Friday, March 30, 2012

Cuba better now than then

Patience, progress: differing opinions on dealing with Cuba's regime

A woman attending Mass with Pope Benedict XVI holds a sign in Spanish that reads, "God loves you," in Revolution Square in Havana March 28.
The Cuba that Pope Benedict XVI visited March 26-28 is a country where the Catholic Church enjoys significantly more freedom and official recognition than it did when Blessed John Paul II made the first papal visit to the island in 1998.

Since that time, the communist regime has made Christmas a national holiday, and it now allows Communist Party members to identify themselves as practising Catholics. In preparation for this year's 400th anniversary of the Virgin of Charity of El Cobre, the venerated statue was allowed to circulate on a pilgrimage throughout the country, an event that President Raul Castro said "brought our people together, believers and nonbelievers."

Such progress in religious freedom is what church leaders and Pope Benedict himself have said they hope to build on in the aftermath of his visit. But in other dimensions of human rights, the reform record of the Cuban regime has been less encouraging.

For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Opposing oppressive governments is in the Christian DNA

Protest injustice through nonviolence, says Jesuit priest
Father Simon Harak, SJ, spoke about the non-violent nature of Christ at a retreat at Edmonton's
Trinity Lutheran Church March 21. Photo Ramon Gonzalez/CCN
There goes Jesus again, always inspiring the truth and ticking off oppressive governments. The B.C. Catholic has an article from Ramon Gonzalez of the Western Catholic Reporter, about a Jesuit priest who said Christians have the genetics through Christ to survive in oppressive empires:
Jesus never hurt or killed anyone, but took dramatic, direct non-violent action against injustice and state oppression, says Father Simon Harak, SJ.
As his followers, we are called to do the same, Harak said. “We are called to get involved in non-violent direct action that disrupts the machinery of sin.”
The Jesuit priest said the Christian tradition of nonviolence is needed, in part, to resist the death-dealing power of the United States, which, like the Roman Empire, oppresses millions in America and around the world.
“(As Christians) we are not strangers to empires,” Harak said, noting that the early Christians lived under a world dominated by the sole superpower of their time.
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website
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Rivals unite to play Canada's game

Students team up to play hockey at B.C. Games
Rival students from St. Thomas More and Notre Dame (from left) Claudia Funaro (Notre Dame), Justine Johnson, Olivia Ramos (St. Thomas Moore), and Carley Spagnuolo (Notre Dame), stand united inside Vernon's Wesbild Centre. The four students represented the Fraser River Delta zone at the 2012 B.C. Winter Games. Special to The B.C. Catholic
Fierce school rivalries were put aside in late February when four students from rival Catholic schools united to take part in the B.C. Winter Games. I recently caught up with the players to comment on their first place round-robin showing:
St. Thomas More Collegiate, Notre Dame Secondary, and Little Flower Academy are often at sporting odds as their girls' teams face each other in various sports. But four students and a coach put aside rivalries for hockey as they all played for the same team at the B.C. Winter Games in Vernon Feb. 23-26.

"There's always been a rivalry between STM and Notre Dame, so it was kind of cool that we played on the same team," said Grade 8 St. Thomas More student Justine Johnson.

Johnson joined fellow Grade 8 schoolmate Olivia Ramos, and Notre Dame students Claudia Funaro, Grade 9, and Carley Spagnuolo, Grade 8, on the bantam female hockey team for the Fraser River Delta zone.
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Dissecting American political advertising

U.S. TV stations want people to view ads, not to know who pays for them
A screen shot from a Rick Santorum attack ad paid for by a group supporting Barack Obama.
The B.C. Catholic has an illuminating story from CNS' Mark Pattison about the "secretive world" of U.S. political advertising:
When you watch your local news, don't you get reminded time after time that you can go to the station's website for breaking news, updates on traffic and weather, and learn more about anchors Stan and Jess, Rob on sports and Terry with the weather?

You also may get an invite to download an app for your mobile phone where you can summon up the station at any time, day or night.

That may be all fine and good. TV stations want your eyeballs. The more people watch their shows -- both news and entertainment, both on the tube or on the phone -- the more people can watch the commercials.

