Friday, September 30, 2011

Catholicism explained on TV

PBS to broadcast 'Catholicism' series by Chicago priest

Host Father Robert Barron
Television viewers across the country will get a glimpse into the rich history, culture, and tenets of the Catholic faith this fall when 90 public television stations across the country air episodes of a series called "Catholicism" that was developed by a Chicago priest.
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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Catholics NOT Losing their religion

Religion's decline in Canada exaggerated

According a leading expert on religious life in Canada, Catholic and evangelical Christians are flourishing in Canada, thanks in part to recent immigration patterns.

Sociologist Reginald Bibby said many assumed Canada would follow the same patern of secularization in Europe, where over time fewer people practice over time.

"Religion remains important to more than one in three Canadians, with the majority still identifying with groups and indicating openness to greater involvement, if they can find it worthwhile."

Bibby is presenting his findings Friday to some 7,000 Canadian religious leaders as part of the annual Global Leadership Summit. His findings are also compiled in his new book Beyond the Gods & Back.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

HELP! Plea for Jerusalem

Patriarch encourages pilgrimages to bolster Jerusalem's Christians

Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal of Jerusalem
celebrates a Mass for peace in San Francisco.
The Latin patriarch of Jerusalem says the dwindling population of Christians in his city needs to be bolstered by the support of Christians around the world and by their visits as pilgrims.
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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Conference not just for stewardship "pros"

Winnipeg stewardship conference Oct. 28-30 helps those seeking to grow in faith.
Father Darrin Gurr,
stewardship conference
opening keynote speaker

Stewardship begins at the grassroots level with individuals increasing their understanding of their relationship to God, says Vancouver Archdiocesan Stewardship Director Barbara Dowding.

From that point, Dowding added, you can move on to promoting stewardship programs to help others  give of their "time, talent, and treasure" to building up the Kingdom of God in the world.

The Western Canadian Catholic Stewardship Conference at the Delta Hotel Winnipeg will feature inspirational presentations and workshops for everyone, including a special track for French-speaking Catholics and for youth.

A brochure and registration form is available at

Canadians lose faith in faith

Poll shows changing attitudes on religion

A recent Ipsos Reid poll finds almost half of Canadians believe religion does more harm than good.

Of those polled, 47 per cent find that religion is more harmful than good, while 53 per cent have a more favorable view toward religion.

Experts have offered a few explanations for this attitude among many Canadians, including fear of extremists, anger toward individuals abusing positions of power, as well as ‘forgetting’ Canadian's history.

“In the past few years, there have been several high-profile international situations involving perceived religious conflicts, as well as the anniversary of 9/11, and I think when people see those, it causes them to fear religion and to see it as a source of conflict,” said Janet Epp Buckingham, associate professor at Trinity Western University.

Other poll results include:

  • 53% of respondents said they believe in God. (28% of those identified as Protestant and 33% Catholic)
  • 23% of those who attend weekly religious services do not believe in God.
  • 29% believe in heaven and 19% believe in hell. (71% of weekly churchgoers believe in heaven and 54% believe in hell.)
  • 89% are ‘completely comfortable’ being around people with different religious beliefs.
  • 71% don't think religious people make better citizens.
  • 33% of Catholics say they don't believe in God
  • 28% of Protestants say they don't believe in God

Monday, September 26, 2011

Pope 'deeply shaken'

In Germany, Pope says godlessness poses new risks for society

Pope distributes Communion.
On a four-day visit to Germany, Pope Benedict XVI repeatedly mentioned the duty to protect the unborn, and proposed this as an area where Catholics and non-Catholics can witness together and help resist ethical erosion.

Arriving Sept. 22, he said he had come "to meet people and to speak about God." He took that message to the country's political leaders, to the church's ecumenical partners, to the Catholic faithful and, through the mass media, to the German people.

The trip's slogan was "Where there is God, there is a future." The Pope strongly defended the Church's voice in public affairs and said that to dismiss religious values as irrelevant would "dismember our culture."

Celebrating Mass in Berlin's Olympic Stadium for 70,000 people, the Pope appealed for a better understanding of the Church, one that goes beyond current controversies and the failings of its members.

The Pope met with five sex abuse victims in Erfurt, an encounter that the Vatican said left the Pontiff "moved and deeply shaken."

