Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Young adult Catholics gather for new task force

Gerard Garcia (left), chairman of the recently formed Commission
for Young Adult Ministry (CYAM), poses with his fellow members
at a recent meeting.
Commission plans to focus on 18- to 35-year-olds in the Archdiocese of Vancouver

Alistair Burns profiles a new commission dedicated to addressing the needs of 18- to 35-year-old Catholics:
"This is a commission made up of young adults who come from different backgrounds," said CYAM chairman Gerard Garcia, a consultant for the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry (OYYAM).

He explained that the commission is one of the latent responses to the Archdiocesan Synod held in 2000. The commission will meet monthly as an advisory body to the OYYAM team.

There are 452,000 registered Catholics in the archdiocese; 33 per cent of them are between the ages of 25 and 44.

"At a time when so many people in their 20s are without direction and hope, this initiative hits the sweet spot," exclaimed Ray Tarnai, an engineering project manager who is a CYAM member.
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Anti-poverty activists join hands in Saskatoon

Concerned citizens stand hand-in-hand and try to span the
Broadway Bridge in Saskatoon. Kiply Lukan Yaworski / CCN

Prairie city marks Poverty Awareness Week with a range of activities 

The B.C. Catholic has a story by Kiply Lukan Yaworski from the Prairie Messenger about the recent events surrounding Poverty Awareness Week in Saskatoon. Bishop Donald Bolen of Saskatoon served as the honourary chair:
"The poor in our midst include a significant number of children. They include seniors, low wage earners, Aboriginal peoples, newly arrived refugees and immigrants, and those with disabilities," he said.

"People living in poverty often have to choose between a roof over their head and purchasing the food they need to live," Bishop Bolen added, encouraging action and involvement.

"Join a support group working to reduce and eliminate poverty; challenge myths and stereotypes about poverty; discuss poverty solutions with others; support policies that help to address poverty," he suggested. "Now is the moment to address the reality of poverty and to do so in creative ways which build up community and sow seeds of hope in the lives of all."
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Cardinal-elect has a few post-synod words

Evangelization more than strategy, says Archbishop Luis Tagle
Catholic News Agency interviewed a cardinal-elect who said he was encouraged by the recent bishops' synod in Rome, which emphasized an encounter with the risen Christ as the basis of all evangelization.

Archbishop Luis A. Tagle of the Philippines attended the Oct. 7-28 new evangelization synod in Rome, during which it was announced that the Manila prelate was among six bishops to be appointed cardinal. The group will be elevated at a consistory to be held Nov. 24.

Archbishop Tagle will be appointed to the Congregation for Catholic Education upon his elevation. At 55, he will become the world's second youngest cardinal. The Announcement came three days after the canonization of the second Filipino saint, Pedro Calungsod.

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

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Prime minister recognizes Delta Catholic teacher

Wanda Graham (left) poses for a photo with Delta - Richmond-East
MP Kerry-Lynne D. Findlay, who presented a Prime Minister's
Teaching Award for teaching excellence to Graham at an
assembly at Sacred Heart Elementary School Oct. 19.
Nathan Rumohr / The B.C. Catholic.
Wanda Graham receives a teaching award for her use of technology in her classroom

The B.C. Catholic
has a story about a Sacred Heart Elementary School teacher who recently received the Prime Minister's Teaching Award for teaching excellence:
Four years ago Wanda Graham received one of her greatest teaching challenges: incorporating 21st-century technologies into her classroom. The Grade 6 teacher from Sacred Heart Elementary School, then 60, barely knew how to use her computer, let alone how to incorporate YouTube videos and use digital whiteboards.

But after persevering and learning to utilize the new technologies she is now referred to as the "video queen" by her teaching peers. Her hard work also led her to be recognized as one of the best teachers in Canada: she has won the Prime Minister's Teaching Award for teaching excellence.

"My response to the new technology was, 'You're kidding me, I can't do this, this is way beyond me,'" Graham told The B.C. Catholic after receiving the award Oct. 19 at an assembly in Sacred Heart's gymnasium.

Graham, who started teaching in the 1970s, now says she won't go back to the days of chalk boards.

"I wouldn't go back to the old way if you paid me; I would quit first. I wouldn't do it! It was so boring!"
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Supreme Court agrees to hear prostitution case

Christian and family groups welcome the news
The Supreme Court of Canada building.
Deborah Gyapong reports that the Supreme Court of Canada has agreed to review the Ontario Court of Appeal's decision to uphold a lower court's ruling to strike down some of Canada's prostitution laws:
The Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL) welcomed the news.

