers sometimes find "too beautiful to be true." Kirby Johnson of Tufts and Carol Artlet of Thomas Jefferson University discuss the two fetal cell theories in the 2006 NPR episode below:

"You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, because I am wonderfully made; wonderful are your works! My very self you know." - Psalm 139:13-14

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Australian Church Leaders fight to maintain marriage

50 plus christian representatives lobby too keep matrimony between a man and a woman

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard promised to keep "our heritage as a Christian country." But heavy opposition from her Green Party opponents are challenging that promise.

According to a survey released by same-sex advocates, 53% of Australian Christians are supportive of gay marriage. This has prompted over 50 Church leaders to campaign in keeping marriage traditional.

"We know the support for the current definition of marriage is strongly held by the vast majority of other faiths," said the leaders representing Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Orthodox, and Presbyterian denominations.

"The identity of children and their internationally recognised right to know, have access to and be nurtured by both their mother and father."

"The Marriage Act has a special status in our culture," said Gillard who promised not to change the law as a campaign promise.

Cardinal George Pell
Catholic Archbishop of Sydney
One of 50 Church Leaers who oppose
same sex marriage legislation

The PM's party the Australian Labour Party (ALP) believe the country's Green Party are bringing this up for debate to damage Gillards reputation.

Well known Australian doctor Karyn Phelps is one of the players for the Marriage act to be amended. Last night she and her partner met with Gillard saying if the government refuses to change the law they will be ignoring 60% of the population.

Australian MPs will be visiting their constituents to gauge opinion on this matter. The debate on changing the marriage law is expected to take place in November at the ALP National Conference.

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Courting the Holy Spirit

Sports Chaplains foster faith and free-throws
Many prayed for the Grizzlies, but to no avail

Dave Klassen constantly works with professional sports teams – such as the Abbotsford Heat, the B.C. Lions, the Vancouver Canucks, and (back in the day) the Vancouver Grizzlies – but he's not a coach or trainer; he's a sports chaplain.

"What I do with the Canucks and Lions, whether in the playoffs or in the season, is as a discipler, mentor, and friend," says Klassen, a director at Athletes in Action. "I think it's similar to what we'd do in the Church in a pastoral role."

He said the spiritual part of the game is oft-overlooked, but very important in helping players and teams succeed.

"(When) you understand God didn't make everyone the same and you are as uniquely made as the next guy, then you don't have to look at your neighbour and say, 'Why can't I be like him?'" Klassen said. "You can look at him and say, 'We need that guy,' because his gifts make us a complete team."

Klassen also takes pro athletes out on the town to help the less fortunate.

You can read more about Klassen and his work in his recent profile in The B.C. Catholic.

The Pope at World Youth Day

Cruising in the Popemobile ...
I saw these photos on the Vancouver Sun website and I almost felt like I was there.

For more photos follow this link.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Rejoice in the Lord then go make Disciples of all Nations, says Pope

Holy Father announces themes for the next two WYDs

Pope Benedict XVI courtesy CNS
Next year young Catholics will "Rejoice in the Lord." In 2013 they will "Go and Make Disciples of all Nations." That was what Pope Benedict XVI revealed as the themes for the next two World Youth Days.

The 2012 version will be held within a Catholic Diocese. The Pope will be joined by international pilgrims in 2013 as WYD will be celebrated in Rio de Janeiro.

The Pope revealed the themes in front of an audience of 2000 people gathered in the papal courtyard villa of at Castel Gandalfo Aug 24. Benedict talked with the audience for 15 minutes.

The Holy Father also shared his experience in Madrid for the recent WYD event. He described his trip as "extraordinary days" and was moved by the amount young people who will explore their potential call to religious life because of the August 16-21 gathering.

"I thank God for this precious gift, which gives hope for the future of the church," he said.

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Traditionalists invited to Vatican

Society of Saint Pius X to discuss terms of reintegration with Church

On Sept. 14 leaders of the traditionalist Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) will meet in Rome with Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, discuss the results of two years of talks on how they might accept the changes of the Second Vatican Council.

The SSPX was excommunicated in 1988 after ordaining four of its own bishops. Pope Benedict XVI has since lifted those excommunications, as well as allowed use of the Latin Mass, which was one of the SSPX's issues with Vatican II.