Meeting with Lutheran leaders, the Pope prayed for Christian unity and said ecumenism today faces threats from both secularization and Christian fundamentalism.

He cautioned against viewing ecumenism as a type of negotiation. The best path to Christian unity, he said, is witnessing the Gospel courageously in a society that is often antagonistic toward the faith.
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Friday, September 23, 2011

Pope Bee16

Pope Benedict XVI receives half a million bees

Bee (Maciek Mono / Wikipedia)
The Buzz
Pope Benedict received 500,000 bees (=8 hives) from the Italian agricultural group Coldiretti on September 18, celebrated this year in Italy as the Day for the Protection of Creation. Coldiretti, Italy's largest farming association, gave the bees to the Pope to be kept at the pontifical farm in Castel Gandolfo for pollination and production of more than 600 pounds of honey a year.

Castel Gandolfo will receive technical assistance on honey production from the non-profit agriculture association Campagna Amica. The farm in Castle Gandolfo has 25 dairy cows, 300 hens and 60 cockerels, as well as an ancient olive grove producing three thousand liters of oil a year, an orchard of apricot and peach trees and a greenhouse of ornamental flowers.

Address of Pope Pius XII on Bees on November 27, 1948:

Ah, if men could and would listen to the lesson of the bees: if each one knew how to do his daily duty with order and love at the post assigned to him by Providence; if everyone knew how to enjoy, love, and use in the intimate harmony of the domestic hearth the little treasures accumulated away from home during his working day: if men, with delicacy, and to speak humanly, with elegance, and also, to speak as a Christian, with charity in their dealings with their fellow men, would only profit from the truth and the beauty conceived in their minds, from the nobility and goodness carried about in the intimate depths of their hearts, without offending by indiscretion and stupidity, without soiling the purity of their thought and their love, if they only knew how to assimilate without jealousy and pride the riches acquired by contact with their brothers and to develop them in their turn by reflection and the work of their own minds and hearts; if, in a word, they learned to do by intelligence and wisdom what bees do by instinct—how much better the world would be! (Read full address)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Greenland remains white

'Atlas-Gate' invades map publishing world

Some scientific resources have claimed Greenland is turning green...

... while in reality Greenland is still very much the misleadingly named arctic land mass it always has been.
After years of hearing Al Gore and other environmental activists talk about "global warming" like it was the apocalypse, scientists are starting to debunk and cool down the fears of climate change. In the latest chapter, publishers of the Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World apologized after a press release claimed "Greenland is turning green."

Scientists swiftly denied the claims that Greenland's shrinking ice surface has decreased by 15 per cent.

“It is regrettable that the claimed drastic reduction in the extent of ice in Greenland has created headline news around the world,” Poul Christoffersen, a glaciologist at the Scott Polar Research Institute at the University of Cambridge, said in a Fox News online article. “There is to our knowledge no support for this claim in the published scientific literature."

Christoffersen believes the actual reduction to be around 0.1 per cent.

The publisher, Harper Collins, tried to defend their claims, which are also detailed in the atlas itself. They used information from the U.S. Snow and Ice Data Centre in Boulder, Colorado.

Graham Cogley of Trent University said glaciologists like himself are "hypersensitive" to errors made like in the Times Atlas.

Help parolees get a new lease on life

Surrey's Luke 15 House needs help for programs to help prison parolees move on

The Christian Church-supported residence which provides a stable community and spiritual help to ex-cons is holding a benefit dinner at Gracepoint Community Church, 3487 King George Blvd, in Surrey, on Oct. 28 at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $40 each. Phone or email Allan Moffat at 604-531-5594 or allanmoff@gmailcom.

Luke 15 House provides help with addictions and unemployment along with programs to encourage physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual growth.

For more information, go to

Monday, September 19, 2011

WYD back to Latin America

Rio archbishop says World Youth Day helps Christians reconnect with faith

Rio's statue of Jesus

By sending World Youth Day back to Latin America, Pope Benedict XVI is calling the world's attention to the region's Christian past, said Archbishop Orani Tempesta of Rio de Janeiro, host city for the 2013 event. Rio is famous for its huge statue of Jesus high above the city atop Corcovado Peak.