“With our partners REAL Women of Canada and Christian Legal Fellowship, we have been intervenors in this case from its beginning in Ontario Superior Court,” said CCRL executive director Joanne McGarry. “Our position was and remains that while the law is not perfect, any liberalization of it would not improve prostitutes’ safety, and would make it easier to lure and exploit vulnerable girls and women”

“Evidence from other jurisdictions suggests that when legalization occurs, the illegal side of the business continues to flourish,” she said in a statement.

Real Women of Canada national vice president Gwendolyn Landolt says she and the other two groups expect to file their intention to intervene by next April.

Prostitution is not illegal in Canada, but activities surrounding it are: soliciting for the purposes of prostitution; running a brothel or bawdy house; and living off the avails of prostitution or pimping. The lower court decision struck down these laws as unconstitutional because they violated the Section 7 Charter rights of security of the person. The Ontario Court of Appeal did not strike down the law against soliciting, but struck down the other two.
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Synod closes in Rome

Faith overcomes spiritual blindness, Pope says
Pope Benedict XVI leads a closing session of the Synod of Bishops on the new evangelization. CNS photo / L'Osservatore Romano via Reuters.
Catholic News Agency reports that at Mass on Sunday at the end of the bishops' synod on the new evangelization, the Pope reflected on the need for faith in overcoming spiritual blindness and also appealed on behalf of the victims of Hurricane Sandy.

Pope Benedict XVI made his remarks at the close of the Oct. 7-28 synod on the new evangelization in Rome, which gathered bishops from the world to discuss the transmission of the Christian faith in the modern world.

Synod fathers have released a document of 58 propositions about the new evangelization. Pope Benedict will review the findings of the synod and will write a post-synodal apostolic exhortation, after considering their propositions.

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

Monday, October 29, 2012

A miracle leads to a lost limb and financial battle

David Jimenez
David Jimenez sues the church after the crucifix he cleaned in gratitude fell on his leg

Delia Jimenez recovered from cancer after he husband, David Jimenez, prayed daily to the crucifix outside St. Patrick’s Church in Newburgh, New York. David, upon this miracle, offered to clean the crucifix in thanks. Sadly, this goodwill gesture turned sour when the heavy marble statue fell off its pedestal and onto his leg. Doctors were forced to amputate below the knee.

Now, the father of two is suing the church for $3 million. He accuses the priest for negligence, expressing that the statue was unstable, and that permission should not have been given. While the family received donations from the church congregation, Jimenez’s lawyer, Kevin Kitson, explained that, “the insurance company for the diocese has made collecting additional money difficult.”

Read the complete story at Mail Online.

Abortion out of favour in Texas

Court allows state to de-fund Planned Parenthood
Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, centre, leads the first "Pilgrimage for Life" hosted by the Texas Catholic Conference in Huntsville Nov. 24, 2008. CNS photo / Erik Noriega, Texas Catholic Herald.
Here is a Catholic News Agency story which reports that a federal appeals court has declined a rehearing for Planned Parenthood, which was trying to block Texas's effort to defund its clinics in the state.

"Today's ruling affirms yet again that in Texas the Women's Health Program has no obligation to fund Planned Parenthood and other organizations that perform or promote abortion," Texas governor Rick Perry said in a statement Oct. 25.

"In Texas we choose life, and we will immediately begin defunding all abortion affiliates to honour and uphold that choice."

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

Archbishop Miller explores Vatican II

The council is 'a special grace' for the Church
Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, holds up a book containing
the documents of the Second Vatican Council. He gave a talk about
the council at St. Mary's Church Oct. 16.
Nathan Rumohr / The B.C. Catholic.
Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, recently talked to a group gathered at St. Mary's Church about the historic Second Vatican Council:
"In the whole history of the Church there have been only 21 ecumenical councils, and in the last nearly 500 years only three: The Council of Trent, Vatican I, and Vatican II," Archbishop Miller said. "You can see this was a special grace for our day."

The archbishop's lecture, that focused on the history of Vatican II and four of its documents, was hosted by the
Mysteria Lucis Chapter of the Order of Preachers, a group for laity.

Archbishop Miller said the world was shocked by the announcement of the council by Blessed Pope John XXIII in 1959.