However, so far the Pope has refused to grant the four SSPX bishops the right to reject other parts of Vatican II, which the SSPX says is where the Church lost its way.

One issue that may need to be discussed is the status of Bishop Richard Williamson, one of the readmitted SSPX bishops who has said that no more than 300,000 Jews perished in the Holocaust and has called these talks a "dialogue of the deaf."

In other prodigal news, the National Catholic Reporter has published a story about Sister Mary Eucharista, 51, a member of the Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Church in Washington State, who left a sedevacantist group along with 14 other nuns.

Layton death - a Grief Observed?

How to react when a public figure dies 

Christie Blatchford
Jack Layton
There is a lot of fallout over journalist Christie Blatchford's reaction to a letter to Canadians written two days before he died by New Democratic party leader Jack Layton.

Blatchford suggested that a number of passages in the letter were "vainglorious" and she is taking flack over her views on hundreds of blogs and comment pages.  Many have called her mean spirited.

The subject of death itself, not often mentioned in the media other than in accident reports, is also getting some attention.

Radio host Bill Good invited "grief expert" David Kesseler to comment on how and why people are affected when a public figure dies and ways to deal with it.

Kessler, who worked with noted grief researcher Elizabeth Kubler Ross, suggests that we are often affected by the deaths of people in the news because we unrealistically feel we know them. What we know is their public persona. However, he encouraged attending  public mourning or funeral events commemorating the life of the person we admired.

C.L. Lewis' A Grief Observed is a faith filled book which examines how death can make even a stellar Christian apologist question his beliefs. Check out his journey. 

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Golden Grahams of Catholic advice

B.C. Catholic columnist at upcoming Summer Institute

Graham Osborne, known as "The Shy Catholic," to B.C. Catholic readers, will teach an all-day course – Catholic for a Reason-Part 1 – at this year's Summer Institute August 27 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The course's goal is to help Catholics learn how to explain and defend their faith using the example of the Bible and the early Church.

This first part of the course is entitled, "Upon This Rock: How Can We Know All That Jesus Taught?" and will delve deep into the following questions:
-Why do we need to explain or defend the Catholic Faith to others, especially Christians?
-Why is true Christian unity so critical to the world today?
-Why be Catholic and not some other faith or religion?
-How can we know with certainty everything Jesus taught? Did He build a Church on Earth?
-How can the Pope be infallible? How do we know St Peter was the 1st Pope?
-Do we follow the Bible alone or should we listen to the Church too?
-How about the Early Church? Did it believe what the Catholic Church teaches today?

This year the event will take place at Holy Cross Regional Secondary School at 16193 88th Ave,
Surrey in Surrey.

For more information about this and other courses offered at the institute, contact the archdiocesan Office of Religious Education at 604-683-0281 or

Monday, August 22, 2011

Jack Layton loses fight with cancer

Federal NDP leader dead at 61

Jack Layton died early this morning "surrounded by family and loved ones" after a lengthy battle with cancer.

He died just months after helping catapult the NDP to Official Opposition status in Parliament for the first time in the party's history.

In the short time since his death, there has been a massive response from the public and politicians from all sides of the political spectrum offering their condolences.

“I was deeply saddened to learn this morning of the death of Jack Layton,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a statement. “On behalf of all Canadians, I salute Jack’s contribution to public life, a contribution that will be sorely missed."

“I know one thing: Jack gave his fight against cancer everything he had. Indeed, Jack never backed down from any fight.”

Recently-elected MP Guy Caron - of Rimouski-Neigette-Témiscouata-Les Basques - said he and his NDP colleagues feel a great loss.

"Like myself, many of them have joined the NDP or have even started to get involved in politics after being inspired [by] Jack Layton's view of politics, view of life, view of what the country should be like," Caron said.

In an open letter to Canadians dated Aug. 20, Layton addressed young people, his party and caucus, as well as those battling cancer.

"To other Canadians who are on journeys to defeat cancer and to live their lives, I say this: please don’t be discouraged that my own journey hasn’t gone as well as I had hoped," he wrote. "You have every reason to be optimistic, determined, and focused on the future. My only other advice is to cherish every moment with those you love at every stage of your journey, as I have done this summer."