The region's Christian roots "are being lost, little by little, to the false belief that we are a secular country," he said. "Catholic youth make a difference in the world," he added.

The last World Youth Day in South America was in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1987. The choice of Rio de Janeiro to host the World Youth Day creates a "big challenge."

With less than two years to organize the event, scheduled for July 23-28, 2013, the archdiocese is working with the bishops' conference to form planning teams.

On Sept. 18, the symbols of World Youth Day, a cross and an icon of Mary, arrived at Campo de Marte airport. Activities at the event, called "Botafe," a Brazilian expression meaning "believe in it," will include singers, celebrations, testimonies, and Mass.

Archbishop Tempesta, the 61-year-old host of the international youth gathering, is already an active communicator with young people through social networks such as blogs, Twitter and Facebook. He is a member of the Brazilian bishops' social communications commission and is a Cistercian.
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Second date added for singing Filipino priests

St. Joseph the Worker to offer priests a second venue

The Singing Filipino priests will sing out their faith for a second night, Sept. 21, at 7:30 p.m. at St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Richmond. 

Tickets are available at the door for $10 each. All are welcome - first come, first served.

The priests are performing their first concert on Sept. 20 at Our Lady of Mercy Church, 10th Avenue and Kingsway in Burnaby, also at 7:30 p.m.

To reserve tickets in advance, call Gert at 604-544-2572. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

40 days to end abortion

Pro-life organization fights with Scriptural inspiration

In the Bible, 40 is a common number. Jesus fasted in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights and then was tempted by Satan; the Israelites wandered the desert for 40 years in search the Holy Land; and God sent a 40-day flood to wash away the world.

Now pro-life advocates in the Archdiocese of Vancouver are using the number 40 to end abortion.

The campaign 40 days for Life is an international effort to end abortion through prayer, fasting, community outreach, and ongoing vigils outside abortion clinics.

The movement began four years ago. Over 400,000 people have been part of the event, and this year is expected to be the biggest ever.

Over 4,000 lives have been spared since the effort started.

One of the biggest elements of the fall campaign will be a 40 day vigil outside B.C. Women's Hospital, which is the biggest abortion provider in the province.

For more information on events in and around Vancouver email:

Note: Last week’s edition of The B.C. Catholic incorrectly stated the email address for 40 Days for Life. We regret the error.

Storehouses of inspiring Catholic information

Get to know these great Catholic magazines
Gilbert Magazine is the house organ of the American Chesterton Society, a membership organization that promotes the writings and thought of G.K. Chesterton, one of the 20th century's greatest writers. (Click here if you're thinking: "Who is this guy and why haven't I heard of him?") Click here to read a sample issue.


St. Austin Review (StAR). St. Austin Review editors Joseph Pearce, author of biographies of major Catholic literary figures, and Robert Asch describe the magazine as "the premier international journal of Catholic culture, literature, and ideas." Visit the StAR archives here.

Dappled Things is a "literary magazine dedicated to providing a space for emerging writers to engage the literary world from a Catholic perspective." The name of this magazine was inspired by a line from Gerard Manley Hopkins' poem Pied Beauty: "Glory be to God for dappled things." Dappled Things has fiction, features, poetry, essays, art and photography. Click here to visit the Dappled Things archives.

 Radiant Magazine, a Catholic magazine for the fun, fashionable and devout woman. According to the publisher and Franciscan University graduate Rose Rea, Radiant is "a chic, classy Catholic magazine distributed in the US to women ages 15-27. It features Catholic news and articles on issues affecting young women today: health, beauty, politics, love, style and difficult life circumstances."  Digital versions are available online without subscription. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Development Director has wealth of experience

Planned giving will be a major thrust of Development Office, says new Development Director.

The Vancouver Archdiocese's two-year search for the right person to open the doors to a good future for Catholics in Vancouver has borne fruit.

John Nixon, Director of Development
Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, has
announced the appointment of St. Joseph the Worker parishioner and senior public affairs consultant John Nixon to oversee various facets of long range funding planning to better serve the needs of a growing Church.

Nixon will work from the John Paul II Pastoral Centre in downtown Vancouver to implement a comprehensive plan that will range from Project Advance, the major archdiocesan fund raising program, to advising Catholics on how they can make the choice that is right for them if they wish to benefit the archdiocese after their death.