He added the Pope's desire for another council was an inspiration. "'The idea came to me like a flash of heavenly light,'" the archbishop said, quoting the "Good Pope."
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Teaching that abortion is wrong is bullying?

Ontario's education minister says that Catholic doctrine regarding termination of pregnancy is a form of 'misogyny'

Students enthusiastically participate in the National March for Life Rally
in Ottawa May 12. According to Ontario's education minister, teaching
students about the Catholic doctrine of the right to life is misogynistic
and a form of bullying. Chris Watt / CNS.
According to Laurel Broten, Ontario's education minister, teaching that abortion is wrong is a form of bullying:

Speaking at Queens Park Oct. 10, the minister characterized the practice as "misogyny."

"We're very clear with the passage of Bill 13 (Ontario's controversial anti-bullying law) that Catholic teaching cannot be taught in our schools that violates human rights and which brings a lack of acceptance to participation in schools," Broten said.

"Bill 13 is about tackling misogyny; taking away a woman's right to choose could arguably be one of the most misogynistic actions that one could take."

The minister was reacting to the sponsorship by three Progressive Conservative MPPs of a press conference for Campaign Life Coalition's Defund Abortion campaign. Broten's Liberal Party accused the PCs of trying to reopen the abortion debate in Ontario.

Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Friday, October 26, 2012

St. Kateri peaks the archdiocese's 'Pinterest'

Vancouver Catholics celebrate saint's canonization Oct. 28 with Mass at Holy Rosary Cathedral
A screenshot of the archdiocese's Pinterest page displaying the prayer
card of St. Kateri Tekkakwitha.
Want to see what's in store for the Archdiocese of Vancouver's St. Kateri Tekakwitha celebration? Then visit the archdiocese's Pinterest page and download the official Mass booklet.

The page also displays the saint's official prayer card, which will be handed out after the Mass.

Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, will celebrate the Mass, which starts at 2:30 p.m. Holy Rosary Cathedral is located at 480 Dunsmuir St.

Woman religious receives Order of B.C.

Sister Nancy Brown awarded honour for work with abused youth
Sister Nancy Brown (centre) smiles during her investment ceremony. She is flanked
by Premier Christy Clark and Lieutenant-Governor Steven Point. Sister Brown is
the pastoral counsellor and ombudsman at Covenant House.
Government of British Columbia / Special to The B.C. Catholic
Recently Covenant House's Sister Nancy Brown was awarded the Order of B.C. Alistair Burns reports:
The Sisters of Charity of Halifax now proudly call one of their own a recipient of the highest civilian honour for merit in the province. Sister Nancy Brown, the pastoral counsellor at Covenant House, was formally invested in the Order of British Columbia (OBC) by Lieutenant-Governor Steven Point at Government House in Victoria in September.

"I'm happy to receive this on behalf of religious women. I was surprised initially," said Sister Brown.

She was nominated by Covenant House in recognition of her dedication to assisting women and homeless youth, as well as battling against the twin evils of human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

"The issues I've been working on are issues most people are not comfortable with," she stated. "If this award brings greater awareness to those issues, then I'm happy with it."
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Backlash to pro-lifers receiving queen's medals

MP both lauded and vilified for awarding activists with honour

Maurice Vellacott

The B.C. Catholic has a story by Deborah Gyapong about some of the backlash and support Conservative MP Maurice Vellacott has received for awarding the Queen's Diamond Jubilee medals to prominent pro-life activists Linda Gibbons and Mary Wagner:
Some mainstream media (MSM) reports have accused Vellacott of awarding convicted criminals. Even Liberal Leader Bob Rae weighed in, telling journalists, “it’s bizarre in my view to be giving medals to people who are in – who are in jail for harassment or for causing mischief or for breaking probation.”

Representative of pro-life organizations, however, applaud the awards and find the MSM criticism hypocritical.

“You cannot give the Order of Canada to someone like [abortionist] Henry Morgentaler and complain about this award,” said Catholic Civil Rights League executive director Joanne McGarry. Morgentaler also spent time in prison, sentenced to 18 months for illegally performing abortions outside a hospital. His defiance of the law led to Canada’s abortion laws being struck down.
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Pope's former butler goes to prison

Jail sentence of 18 months for Paolo Gabriele
Pope Benedict XVI's former butler, Paolo Gabriele, centre, with his lawyer, Cristiana Arru, right, during the final session of his trial. CNS photo / L'Osservatore Romano.
Here is a Catholic News Agency story with the latest in this theft case.