The Good Shepherd comes to namesake parish

Tapestry shows Good Shepherd in west coast scene

Textile artist Ruth Jones discovered a lot about sheep and shepherds when Good Shepherd Church parishioner Helga Hoing asked her to create a tapestry altarpiece for the Surrey Church to mark Hoing's husband Werner's 80th birthday last year.
Tapestry artist Ruth Jones

Jones, a Vancouver artist with an archeology background, creates site-specific imagery for an international range of private, public, and corporate clients. Her work can be seen in the Museum of Anthropology at UBC.

Among other revelations which came to her when researching and creating the Good Shepherd tapestry, said Jones, was the realization that we can have "joy and happiness" in knowing that "Jesus watches over us."

He is, Jones added, "the most earthly example of what we can be for our brothers and sisters in our own lives." See the full story showing the tapestry over the church altar in an upcoming B.C. Catholic.

Archbishop Miller makes mark in Madrid

Catechesis posted to Salt and Light website

As reported in this week's issue of The B.C. Catholic, Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, led a catechesis session at the Palacio De Deportes Aug. 18 during WYD in Madrid, where over 3,000 people had to be turned away.

Lucky for them - as well everyone back at the Archdiocese of Vancouver - Salt and Light has posted a video of the entire session on their website and YouTube.

WYD ends after downpour

Storm stops distribution of Holy Communion during Mass at end of World Youth Day

Pope arrives for Mass

World Youth Day 2011 is over and the next international World Youth Day will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2013.

Yago de la Cierva, director of World Youth Day Madrid, said the event was planned to be "more religious and less entertaining" than some previous youth gatherings.

A downpour the night of Aug. 21 during the nighttime vigil with the Pope made things particularly difficult for pilgrims who were going to spend the entire night at the site, before the Pope's Mass the next day.

Bishop Donald Bolen of Saskatoon, Sask., was at WYD with about 80 pilgrims from his diocese.
He said the pilgrims found the whole experience "enjoyable and meaningful, and in some instances, transformative. Will they pray daily, celebrate the sacrament of reconciliation frequently, help those who suffer, and take time to discern their vocation?

"I think if you asked them now, many of them would say yes, they will try," he said. "It is my profound hope that the experiences of the past two weeks will stay with them, and that the experience of God's presence and of the Church which they have felt here will be the seedbed for a deepening commitment to Christian discipleship. But as with all of us, time will tell."
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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Praising in the Rain

Over a million people gather in Cuatro Vientos Air Base for the World Youth Day vigil with Pope Benedict XVI

Aug. 18, 2011. Pilgrims run as Pope Benedict XVI arrives in the Popemobile at the Nunciature in Madrid. Jorge Guerrero / AFP/Getty Images

For the past few days, young people at World Youth Day have been braving extreme Madrid heat to meet the Holy Father, celebrate their Catholic faith and to meet Christ in each other (and then to bring Him back home to their families and friends). Tonight at the Cuatro Vientos Air Base, over one million young people are braving wind and rain as Pope Benedict leads the prayer vigil.

Aerial shot of over a million people at Cuatro Vientos Air Base
At a solemn moment during the vigil (when the wind and rain finally subsided), a large monstrance emerged from under the stage, a scene reminiscent of rock concerts except the one taking centre stage is not a rock star but the Rock of our salvation, Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. The scene was breathtaking. Over a million pilgrims knelt in silence, many with tears in their eyes.

Monstrance on stage. screen capture from
The pilgrims will be spending the night in vigil, praying, sharing stories, singing or sleeping, awaiting the final Mass of World Youth Day tomorrow. 

Earlier in a unique "World Youth Day" celebration in the Philippines, 11,000 pilgrims gathered at the Ateneo de Manila University. Young Filipinos were singing and dancing in the rain, a symbol of their participation in the events currently taking place in Madrid. The young people sang the official song of World Youth Day Manila in 1995 called Tell the World of His Love.