But while stations want your eyeballs on their programming and the ads that go with it, they seem far less inclined to want your eyeballs on who's paying for those ads. Especially political ads.
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Students 'adopt' a village

St. Francis de Sales students send animals to Haiti
Students from St. Francis de Sales elementary school raised money for the "Free the Children" campaign. From left: Lauren Walker, Katrina Testani, Carissa Tavares-Kwok, Carling Bauer, Danielle Tarazi, and principal Cecilia McLaren. Special to The B.C. Catholic
The B.C. Catholic has a story from Carling Bauer, a grade 7 student from St. Francis de Sales elementary, that shows the spirit of stewardship in young people:
I feel so bad for kids who have nothing, so for Christmas, a few other girls and I teamed up to bring kids in need a special present. Many of the girls knew that giving a small amount would make a difference if we worked together as a group.

Katrina, Lauren, Danielle, Carissa, and I, students from St. Francis de Sales elementary school, came together to donate money to "Free the Children." We sent a goat and cow to Haiti hoping to help the lives of those living in poverty.
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.
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Christian unity is a mandate from Christ

Franciscan sister says ecumenical discussions need to be more than splitting theological hairs
Sister Lorelie Fuchs. Photo Chris Miller/CCN
The B.C. Catholic has an article from Chris Miller of the Western Catholic Reporter about a Franciscan sister's call for greater Christian unity:
Ecumenical dialogue is not about sitting around a table, splitting theological hairs and talking until everyone is in agreement.

That is not what ecumenical dialogue is all about, says Sister Lorelei Fuchs.

Fuchs said ecumenical dialogue is a dialogue of love, mutually informing one another and forming one another, seeing Christ in the other person, regardless of the Church he or she attends.

“These are hard ecumenical times. But I am convinced that the time to continue doing something is when other people stop doing it. Unity is not a Christian hobby; it is really a mandate of Christ,” said Fuchs.
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Birthing Bertha

Bertha WilsonBertha Wilson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Group naming Motion 312, the person-hood definition, after feminist supreme court judge

Canada's first female Supreme Court Justice, Bertha Wilson, is heroically memorialized by abortionists. Wilson, and four other justices, famously opened the door to free rein abortion in Canada in 1988, when they overturned Dr. Henry Morgentaler's 1983 charge for obstructing Canada's then abortion laws to his benefit.

However, a pro-life Facebook page is using this "pro-choice hero" as the face of a potentially pro-life cause.
"Stephen Woodworth's Motion 312 needs a name. We think it should be 'The Bertha Wilson Motion', in honour of the former Canadian feminist Supreme Court of Canada Justice who agreed that some protection of the foetus was needed in Canada," reads the Bertha Wilson Motion Facebook page.
The group focuses on an often overlooked quote by the late justice in regards to fetal rights.
“The precise point in the development of the foetus at which the state’s interest in its protection becomes 'compelling' I leave to the informed judgement of the legislature which is in a position to receive guidance on the subject from all the relevant disciplines. It seems to me, however, that it might fall somewhere in the second trimester,” Wilson wrote as part of her decision in R v Morgentaler 1988.
But can it be true that, Wilson, the great Canadian hero of feminism would actually conceive the idea that maybe there should a limit on abortions? Preposterous! says pro-choice coalitions.
"An anti-choice Facebook page has also been formed, co-opting Mme Justice Bertha Wilson's name in a disrespectful and sneering way," says, a liberal woman's blog. "All the usual anti-choice suspects, like Campaign Life, are gearing up for the fight."
Instead of focusing on what Wilson said about fetal rights in 1988, the group writes in their open letter to Djaouida Sellah (NDP), Carolyn Bennett (Liberal), Maria Mourani (BQ), and Elizabeth May (Green), that opposition MP's should rise in the house during the April 26 debate on Motion 312 and say, "Mr Speaker, with respect, I decline this opportunity to waste this house's time on a matter most Canadians consider settled."

But the issue isn't settled because it's been 24 years since the Morgentaler ruling and the pro-life movement is growing by leaps and bounds. Whether these groups like it or not, the truth is undeniable and human life begins well before a birth, and they frankly have no leg to stand on.