The Pope's ex-butler was taken to prison Oct. 25 for stealing his boss's private documents and leaking them to the press in the so-called "Vatileaks" scandal.

When Italian police officers searched Paolo Gabriele's apartment May 23, after the publication of several confidential letters in Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi's book Your Holiness, they discovered approximately 1,000 incriminating documents, 82 boxes of evidence, a nugget of gold, a cheque in the Pope's name, and a 16th-century copy of  The Aeneid. However the former butler's sentence focused solely on his theft of confidential papal documents.

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

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Archbishop asks U.S. voters to reflect on faith first

Philadelphia's prelate reminds Americans tenets of faith 'require absolute adherence'
Archbishop Charles Chaput in Rome Oct. 20. He said voters must follow Church teachings first and foremost.  Paul Haring / CNS.

The B.C. Catholic website has a report from Rome concerning the upcoming American election.
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia is encouraging Catholic voters to place their faith above their allegiance to political parties.
He echoed the calls of other American bishops to have their flocks consider their faith in the voting booth.
“We do believe in the separation of church and state, but we don’t believe in the separation of faith from our political life,” he said.
Read the full article here.

Public-health-care costs spiralling up

A new report by the Fraser Institute points out the real cost of public
health care in Canada and debunks the myth that the universal system
is free.
Study shows universal system financed by 'substantial taxpayer-funded cost'

The B.C. Catholic has a story by Alistair Burns about a study from the Fraser Institute that looks at the cost of the public health-care system:
Many foreigners, and even some Canadians, think our universal health care is free. The truth is our taxes pay for the system. Now a new report from the Fraser Institute is casting some light on the real cost.

"One often hears about 'free' health care," the study points out. This statement "entirely ignores the substantial taxpayer-funded cost."

The study, "The Price of Public-Health-Care Insurance," by Nadeem Esmail and Milagros Palacios, puts forth a multi-layered answer to clear up the confusion. They noted we do not incur direct expenses for our use of health care and we cannot specify the value of our individual contribution to public insurance.

"If average Canadian families have a better idea of how much health care costs, they can hold their government better to account," Esmail commented.
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

An institute forming Catholics in the ways of St. Therese of Lisieux

A statue of St. Therese of Lisieux at the National Shrine of
St. Therese in Darien, Ill. Nancy Wiechec / CNS.
Spirituality of saint a key to new evangelization, says director

The B.C. Catholic
has a story by Deborah Gyapong about the St. Therese Institute of Faith and Mission in Bruno Sask:

Five years ago, Jim Anderson knew little about St. Therese of Lisieux when he applied for a post directing a formation program based in her spirituality.

A priest-friend had recommended he go for an interview. Within about six weeks, Anderson and his family had moved from Ontario to Bruno, Sask. to join the brand-new St. Therese Institute of Faith and Mission.

Today, Anderson is convinced the Institute’s nine-month program of intellectual and spiritual discipleship for young people who live in community and who practice the saint’s “little way” offers a key to new evangelization and the hopes Pope Benedict XVI’s has for the Year of Faith.
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Corpus Christi College calling all women

Presentation on St. Thomas Aquinas will be held while men are at men's conference
St. Thomas Aquinas

The St. Thomas Aquinas Study Circle is inviting women to a discussion on "Aquinas and the Foundations of the Natural Law" Saturday, Oct. 27, at Corpus Christi College.

Event organizer Dr. Chris Morrissey, a professor at Redeemer Pacific College and a regular contributor to The B.C. Catholic, is inviting women to the event while their men attend "Man Alive" (a Catholic men's conference at the Centre for Performing Arts).

The discussion will focus on a book by Aquinas scholar Rose Mary Hayden Lemmons called Ultimate Normative Foundations: The Case for Aquinas’s Personalist Natural Law. Morrissey and Dr. David Klassen from Corpus Christi College will lead the discussion.

Organizers are asking that those interested meet in Corpus Christi's faculty room at 5935 Iona Drive, Vancouver, on the UBC campus. The discussion starts at 10 a.m.

Learn your faith at St. Mary's

Free Catholic Apologetics to be offered for four Saturdays in November

Learn how to defend, witness, and explain your faith during the Year of Faith this November at St. Mary's Church. The parish is hosting four apologetics seminars Nov. 3, 10, 17,  and 24 from 9:30 to 11 a.m.