Watch the live coverage of World Youth Day on Salt + Light TV (with free programming during WYD) or online at

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Bibles behind bars banned (not entirely)

B.C. prisoners discouraged from Bogarting their religious texts
Not prison-approved for Bible study

The Vancouver Sun obtained government data showing that B.C. prison guards have confiscated almost as many Bibles as pornographic magazines from prisoners.

Between January 2008 and October 2010, officials confiscated seven Bibles from federal prison inmates in B.C. - as well as loose pages - while 10 pornographic magazines were confiscated.

However, this isn't part of a conspiracy to persecute Christians in prison.

Not only are federal prisoners allowed to have a religious text of their choice in their cell, they can usually get Bible for free from a prison chaplain. Indeed, confiscated Bibles were being used for completely non-religious purposes.

“They use the (Bible pages) to roll tobacco or marijuana...or hollow them out and store contraband in there,” said Terry Hackett, director of operations for Corrections in B.C. “Normally you’re allowed to have a Bible. But once you start using it for some other purpose, then that’s when [we] seize it.”

Holy Smoke!

Other items confiscated in the time period includes drugs, drug paraphernalia, alcohol, 30 cellphones, one kilogram of bacon, seven pounds of rice, a case of Fig Newton cookies, four pounds of raw chicken in a plastic bag, and two bags of fully cooked food including a turkey breast, stuffing, and cranberries.

Some of the strangest items seized include a Michelin snow tire, a “Nazi calendar,” two winning scratch-and-win tickets, a laser pointer, and a crab trap.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

School's IN for summer?

Edmonton Catholic school students already back to the grind

Because of a year-round schedule means 1,100 students at three Catholic schools in Edmonton went back to school Aug. 8.

There schools are about one hundred Canadian schools using a four-term calendar, which has a shorter, five-week summer holiday and then two-week breaks in October, at Christmas and in Spring.

Students are heading back to St. Alphonsus elementary and junior high, Mother Teresa elementary, and St. Catherine elementary and junior high.

"I'm a bit tired. But I'll just have to get used to it," said Grade 9 student Terrence Pigford, who has never had a short summer break.

Year-round schooling advocates say shorter breaks helps pupils retain knowledge better, meaning teachers don't have to spend as much time reviewing old material at the beginning of each school year.

Quebec needs lots of prayers

Group of pro-life advocates denied access to Montreal basilica

Crossroads Canada group posing for a picture in Vancouver
with Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB
Persecution of the Catholic Church in Canada is nothing new. But in what was one of the most Catholic provinces in the country, the persecution has reached almost tyrannical levels.

A couple weeks ago administration of  Notre Dame Basilica in Montreal would not allow a group of anti-abortion advocates to enter with their pro-life t-shirts on. Blogging for Crossroads Canada, John D'Agostino, described how his group of pro-life campaigners were told to be silent on abortion.

"We had to take off our 'Pro Life' shirts if we wanted to enter," Agostino said wrote on August 4. "We were in complete and utter shock."

Group leader Michael Hayden went to talk to the priest, hoping to understand the reason why his group of Catholics couldn't express a Christian truth.

Notre Dame Basilica, Montreal, Quebec
"The priest said that it was a 'political issue' and didn't want us to offend any pro-choice people who maybe taking a tour of the basilica," Ambrose wrote.

Michael Hayden wrote on August 9 that the priest did let the group pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament for a brief period of time. He stated everything reported in Life Site News about Quebec and the Catholic Church is true.

Life Site News has been following Quebec's decay for Catholicism for a few years now.

In 2008 the Quebec government mandated that all students in the province must take a program called "Ethics and Religious Culture." The program is non optional and requires students in public, private, home school to complete the program before graduation. The controversial mandate begins at grade one and teaches children about the major religions, establishing them as equal, this includes the lifestyle of atheism. It also requires students to assess their own religious beliefs before being fully formed in them.

Along with the forced instruction of different religions, the program teaches students about different lifestyles in regards to homosexuality.

However the most disturbing observations from the Crossroads Canada group was the mass availability of abortions in Montreal.

"There are somewhere around twenty abortion facilities in the city," wrote Ambrose. Montreal alone is responsible for nearly 20,000 of the 100,000 abortions performed in Canada each year."