To like the The Bertha Wilson Motion Facebook page click here.
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Catholics need better engagement with online activism

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...
American Papist gives five steps to help win the online war of ideas

Add online activism to your list of fasting, prayer, and demonstrations, says the American Papist, a blog affiliated with The blog's author Thomas Peters says Catholics aren't taking to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media networks to spread their message like other non-Catholic organizations do. He said Catholic enemies are social media savvy and that is a big reason those groups are successful silencing the Church's voice in society.
"The reason Catholics need to start winning at online activism isn’t about numbers on a scoreboard. Social media activism is a new major force which influences the outcome of battles we care about," Peters wrote.
He referenced how Planned Parenthood used an organized social media campaign to restore funding to their organization after the Susan G. Komen Foundation cut funding earlier this year.
"Planned Parenthood and left-wing social media won the battle to dominate the messaging war, mostly because they’ve invested time in training their supporters to be online activists," Peters observed. "Catholics are not well represented when it comes to online social activism. And many of us who are engaged are not well trained or intentional about how we do it."
Peters suggested five steps Catholics could take to make gains in online activism. He said the steps are not that difficult.
"We have to make social activism a habit, like sorting our mail and responding to text messages," Peters stressed. "Consider how much time you spend doing social media or surfing the internet and how much more you would have to show for it, or how much more you could be proud of it, or if you spent a portion of that time engaging in social media activism. The great blessing of social media is that, at the end of the day, the power of a message is based on how many people care enough to relay that message."
To read the full blog post click here.
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Students clean their 'adopted' streets

Program gives back to community

St. John Brebeuf students "adopted" several streets in Abbotsford by cleaning them up in an effort to serve their community. Special to The B.C. Catholic.
The B.C. Catholic profiles the students of St. John Brebeuf high school, and their efforts to keep the streets of Abbotsford clean: 
The Adopt-a-Street program has become a great hands-on learning experience for the students of St. John Brebeuf Secondary School.

In October 2011, Christine Tsou challenged her Business 10 class to serve a practical purpose in our community and to pilot the Adopt-a-Street program.
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Theology of the Body misunderstood as 'theology of the booty' by some

Blessed John Paul II teachings get top billing at life and family seminar
Pavel Reid, Catholic Family Services director, speaks on Theology of the Body at the COLF Seminar. Photo Deborah Gyapong/CCN
Recently Catholic Family Services director Pavel Reid joined several speakers at the Catholic Organization for Life and Family 3rd Seminar on the Family Mar. 22-23, in Ottawa. CCN's Deborah Gyapong was in attendance as Reid and others heralded Theology of the Body as a tool to overcome challenges Catholics face in marriage and sexuality:
According to Archdiocese of Vancouver Catholic Family Services director Pavel Reid, one way to give teenagers a visceral experience of TOB is to teach them swing dancing.

Our culture tries to downplay sex differences and modern forms of dancing involve many people together dancing alone, he said. But in swing dancing men and women have to cooperate in different ways that illustrate important principles.

Reid told the seminar, which drew 110 people from across the country including several bishops, TOB runs to hundreds of pages, but it has sometimes been mischaracterized as a theology of sex, or the “theology of the booty.”
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Freedom! Freedom!

At Mass, Pope recognizes Cubans' struggles, calls freedom a necessity

Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for Bishops, looks at the statue of the Virgin of Charity of El Cobre before Pope Benedict XVI celebrates Mass at Antonio Maceo Revolution Square in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, March 26.

Celebrating an outdoor Mass on his first day in Cuba, Pope Benedict XVI acknowledged the struggles of the country's Catholics after half a century of communism and described human freedom as a necessity for both salvation and for social justice.

The Pope spoke March 26 in Antonio Maceo Revolution Square, in Cuba's second-largest city. He had arrived in the country a few hours earlier, after spending three days in Mexico. The Vatican had said the square would hold 200,000 people and it was full; several thousand also filled the streets leading to the square. Cuban President Raul Castro, who welcomed the Pope at the airport, sat in the front row for Mass.