Speakers will include Kyle Neilson, director of the Office of Evangelization for the Archdiocese of Vancouver; Pavel Reid, director of Catholic Family Services; and Graham Osborne, B.C. Catholic columnist and apologist.

Oh, and the event is free. More information is available at St. Mary's office, 604-435-9611.

A knight and two ladies join the Order of the Holy Sepulchre

New members vow to uphold and help the land of Jesus's birth, death, and resurrection
Archbishop Miller poses after Mass with Georg J.E. Adam, lieutenant of Vancouver's
Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem (left), and the newest members:
Lady Bonnie Ellen Mills, Lady Angela De Silva, and Sir Hubert Van Der Made.
Nathan Rumohr / The B.C. Catholic.
Here's a B.C. Catholic story about a recent Mass where the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem welcomed a knight and two ladies:
The order serves Christians in the Holy Land through works of charity and by promoting the Catholic faith.

"We chose to belong to an order that witnesses to the saving truth that the cross of Christ can alone heal the world," Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, said during his homily. He noted the knights and ladies proudly display the cross on their capes.

The archbishop, grand prior for the Vancouver lieutenancy, celebrated the Mass along with fellow knights Bishop David J. Monroe of Kamloops and Vancouver priests Msgr. Pedro Lopez-Gallo, Msgr. Stephen Jensen, and Father Glenn Dion.

Archbishop Miller said as Canadians become more detached from Christianity they see the cross as a sign of torture, suffering, defeat, and failure. Instead, he said, the cross is God's triumph over the evil of the world.
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Pope announces new cardinals

The six will help the Pope 'confirm the brethren in the faith'
U.S. Archbishop James M. Harvey looks on as Pope Benedict XVI begins his general audience. CNS photo / Paul Haring.
Here is a Catholic News Agency story reporting that, at today's general audience, Pope Benedict XVI announced he will appoint six new cardinals, including an American, at a consistory that will be held Nov. 24.

The only one from North America is Archbishop James M. Harvey of the titular see of Memphis, Tenn., who was named Prefect of the Papal Household by Blessed John Paul II in 1998. Pope Benedict said he plans to appoint the Milwaukee native, 49, Archpriest of the Papal Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls.

This will be Pope Benedict's fifth consistory. After Nov. 24 he will have appointed 90 cardinals during his pontificate. That will bring the College of Cardinals up to 211. The 120 who are under 80 years of age will be eligible to vote in a conclave.

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

Canadians gather in Rome for St. Kateri

Archbishop Smith offers Mass of Thanksgiving after saints canonization
First Nations pilgrims gather in Rome for the canonization of St.Kateri
Tekakwitha. Paul Haring / CNS.
The B.C. Catholic has a story by Deborah Gyapong about the homily given by Archbishop Richard Smith in Rome following St. Kateri's canonization:
St. Kateri teaches us our response in faith to Jesus Christ brings healing, said Edmonton Archbishop Richard Smith at a Thanksgiving Mass in Rome Oct. 22.

“Among the most striking aspects of her witness is the miraculous transformation of her face soon after her death,” said the president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) in his homily at Saint John Lateran, Rome’s cathedral church. “From the age of four terribly scarred by the smallpox, her face was restored to its original beauty only minutes after she had died.”

Archbishop Smith noted Kateri said “Jesus, I love you,” just before she died, showing how her response to Christ’s love preceded the healing.

“How greatly do we need this lesson from Kateri today!” he said. “We may not bear physical scars, but so many today carry deep emotional and psychological ones.”
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Courageous Roman clergy's 'dramatic day' recalled

Nazi round-up of Jews in Rome partially foiled by priests, nuns
An artist's depiction of the German S.S. forcible collection of Jews in Rome Oct. 16, 1943.
Photo / L'Osservatore Romano
The official Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, took a step back in time to the time of the Second World War. Reporter Giovanni Preziosi describes the heroism of the religious orders which hid Jews in religious institutes around the Eternal City.

By this time in the war, with the Allied Powers slowly gaining ground up the Italian coast, the Nazis had occupied Rome and surrounded the Vatican.

Then Rome's remaining Jews were rounded up on the night of Oct. 16, 1943.

Survivor Roberto Piperno remembered:
"I was a 5-year-old. My father had frequent contact with the Vatican since he was a textile merchant.
 Thus it was possible for to get my mother, sister, both grandmothers, and myself to stay at the monastery of the Bethlehem Sisters in Sabazio Square. We spent our time there before the Allied liberation June 4, 1944."
During Piperno's time with the sisters, "I do not have a sad memory in terms of human relationships. Certainly their sympathetic attitude made the condition of imprisonment  and fear more tolerable. And for this I am still grateful."
Read the full article here.