Young people will not be marginalized in Spain

WYD a way for young Catholics to feel accepted, often alienated at Church according to bishop

Church can sometimes be an unwelcoming place for younger people. Especially late teens and young adults. The youth seem to have a different way of conducting themselves from the elder church goers, who find it difficult to comprehend. Which is why World Youth Day's are so important to young people according to a high ranking bishop.

"Young people can find themselves in a lot of local churches on the margin of things," said Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin, secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. "A lot of (old) people don't speak their language, and treat them as if they just descended from Mars."

Archbishop Tobin believes the events of WYD bring youth together where they won't feel marginalized. Together with their own peers they are free to ponder God's call.

"Then within that they also meet young people who have entered into the dialogue we all have to have with our Creator, asking, 'What would you have me do?'" the vocations archbishop said, as recorded by CNS reporter Cindy Woodson.

Those encounters with those contemplating the religious life will help young Catholics realize the joys of being Christ's servants, according to archbishop Tobin.

The archbishop believes young people need to be asked to join the priesthood or religious life, believing some of the techniques used do not challenge them.

"World Youth Day is a way to ask."

Archbishop Tobin said Jesus doesn't use a hard sell. Referencing the Gospel of John, Tobin says Jesus appeals to what motivates people.

"What are you looking for?' If you think you can find it with me, come and have a look.' So the hook comes at the end, when Jesus says, 'Follow me."

The archbishop believes the sex abuse scandals had many Catholics mad and running away from the Church.

"And yet, there are still young people who are running toward it. It's the crazy logic of losing your life to save it."

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

WYD kicks off online and on TV

Many Media sources for following pilgrims in Madrid
An aerial view of the opening Mass broadcasting
on Salt and Light's website

World Youth Day 20011 officially opened today in Madrid and more than 500 pilgrims from the Archdiocese of Vancouver have been arriving in Spain for the past week, including Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB.

Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry director Clay Imoo says those who were unable to attend WYD themselves can follow the archdiocese's pilgrims via special accounts on Twitter and Blogspot.

Additionally, Salt and Light Television has arranged for free programming on cable providers during WYD, as well as expanded coverage online. 

Imoo also encourages the people back home to "continue to pray for a safe and blessed trip for all of the World Youth Day pilgrims, especially for those from our archdiocese."

Breaking news on euthanasia prevention

Calling all stakeholders in the fight to combat B.C. court cases

Gloria Taylor, ALS sufferer seeking euthanasia
The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition of Canada will host a workshop Thursday, Aug. 18 from 7-9 p.m. at St. Michael's Hall, 9387 Holmes Street, in Burnaby to discuss how the B.C. Civil Liberties Association and the Farewell Foundation are proceeding with court cases aimed at approving euthanasia for B.C. residents.

Said EPC director Alex Schadenberg, "We will be facing a media barrage over the next few months and we must be prepared."

The fight, he added, is sure to be played out in the "court of public opinion" and anti-euthanasia forces should be prepared with "talking points and a medial strategy."

Those interested in attending the meeting should email EPC at

WYD TV Schedule

Salt  & Light TV is now in Madrid and their coverage has begun. Here is the full WYD TV schedule.  For WYD coverage on the digital cable network programming schedule, visit

Tuesday August 16
09:00am – Canadian National Gathering from the Love and Life Site
12:00pm – Australian National Gathering from the Love and Life Site
14:00-19:00pm – Youth Festival Concerts, witness talks and prayer from the Love and Life Site
19:30pm – Opening Mass
22:30pm – Youth Festival Kick-Off Concert from the Love and Life Site
Marianfest Madrid11Wednesday August 17
10:00am – Catechesis Sessions from the Love and Life Site
14:00pm – Youth Festival events from the Love and Life Site
20:30pm – Marianfest from the Love and Life Site
Papal ArrivalThursday August 18
10:00am – Catechesis Sessions from the Love and Life Site
14:00pm – Youth Festival Events from the Love and Life Site19:00pm – Papal Welcome Ceremony
21:00pm – Youth Festiva Concert: Ven+Id Macrofestival of Concecrated Life
Via Crucis, World Youth Day, MadridFriday August 19
10:00am – Catechesis Sessions from the Love and Life Site
15:30pm – Youth Festival Events from the Love and Life Site19:00pm – Way of the Cross
21:00pm – Rebroadcast of Youth Festival Events
Saturday August 20
09:00am – U.S. National Gathering from the Love and Life Site
12:00noon – Holy Father’s Mass with Seminarians
13:00pm – Rebroadcast of Youth Festival Events
19:30pm – Vigil with the Holy Father
Sunday August 21
09:00am – Closing Mass
12:00noon – Rebroadcast of Youth Festival Events
19:00pm – Madrid11 Wrap-up Show