For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

There's hope for social progress

In Mexico, Pope says social change will come with revival of faith

Visiting Latin America for the second time in his pontificate, Pope Benedict XVI offered a message of hope for social progress rooted in a revival of Catholic faith.

The overriding message of the Pope's public statements during his three days in Mexico, March 23-26, was that this troubled country, and the region in general, cannot solve their problems, which include poverty, inequality, corruption, and violence, by following the prescriptions of secular ideologies.

Instead, the Pope said, peace and justice in this world require a divinely inspired change in the human heart.

For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Monday, March 26, 2012

D & P to slash jobs after government decreases funding

Executive director says it will be a difficult year for lay organization

The Conservative government has decided to decrease funding to Development and Peace by 65 percent. The B.C. Catholic has Michael Swan's CNS story:
The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace is facing deep program reductions and staff cuts after the Canadian government enacted a 65 percent cut in funding to the 45-year-old Catholic lay movement. 
"It's going to be a very difficult period for the organization," said Michael Casey, Development and Peace executive director. "It's not just staff here or the institution here in Canada. You look at the impact it's going to have on the partners."
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Popemobile cruises in Mexico

Holy Father arrives as 'pilgrim of faith, of hope, and of love' 
Pope Benedict XVI, wearing a sombrero, arrives to celebrate Mass at Bicentennial Park in Silao, Mexico, March 25. CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano
The B.C. Catholic will have ongoing coverage of Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Mexico and Cuba. Here's an account of the Pope's arrival in Mexico from Francis X. Rocca:
Arriving in Mexico on his second papal visit to Latin America March 23, Pope Benedict XVI said he came as a "pilgrim of faith, of hope, and of love," promoting the cause of religious freedom, social progress and the Catholic Church's charitable works.  
Bells tolled and the assembled crowd cheered as Pope Benedict XVI appeared through the door of his Alitalia plane at Guanajuato Internal Airport in central Mexico. He was greeted by Mexican President Felipe Calderon and other dignitaries, including Archbishop Jose Martin Rabago of Leon and Archbishop Carlos Aguilar Retes of Tlalnepantla, president of the Mexican bishops' conference and the Latin American bishops' council, CELAM.
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.
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Ukrainian major archbishop to visit Vancouver

New Westminster eparchy will have opportunity to meet and pray with young leader

Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, will visit Vancouver on the Labour Day weekend this year. The 42-year-old bishop will use the weekend to visit the New Westminster Eparchy (diocese) before he heads to Winnipeg to attend the synod of Ukrainian Catholic bishops Sept. 9-16.

Major Archbishop Shevchuk will be visiting B.C. from Aug. 29 to Sept. 4. He is expected to bless the newly renovated Bishop Jerome ChimyEparchial Centre in New Westminster. After the blessing there will be a prayer service and reception at Holy Eucharist Cathedral.

He will also be the main celebrant at the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at Protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary (St. Mary's) Ukrainian Church in Vancouver and attend a formal banquet in the parish hall afterward.

For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Alberta woman returns from Nepal to lead Development and Peace

Mary Martin says Canada's excessive consumption is unfair compared to developing countries

Mary Martin and friend Mukhiya take a break on Gokyo and enjoy the sight of Mount Everest in the background. Photos supplied to the Western Catholic Reporter
A Grande Praire woman returning from Nepal to lead her diocese's Development and Peace program is the subject of the latest B.C. Catholic story from Ramon Gonzalez of the Western Catholic Reporter:
Travelling from London to Nepal on the back of a truck in the early 1970s opened a new world for Mary Martin. She met many people and crossed many countries along the way. But she fell in love with Nepal and returned twice to the small south Asian nation to work among the poor.

Now, back in Grande Prairie, the 64-year-old physiotherapist at Queen Elizabeth II Hospital is hard at work trying to raise the profile of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP), and raising awareness of the needs of the developing world. She has been serving as CCODP coordinator for the Archdiocese of Grouard McLennan for almost two years.