Christian think tank compares graduates of public and private schools

Survey finds faith is lacking for some
Ray Pennings presents the findings of a study comparing graduates from
Catholic independent schools and public schools Sept. 20 in Langley.
Owen Kato / Special to The B.C. Catholic.
The B.C. Catholic has a story about a recent study that found Catholic school graduates view the role of faith in the public square similarly to public school graduates:
Cardus, a Christian think tank that focuses on bringing faith into public life, conducted the study, called "A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats." It covers grads from schools in all provinces except Quebec, which the report covers separately.

The study compares graduates now ages 24 to 39 from government-run public schools with grads in the same age group from various kinds of schools: Protestant private schools, non-religious private schools, religious home schools, Catholic separate schools (government-funded), and Catholic independent schools (private with some government subsidies). Catholic schools in B.C. are independent.

Graduates were compared on a wide range of topics in addition to religion. However the study gives little information about what their actual responses were; it just reports how other grads compared to grads from public schools.

In total, 1868 graduates were surveyed, but only 23 Catholic respondents were from B.C. In addition, the results were controlled for family socioeconomic and religious background. The study revealed some interesting facts about faith in the public square.

"What struck me the most was that Catholic schools were the same as public schools in many respects," said Ray Pennings, the study's project leader and the director of research at Cardus.
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Canadians delegation travels to see canonization of St. Kateri

Group included the speaker of the House of Commons
Add caption

The B.C. Catholic has a story by Deborah Gyapong about the travel's of a Canadian delegation to Rome for St. Kateri's canonization:
For Canadian delegation members attending Kateri Tekakwitha’ s canonization, a highlight was meeting the boy who experienced a miracle cure attributed to the new saint.

In a news conference Oct. 21 in Rome after the canonization, the Speaker of the House of Commons Andrew Scheer, a Catholic, spoke of meeting Seattle teenager Jake Finkbonner who was miraculously cured of life-threatening flesh-eating disease after a relic of Kateri was placed on his pillow and family and friends pleaded for her intercession. Jake and family participated in the prayer vigil led by the Canadian delegation on Oct. 20.

“It was one of those special moments that I’ll always treasure,” Scheer told journalists.
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

What Church teaches is the truth

Uruguay bishops say lawmakers who support abortion are excommunicated
A woman prays as Uruguayan senators debate a bill to legalize abortion in Montevideo Oct. 17. Senators voted 17-14 in favour of a bill to legalize all first-trimester abortions. CNS photo / Andres Stapff, Reuters.
This Catholic News Agency story reports that Uruguay's bishops have said local lawmakers who recently voted to legalize abortion in the country are automatically excommunicated, for separating themselves from the Church's teaching.

"Automatic excommunication is for those who collaborate in the execution of an abortion in a direct way," said Bishop Heriberto Bodeant, secretary of the Uruguayan bishops' conference.

If the new law is signed by President Jose Mujica, who has vowed support for the measure, the Church will strengthen its work in support of human life to "reinvigorate the law written in the heart of every person that says that a fundamental value exists, which is life."

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

Monday, October 22, 2012

First native North American saint

Pope canonizes seven saints for the New Evangelization
Native Canadians were in Rome for the canonization of St. Kateri Tekakwitha, a native who was born in New York and died in Quebec.
Here is a Catholic News Agency story about Pope Benedict XVI canonizing seven saints on World Mission Sunday.

They were Kateri Tekakwitha, Jacques Berthieu, Pedro Calungsod, Giovanni Battista Piamarta, Maria Carmen Salles y Barangueras, Marianne Cope, and Anna Schaffer.

St. Kateri, known as the "Lily of the Mohawks," converted to Catholicism at age 18 and lived a remarkable life of prayer and penance before her death at age 24. She is the first ever native North American saint.

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

Catholics to be welcomed back this winter

Initiative invites fallen-away faithful to rediscover their Catholic faith

The B.C. Catholic
details some the Catholics Come Home initiatives, which officially begins in December:
The Archdiocese of Vancouver is inviting Catholics to come back to their faith this holiday season with a "Catholics Come Home" (CCH) initiative. Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, will officially announce the initiative during his fundraising dinner Oct. 25.