Monday, August 15, 2011

Stepping up the anti-euthanasia fight

New group and new website on the horizon says EPC's Schadenberg

Alex Schadenberg
The Choice is an Illusion, a new non-profit corporation led by Seattle attorney Margaret Dore, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition director Alex Schadenberg and Dr. William Reichel has a website to provide resources to those opposed to what's being recognized as a new push by the suicide lobby to legalize assisted suicide.

Go to to access arguments and talking points and the most up-to-date information about effective strategies to fight the euthanasia lobby in the U.S. and Canada.
Or, check out Schadenberg's blog at

Friday, August 12, 2011

What would Jesus cut?

Christian groups differ on US debt solutions

President George W. Bush exiting the Red Mass.
The Red Mass is held every year to encourage U.S
Lawmakers to abide by Christs' teachings. 
Most Americans took a heavy sigh of relief on August 2, 2011, when President Barack Obama signed the 11th hour Budget Control Act, raising the United States' debt ceiling. Speculation had been rampant from political and financial pundits of what would happen if the US were to default. Many of those pundits predicted a massive economic collapse that would take an already weak American economy, and drag into a "double dip recession."

The handling of this debt issue has lead to partisan politics from Democrats and Republicans. But it wasn't just America's main political parties that were divided on this issue. Large Christian groups took opposing arguments on what and what shouldn't be cut from the government.

What would Jesus Cut? Was the question posed by The Circle of Protection, a group which includes the U.S Conference of Bishops. They have been lobbying Washington to settle the debt problem without cutting necessary social programs.

Countering the Circle was a faith based group called Christians for a Sustainable Economy (CASE), which wrote to President Obama stating The Circle of Protection "doesn't speak for all Christians." They ask: "Whom would Jesus indebt?" The financially conservative Christians also wrote in the letter that, "the good Samaritan didn't use a government credit card."

These arguments come off as "mere religious transpositions of party platforms," according to assistant professor of theology Patrick Clark at the Jesuit run University of Scranton, Pa. In an August 8 blog entry on the Catholic Moral Theology website, Clark responded to Washington Post political commentator Michael Gerson, who wrote an August 4 op-ed called: "Two parties pray to the same God, but different economists."

Clark and Gerson agreed that CASE and the Circle of Faith are acting more like ideological cheerleaders, instead of promoting a Christ like point of view. Clark believes this type of division leads to the public rejection of religious opinions.

Gerson also pointed out that "this use of religion in politics is a source of cynicism. It should raise alarms when the views of the Almighty conveniently match our most urgent political needs."

"A faith that conforms exactly to the contours of a political ideology has lost its independence." 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Catechesis Sessions in Madrid

You can now visit the Madrid11 website and look for all the locations for the Catechesis Sessions.

The sessions take place from the Wednesday to the Friday of WYD. In Madrid they will be on Wednesday August 17th, Thursday August 18th, and Friday August 19th, at 10:00 am. Every day there will be a different bishop at each location and the sessions are organised by language.

This year, rather than assigning Catechesis sessions to the registered participants, the WYD National Office invites pilgrims to go to the catechesis session closest to their accomodation.

The largest English-speaking Catechesis Site will be at the Knights of Columbus and Sisters of Life-sponsored Love and Life Site, housed in the Palacio de los Deportes. At the Love and Life Site Catechesis sessions will be led by three bishops, one from Australia, one from the U.S. and one from Canada. These Catechesis Sessions will be broadcast live at WYDTV on on those three days, and on Salt & Light TV’s digital cable network, August 17-19 at 9am ET (6am PT). Each Catechesis Session ends with daily Mass.

For more information about S+L TV’s WYD coverage visit

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