One of Martin’s main goals is to create awareness about the developing world “because people have no idea what’s going on in developing countries,” she says matter-of-factly.
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Burns doesn't burn 'Catholicism'

Documentary reveals catholic nature of the Church

"Word on Fire" founder Father Robert Barron, seen here on location at the Sea of Galilee, filmed his 10-part Catholicism series all over the world. Word on Fire / Special to The B.C. Catholic
B.C. Catholic contributor Alistair Burns reviews episodes 1-5 of Catholicism: 
Explaining the basics of Catholicism to friends, family, and curious strangers is not as easy as it seems, but now a new documentary series offers to do the heavy lifting when it comes to explanations.

To help answer the "why we believe" aspect of our faith, "Word on Fire," a Catholic media organization started by Chicago priest Father Robert Barron, has released a 10-hour series called Catholicism. The presentation is ably hosted by Father Barron.
Read the full review at The B.C. Catholic website.

That was then and this is....

Decades of repression fail to stifle the Church in Belarus, archbishop says

What a difference between now and the time of Russian domination before the breakup of the U.S.S.R. in what were then called satellite countries! This CNS story shows the situation now seems far better in some respects, but certainly not in all.

Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz of Pinsk, Belarus, told a Catholic high school audience March 13 how he "grew up in the Soviet Union in a time of persecution" and that "now there is another type of persecution."

If Catholics live lives that are predicated on Jesus Christ, they can avoid falling prey to these types of persecution, he told the crowd of 100 that filled the school library. "Our faith must be a light in our daily life."

For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Helen's saints skate for an Admiral cause

Grade 7 students organize skating fundraiser for needy school

Students from St. Helen's Elementary School present Admiral Seymour Elementary School teacher Carrie Gelson with a cheque for $655, and other items Gelson "wished for" in an open letter to the City of Vancouver. From left: Alyssa Sommer, Carrie Gelson, Anita Didak, Bianca Moretto, and Sophia Govorcin. Special to The B.C. Catholic.
I had the opportunity to talk to Lori Moretto recently about the efforts of her daughter, and other students at St. Helen's elementary, who organized a fundraiser for a needy inner city school:
Lori Moretto was saddened when she picked up the Sept. 25 edition of the Vancouver Sun. She read a story of a humble inner-city elementary school teacher who had just had enough.

It wasn't because of the lack of money, the stress, or the overcrowded classroom, it was because of the sickening sight of watching Vancouver's most vulnerable come to school lacking food, clothing, and self-respect.
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.
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Alberta's Education Act tramples parental rights

Schools subject to province's human rights legislation not court rulings
Liberal MLA Laurie Blakeman, at Edmonton's 2011 Pride Parade, says parents have authority over their children at home, but once children go to school, the Education Act takes precedence.
It appears government's secular indoctrination of children isn't just happening in B.C., Quebec, and Ontario. The B.C. Catholic has a Western Catholic Reporter story about Alberta's new Education Act. The act will be enforced by the province's (sometimes anti-Christian) human rights legislation:
Under Alberta’s proposed Education Act, the curriculum of all schools will be subject to the Alberta human rights legislation and by extension, its quasi-judicial tribunals.

“These values, these tribunal rulings — not court of law rulings — will now be forced in every course and every program of study in Alberta,” said Patty Marler, the government liaison for the Alberta Home Education Association.
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Pope appoints retired bishop with a checkered past to Vatican council

Bishop once accused of improprieties 
Retired Bishop Walter Mixa of Augsburg, Germany. Photo by Christian Charisius/CNS, Reuters
The B.C. Catholic has a story from Carol Glatz of Catholic News Service about Pope Benedict XVI's appointment of a German bishop with a questionable past: 
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI has appointed a German bishop who had been accused of financial irregularities and hitting children to the Vatican's health care council.

Retired Bishop Walter Mixa of Augsburg was named a member of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry March 21.
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Abby school takes classes outside

Students embrace Sts. Bernadette and Francis of Assisi's love of creation
Kindergarteners from St. James and St. Ann's School engage the outdoors at Fishtrap Creek. This fall, students from the school will participate in outdoor classes. Karen Murphy Corr / Special to The B.C. Catholic
The B.C. Catholic has a new story from contributor Karen Murphy Corr about outdoor Kindergarten classes at St. James and St. Ann's school:
Blessed Pope John Paul II loved skiing, hiking, and mountain climbing. St. Bernadette Soubirous encountered the Blessed Virgin in a grotto on the banks of a river. St. Francis of Assisi loved all creation, considering all of nature part of his brotherhood.