CCH is a multi-faceted campaign that combines media and parish outreach to bring fallen-away Catholics back to the Church. The media component involves commercials produced by CCH that will air between Dec. 13 and Jan. 20 on major TV stations in Vancouver. Parishes have been preparing outreach plans to welcome those inspired by the commercials.

"In the Archdiocese of Vancouver there may be as many as 250,000 Catholics who need us to reach out and welcome them," said Archbishop Miller. "Every one of us has family members, friends, or co-workers who once were active Catholics and now are no longer."
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

All parties battle poverty

Anti-Poverty Caucus seeks non-partisan consensus

Senator Art Eggleton, NDP human resources critic Chris Charlton, Geraldine King,
Linda LeBlanc and Senator Don Meredith made up the All Party Anti-Poverty Caucus.
Deborah Gyapong / CCN.
The B.C. Catholic has a story by Deborah Gyapong about a recent gathering of members from all of Canada's major political parties discussing ways to end poverty:
Ottawa’s All-Party Anti-Poverty Caucus (APAPC) continues to search for nonpartisan solutions—but it won’t be easy.

The APAPC marked International Day for the Eradication of Poverty Oct. 17 with a panel discussion entitled “Ending Poverty Together: Real Stories, Real Solutions.” It brought together NDP, Liberal and Conservative MPs and Senators, representatives from civil society anti-poverty groups, and two panelists who shared their lived experience of poverty.

“We’re good at raising awareness,” said NDP human resources critic Chris Charlton, APAPC co-chair. “We’re not so good at moving the yard sticks.”
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Romney and Obama laugh it off at Catholic dinner

White House candidates roast each other at high end fundraiser

Cardinal Timothy Dolan
After a heated debate two days earlier, U.S. President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney got together again for the annual Al Smith Dinner in New York. The dinner,  a fundraiser for Catholic Charities, has had keynote addresses from both presidential candidates in every election year since 1960, with the exception of 1996, which had the vice presidential candidates.

The mood at the event was light, with both candidates taking shots at themselves, each other, and some of the distinguished guests.

Romney found a way to poke fun at Obama revisiting a famous event in Church history:

"I have special admiration for St. Peter, to whom it was said 'upon this rock I will build My Church.' The story is all the more inspiring when you consider that he had so many skeptics and scoffers at the time that said 'if you got a Church, you didn't build that."

Romney's full speech:

Obama poked fun at himself for his first debate performance and made light of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's ban on high calorie drinks:

"Win or lose, this is my last political campaign, so I'’m trying to drink it all in. Unfortunately, Mayor Bloomberg will only let me have 16 ounces of it," he said.

Obama also took time to credit the "extraordinary work of the Catholic Church."

"It is written in Scripture that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope," he said. "We have come as far as we have mainly because of the perseverance and character of ordinary Americans."

He said that even in a bitter campaign candidates from both parties could come together for a "worthy cause."

Obama's full speech:

The fundraising event, hosted by Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, caused a fair bit of controversy this year. Some Catholics were angry that Obama had been invited to the event. The president's Obamacare law will require religious employers to cover the cost of contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs as part of their health-care plans.

While many were unhappy with the Obama invitation, the president still received a standing ovation when he approached the microphone to speak (Mitt Romney received one as well).

The mood won't be so light for the final days of the election campaign, but at least one Catholic event proves that even adversaries can come together for the good of a nation.

Abortions could merit 300-year sentence

Pro-life leader: Morin trial reveals tragedy of abortion
Thousands of people take part in an anti-abortion march in Madrid, Spain, March 7, 2010. Juan Medina, Reuters / CNS.
This Catholic News Agency story reports on another horrible situation in the practice of abortion.

Spanish pro-life leader Josep Miro, who is president of e-Christians and a member of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, said the trial of Doctor Carlos Morin has put a spotlight on the tragedy of the abortion industry.

Speaking to CNA on Oct. 16, Miro said the trial of the Spanish doctor, accused of performing more than 100 illegal late-term abortions, has revealed "the tragedy behind this. There are women who see their children as a burden, from the economic point of view, and there are some groups of people who are dedicated to this for the sole purpose of making a lot of money."