Watch The B.C. Catholic for an upcoming article.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Latin hasn't changed

Several prayers of the Mass in English will soon change
A pew card with the new wording.

I'm hearing some discussion that implies that the Church has decided to change the words we say in some prayers at Mass.  I don't think the Church has changed this since the changes after Vatican II, or was it about 1980 or 1981?

The Church has given us the prayers for Mass in Latin, and these haven't changed since they were given.  What has changed is the English translation of this unchanging Latin.  The fact that our words in English will be changing is only an indication that the translation previously done was inaccurate.

It may be a testament to how poorly it was done that the Vatican released Liturgiam Authenticam in 2001 to explain how translation was supposed to be done.  It seems surprising that this would be needed.

When someone speaks at a UN meeting and everyone listens in his own language via earphones to what is being said, that is because a translator is telling them what he is hearing.  I suspect the translator doesn't have a Liturgiam Authenticam to tell him what to do.

He doesn't need to be told, for instance, not to make anything up, not to make changes to conform to his own beliefs on the subject under discussion, not to express ideas with modern expressions that actually convey different information than what he heard.  If he did make any such changes to what he was hearing, then people in his language group would not be getting the same message as people in all the other language groups.

When people of many languages are participating in the Mass together, for instance at World Youth Day, wouldn't it be lovely to think that they were all saying the same thing at the same time in all the languages of the world?  That is so, with the exception of English.  The Pope says, possibly in Spanish, "The Lord be with you," and I believe the French reply, "Et avec votre esprit."  The Polish reply, "I z duchem twoim."  They, and probably every other language group, are saying, "And with your spirit."  English speakers are saying, "And also with you."

You needn't have studied Latin past the Grade 12 level to realize many of the differences between the Latin from which the English was translated and the English we are given.  Memorial acclamation after the Consecration: 3 options in Latin, and, I assume, every other language, but 4 in English; Opening Prayer for the Mass for 33 of the 34 Sundays in Ordinary Time: one short prayer in Latin, and, I assume, every other language, but 2 in English: one short one and one much longer one as an alternative.

As a interesting exercise, take phrases from the Latin-language novus ordo Mass (that's the one we say) available at this website, and insert them into the Latin to English translator available on the web, if you haven't taken Latin 12, and see what that gives you for the English.

"Lord, I am not worthy" ... and then the Latin says, "ut intres sub tectum meam," and the translator says, "that You should come under my roof," not, as we say, "to receive You." And on and on it goes with all the prayers mentioned in this story about the changing English-language prayers of the Mass.

It's interesting to read Liturgiam Authenticam, but you might find it a bit long.  There's also the Vatican summary of the document.

The Pope has urged memorizing some prayers in Latin.  We could at least have them available for ourselves in print in case we ever need them to pray with others who are praying in Latin.
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Friday, September 9, 2011

All That Remains

Powerful docu-drama will tell the remarkable story of Dr. Takashi Nagai

Have you ever dreamed of becoming a film producer? Become involved in telling one of history's greatest stories of faith and hope because "some stories should never be forgotten."

Ian and Dominic Higgins of Major Oak Entertainment, Ltd are directing a "hybrid" feature film and documentary on the life of Takashi Nagai, physician, Catholic convert and survivor of the bombing of Nagasaki. Nagai's spiritual quest led him from Shintoism to atheism to Catholicism. While battling leukemia and suffering the loss of his wife during the attack, he dedicated the rest of his life to caring for other survivors of the atomic bomb.

The book A Song for Nagasaki, written by Father Paul Glynn, is a powerful account of Nagai's life as a medical student, a physician, a husband and father and later as an atomic bomb survivor who had to care for a son, a daughter and a whole city in ruins. A preview of the book can be found on Google books. A film called Bells of Nagasaki was released in 1950 and was based on a book of the same title written by Takashi Nagai in 1949.

The team at Major Oak hopes to raise $24,000 "to cover the costs of filming the necessary dramatic reconstruction sequences and to enable us to be able to fly out to Japan to interview living relatives of Dr. Nagai and some of the few remaining survivors of that fateful day in August 1945."