Starting next school year the kindergarten students at St. James and St. Ann's School (SJSA) in Abbotsford will get an opportunity to embrace the outdoors as part of their faith education. The school is about to become the first Catholic school in the province to offer an outdoor education program as part of the daily curriculum.

"Children spend more and more time in front of the TV and playing video games; they have lost their connection with nature. We know from health research and statistics that children of this generation are less physically active and less fit," explained Terri Sask, principal of SJSA, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Boys, girls taught better when separated, says expert

Genders learn differently
Andrew Pudema speaks at the Western Canadian Catholic Home School Conference.
Photo Chris Miller/Western Catholic Reporter/CCN
 The B.C. Catholic has story from Chris Miller of the Western Catholic Reporter, about the myth that boys and girls learn the same way:
 Teachers who understand the differences between boys and girls will be more effective in the classroom, an American educator told homeschooling parents from across the West.
“Almost universally, when you separate boys and girls, you can teach them better, behavioural problems go down, and all sorts of things improve,” said Andrew Pudewa, keynote speaker at the annual Western Canadian Catholic Home School Conference.
Atheist psychologists have been promoting the notion that boys and girls learn in the same ways, Pudewa told the March 15-17 conference held at Providence Renewal Centre.
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Clock ticking in Cuba

Protests ramp up ahead of papal trip to Cuba; arrests decried

Berta Soler, left, leader of Ladies in White, a group started by family members of imprisoned dissidents, poses with members of the group in Havana.

A Catholic News Service story reveals that protests in Cuba get a government response in the U.S., in spite of the fact that those imprisoned by their unfriendly government have all been released.

With the clock ticking down to Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Cuba March 26-28, efforts to ramp up peaceful public protests of government policies were being met by government crackdowns.

More than 70 members of the "Damas de Blanco," or Ladies in White, were arrested during protests March 17 and 18 as they attempted to stage marches from the home of their late leader Laura Pollan to mark the anniversary of a 2003 crackdown on dissidents known as Cuba's Black Spring. They were released a few hours later, according to wire service reports.

For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tapping at heaven's door

Seminarian keeps a foot in the dance world

Seminarians at the Pontifical North America College kneel before being installed as acolytes in Rome March 4.

David Rider still does the occasional barrel roll, but now he usually does it wearing a Roman collar. He's kept his tap shoes since entering the seminary, but his goal has changed dramatically. "I just want to be a normal parish priest" who just wants to "celebrate the Mass devoutly, hear confessions, baptize babies, and bring God to people in their suffering and their joy," the seminarian said.

Vatican statistics show a continuing rise in the number of candidates for the priesthood worldwide. The data: a 4 per cent increase in 2005-2010, going from 114,439 seminarians to 118,990 candidates for the priesthood, are clearly illustrated in the bustling halls of Rider's seminary, the Pontifical North American College, where the current enrolment is 247 seminarians.

For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Death discussed over beers

People being killed in their own homes

Dr. Nick Pavlovsky. PM photo by Frank Flegel

The B.C. Catholic has a story by Frank Flegel of the Prairie Messenger about a euthanasia discussion that took place over a few pints at a Regina pub:

Evil and the culture of death thrives because good people do nothing.

Variations of that phrase have been around ever since Irish politician and philosopher Edmund Burke first uttered them in the 1700s. They were heard again March 16 in the Theology on Tap euthanasia lecture delivered by Dr. Nick Pavlovsky to a group of Catholic young adults.

Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.
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Monday, March 19, 2012

Convivium builds faith in our public conversation

New magazine hopes to engage Canadians by bringing back faith into our common lives

Convivium editor Father Raymond de Souza converses with former Conservative cabinet minister Stockwell Day at the Vancouver Club during the B.C. launch of the magazine.

Does religion have a place in the public square? Father Raymond de Souza thinks so, and so do millions of Canadians, but he said some feel they don't have an outlet.

That's why he is lending his name and journalistic talents to Convivium, a new intellectual magazine that he hopes will establish a community of faith in Canadian society.

For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Feast of Canada's patron saint

St. Joseph's understated ways fit with Canadian society
Feast Day: March 19
Died: 1st century
Patron of: against doubt, against hesitation, Americas, bursars, cabinetmakers, Canada, carpenters, Catholic Church , confectioners, craftsmen, Croatian people , dying people, emigrants, engineers, expectant mothers, families, fathers, holy death, house hunters, immigrants, interior souls, laborers, married people, Oblates of Saint Joseph, people in doubt, people who fight Communism, pioneers, protection of the Church, social justice, travellers, unborn children, Universal Church , Vatican II, wheelwrights, workers, many more...
I think it's time for St. Joseph to pipe up a bit. He only raised our Lord and Saviour, yet he never gets any glory. Just about everybody lifted a pint of something to St. Patrick on Saturday, but once again St. Joseph flies under the radar two days later.

Although when you think about it, St. Joseph has no words attributed to him in the Bible. So maybe his understated feast day makes sense.

The following is an excerpt on St. Joseph by EWTN:

The glorious St. Joseph was lineally descended from the greatest kings of the tribe of Judah, and from the most illustrious of the ancient patriarchs; but his true glory consisted in his humility and virtue. The history of his life hath not been written by men; but his principal actions are recorded by the Holy Ghost himself God entrusted him with the education of his divine Son, manifested in the flesh. In this view he was espoused to the Virgin Mary.

Read the full biography here.  

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Influential assassinated Pakistani leader wins human rights award

The late Pakistani minister Shahbaz Bhatti and anti-trafficking activist Susan Trimarco receive John Diefenbaker Defender of Human Rights Awards
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, award recipient Susana Trimarco,
and MP Joy Smith. Photo Deborah Gyapong/CCN

The B.C. Catholic has an article from Deborah Gyapong that covers the recent 2012 John Diefenbaker Defender of Human Rights Award ceremonies:

OTTAWA (CCN)—The Canadian government recognized two outstanding defenders of religious freedom and human rights, granting awards to the assassinated Pakistani Minister Shahbaz Bhatti and Argentinian anti-trafficking activist Susana Trimarco.

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird presented the awards at the 2012 John Diefenbaker Defender of Human Rights Award ceremony Mar. 14 at the former Ottawa City Hall which was named after Diefenbaker last year.

Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.
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Government butts into religion in Ukraine

Ukrainian Catholic leader calls shrine legislation 'clear threat'
Ukrainian Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Kiev-Halych, the new head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church.
CNS photo/Paul Haring
Cardinal Timothy Dolan isn't the only Catholic leader dealing with a meddlesome government. Catholic News Service reports Ukraine's government is backing legislation to transfer control of Christian shrines to the Orthodox Church. Which could cause a whole host a problems according to Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk: 

KIEV, Ukraine (CNS) -- The major archbishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Church said government-backed legislation to transfer control of key national Christian shrines to the Orthodox Church was "a clear threat to the interdenominational peace and agreement established in our state during recent years.

"Do the authors of this bill understand that, by their initiative, they are again pushing our motherland into a whirlpool of interdenominational -- and in this case interethnic -- confrontation with unpredictable consequences?" asked Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Kiev-Halych.

Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.
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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Don't forget to make a toast to St. Patrick today

Great saint embodied the good ol' Irishman
Feast Day: March 17
Born: between 387 and 390 at Scotland
Died: between 461 and 464 at Saul, County Down, Ireland
Patron of: Ireland, Nigeria, Montserrat, New York, Boston, Engineers, against snakes
Before heading out to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, have a read of the saint's biography from EWTN:

The field of St. Patrick's labors was the most remote part of the then known world. The seed he planted in faraway Ireland, which before his time was largely pagan, bore a rich harvest: whole colonies of saints and missionaries were to rise up after him to serve the Irish Church and to carry Christianity to other lands. Whether his birthplace, a village called Bannavem Taberniae, was near Dunbarton-on-the-Clyde, or in Cumberland, or at the mouth of the Severn, or even in Gaul near Boulogne, has never been determined, and indeed the matter is of no great moment. We know of a certainty that Patrick was of Romano-British origin, and born about the year 389. His father, Calpurnius, was a deacon, his grandfather a priest, for at this time no strict law of celibacy had been imposed on the Christian clergy. Patrick's own full name was probably Patricius Magonus Sucatus.