Financial contributions to the film project (ranging from $15 to $1000) come with various perks. Ian and Dominic Higgins also directed the film The 13th Day about Our Lady of Fatima.

All That Remains - Feature film Trailer from Ian & Dominic Higgins on Vimeo.

"Your contribution will help us bring the story of a truly remarkable man, whose legacy is an incredible testament to the power of faith, to a worldwide audience, where it belongs." - Major Oak Entertainment, Ltd.

(Hat tip to YIM Catholic

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Give to Africa

Map of Africa, Samuel Mitchell - 1867, Philade...
Parishes offer chance for African hunger relief

There will be an unscheduled second collection Sept. 11 in all parishes in the Archdiocese of Vancouver. The collection is to benefit those affected by the humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa.

It’s considered the greatest hunger crisis in almost two decades for the Horn. An estimated 30,000 children are said to have died with many more expected.

The crisis is even more troubling than its ’80s counterpart because the price of food has increased dramatically in the past 30 years.

Deborah Doane of the World Development Movement, which is a “fairer world trade” lobby – according to the Economist, said in an article with the magazine that aid money only buys half as much as it did almost three decades ago.

The money given from this weekend’s collections will be forwarded to Caritas, the international network of Catholic relief agencies. The Canadian Government has also promised to match all donations made before Sept. 16.

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Missionaries of Charity welcomed to DTES

Mass on feast of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta draws large crowd

On Sept. 5, St. Paul's Church in downtown Vancouver was filled to the brim for a Mass to welcome Blessed Teresa of Calcutta's Missionaries of Charity to their new convent.
Archbishop Miller blesses convent chapel

Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, extended his thanks to the sisters for agreeing to take over for the Franciscan Sisters of the Atonement who left after 85 years of ministry to the poor.

The nuns are in the midst of determining how their ministry will unfold through discussions with local charitable organizations and the archdiocese.

They will, said superior Sister Damascene, continue to pay visits throughout the neighbourhood, something they started to do some years ago.
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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A tradition of change

A missal in Swahili

The Mass has changed many times since year 33

When the third edition of the English-language version of the Roman Missal is implemented on the First Sunday of Advent, it will only be the latest of changes that began in the earliest days of the Church, a CNS story reports.

The changes were called for in Liturgiam Authenticam (The Authentic Liturgy), the document on liturgical translations from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments in 2001.

"It's not the changing that's abnormal. It's not changing that's abnormal," said Jesuit Father John Baldovin, professor of historical and liturgical theology at Boston College, who explores the history of the missal and the new English translation in a video series on the National Jesuit News website.

The format for the Mass has evolved over 2,000 years, from Aramaic to Greek to Latin to vernacular language after the Second Vatican Council, in an effort to help worshippers appreciate the mystery that is God.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Unexpected loss of Catholic channel

Salt + Light free preview ends on B.C. cable channels with no warning to customers

Some cable customers were caught off guard Sept. 1 when their Salt + Light Television channel faded to black. The Canadian Catholic TV network had worked with Canada's major cable providers to broadcast the channel free in August in conjunction with World Youth Day.

Unfortunately some Catholic customers were not aware that this was only a free preview. The Archdiocese of Vancouver received an email Sept. 2 from a Telus customer unhappy with the cancellation of service. The emailer was a low income pensioner who likely didn't see Brent Mattson's Aug. 16 post, which explained that it was a free preview.

The emailer did bring up a good point though. He said the free religious channels offered like Vision contain very little Catholic content.

However Salt + Light and EWTN can be viewed for free via each channel's website.

To view live streaming of Salt + Light click here.

To view live streaming of EWTN click here.
(This post was edited Sept. 6, 2011.)

Abbey loses longtime priest

Funeral to be held Sept. 7

After almost 60 years of consistent service to God, Father Boniface Aicher, OSB has moved on to join the Lord. He died last Tuesday before evening prayer at Westminster Abbey in Mission.

Father Aicher had served at the Abbey since 1948 as the librarian.

His funeral will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 7 at 2:00 p.m. at the Abbey. A reception will follow.

Westminster Abbey is located at 34224 Dewdney Trunk Rd., Mission. For more information contact the Abbey at 604-826-8975.

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