Read the full biography here.
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Fundraiser helps unique organization

L'Arche's mission of compassion inspires an above and beyond attitude, says volunteer
Philip Beeby is proud of his collaborative work, Culture. The paintings were showcased as part of L'Arche's annual fundraising event. Nathan Rumohr / The B.C. Catholic 
Recently I had the opportunity to attend L'Arche's The Art of Being Together fundraiser. The event showcased art from local artists and collaborative pieces from artists and L'Arche residents:

Deborah Der calls L'Arche a "life saver" for stepping up and helping her son Conrad when the provincial government failed him.

"Conrad has been with L'Arche for approximately 20 years. He started out in their woodworking shop, which the government cut all funding to four years ago," Der said while volunteering at L'Arche's third annual Art of Being Together fundraiser March 10 at the National Nikkei Museum and Heritage Centre in Burnaby. "He was basically thrown out on the street."

Conrad suffered brain damage as a toddler and it left him developmentally disabled. However, this doesn't hold Conrad back from doing activities.

"If it wasn't for L'Arche, I do not know what we could have done nor what would have happened to Conrad's emotional life."

Read the full article at The B.C. Catholic website.
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Provincial governments are addicted to gambling revenue, says study

IMFC decries gambling addiction of governments
Photo Darren Hester/
The B.C. Catholic has a Deborah Gyapong article that might advocate gambling addiction intervention for provincial leaders:

As Ontario explores setting up casinos in Ottawa and the Greater Toronto Area, an Ottawa-based think tank has decried the addiction to gambling revenues of provincial governments.

The Institute of Marriage and Family Canada (IMFC) study released Mar. 15 said provincial governments are “mired in debt” and looking for ways to increase the $13 billion a year that gambling already rakes in.

“Provincial governments in Canada are addicted to gambling revenue in the same way that they are addicted to tax revenue,” says the study. In tough economic times, the federal government is paying 13 per cent of its revenues to service its debt and provinces are also “mired in debt.”
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.
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Vatican II still a compass for the Church

Scholar urges Catholics take time to revisit  documents
The presidents of the Second Vatican Council are pictured during a council meeting inside St. Peter's Basilica in this undated file photo. CNS file photo.
The B.C. Catholic has an article that reminds Catholic's not ignore the 50 year old Vatican II teaching:

The 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council is an opportunity to revisit the clear teaching of its documents and reject distortions and false interpretations that have gained traction in the Catholic Church, according to a council scholar.
Alan Schreck, professor of theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio, spoke at the Graymoor Spiritual Life Center in Garrison March 13 on "Vatican II: World Church or Church of the Little Flock?"

Vatican II is still a sure compass for the Church today, Schreck said, and each Pope since the council reaffirmed its teachings as "God's teachings in our time." Nonetheless, he said, there has been tumult as the postconciliar Church sought to understand what the council meant and how to implement it.
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Documents from Vatican II can be found here.
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Friday, March 16, 2012

B.C. Lions take on school basketball team for good cause

The Grey Cup
Fundraiser to help grade 8 boy fighting cancer

Tonight members of the Grey Cup Champions B.C. Lions will trade in the pigskin for a basketball. The CFL's top team takes on the St. John Brebeuf Bears at 7 p.m. at St. John Brebeuf Regional Secondary in Abbotsford. Proceeds from the event will benefit grade 8 student Josh and his fight against cancer.

Regular B.C. Catholic contributor Karen Murphy Corr detail's Josh's story in this Abby News article:

It’s Josh’s second fight with the disease. He has rhabdomyosarcoma, which was first diagnosed just days after his birthday in December of 2009.

(The family has requested that their last name not be published.)

The soft-tissue cancer tumour was in remission after treatment until it was diagnosed again in January.

When a former employee of Josh’s father heard the news, she turned to her current employer Kim Chapdelaine, the wife of BC Lions offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Jacques Chapdelaine.

Read the full story here.

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