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

Prominent pro-lifers recognized by Governor General

Linda Gibbons and Mary Wagner awarded Diamond Jubilee Medal for their tireless work defending babies in the womb
Prominent pro-life activists Linda Gibbons (left) and
Mary Wagner have receivedthe Diamond Jubilee Medal
for their work protecting babies in the womb.
No this isn't a joke, pro-life activists have been recognized publicly for their good works, and by the Governor General no less. is reporting that Linda Gibbons and Mary Wagner, tireless pro-life activists who fearlessly advocate for the unborn in Toronto, received the Diamond Jubilee Medal this week from the Governor General for their "contribution to Canada:"
The activists are internationally renowned for having been arrested and jailed numerous times for violating abortion clinic ‘bubble zones,’ while peacefully seeking to counsel abortion-bound moms to choose life. In fact, Wagner is currently in jail, after her arrest in August for witnessing at the Woman’s Care Clinic in Toronto.

“This is the best news I’ve heard in a long time,” said Gwen Landolt, national vice-president of REAL Women Canada, to LifeSiteNews (LSN).

“It’s wonderful news that someone has recognized the enormous contribution and dedication of these two women to the cause of life.”

Pro-life Member of Parliament Maurice Vellacott, who nominated the women for the award, told LSN that, “like Martin Luther King and other human rights reformers, Mary [and Linda are] using civil disobedience to further a just cause.”

“Peaceful civil disobedience is an appropriate method when trying to protect defenceless, voiceless human beings in the womb from butchery and death.”
Read the full story here.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Catholic nation under philosophical siege

Blessed John Paul II's homeland embattled with liberal ideology

A statue of Blessed Pope John Paul II was erected in
Warsaw, Poland, in 2009 to commemorate the historic
Polish native's visit to his homeland in 1979.
The once proud Catholic country of Poland is being challenged, like many of its European neighbours, by an aggressively secularized culture.

This Reuters article details how many groups are trying to blot out Poland's Christian culture.
At the sound of a bell from the altar, relayed over loud-speakers, about 50,000 people at an open-air Mass last month in the Polish capital dropped down to kneel in the street.

It was a powerful symbol of Poland's deeply felt Roman Catholicism, a reminder of the scenes in the 1980s when, inspired by Polish Pope John Paul II, people prayed in the streets and brought down communist rule.

But modernity intruded on this recent moment of spiritual contemplation. The size of the crowd meant some worshippers, who arrived late, had to listen to the Mass standing outside a sex shop with signs in the window offering "exotic dances."

Society in Poland is changing, and with it, the relationship between the Polish people and the Catholic Church.

In this country where, since the end of communist rule, prime ministers have sought the blessing of the Church before making important decisions, Catholicism is losing its influence.

Opinion polls show that the number of people who go to church or pray regularly is in decline.

And now a series of initiatives - on in-vitro fertilization (IVF), ending state subsidies for the Church, and homosexuality - is challenging Catholicism's role at the heart of the state.

"We want to separate the secular state from religion," said Andrzej Rozenek, a lawmaker with the ultra-liberal Palikot movement. It surprised many by becoming the third biggest party in parliament in an election last year.

"We're trying to show Poles that there are other values."
Read the full article here.

Pope gives rare exclusive interview

Holy Father believes Europeans will renew Christianity
Pope Benedict XVI appears in a rare interview in a documentary
about the history and relationship between Europe and Christianity.
Paul Haring / CNS.
It's not often Pope Benedict XVI gives an exclusive one-on-one interview. But the Holy Father sat down with the makers of the documentary Bells of Europe: A Journey Into the Faith in Europe to discuss his hope for a revitalized Christianity in Europe. The documentary explores how Europe's history with Christianity and the continents relationship with the religion.

The Vatican recently released the interview:
Q. – Your Holiness, your Encyclicals present a compelling view of man: a man inhabited by God's charity, a man whose reason is broadened by the experience of faith, a man who possesses social responsibility thanks to the dynamism of charity received and given in truth. Holiness, it is from this anthropological standpoint - in which the evangelical message exalts all the laudable aspects of humankind, purifying the grime that covers the authentic countenance of man created in the image and likeness of God - that you have repeatedly stated that this rediscovery of the human countenance, of evangelical values, of the deepest roots of Europe, is a cause of great hope for the European continent and not only for the European continent. Can you explain to us the reasons for your hope?

Holy Father
– The first reason for my hope consists in the fact that the desire for God, the search for God, is profoundly inscribed into each human soul and cannot disappear. Certainly we can forget God for a time, lay Him aside and concern ourselves with other things, but God never disappears. St. Augustine's words are true: we men are restless until we have found God. This restlessness also exists today, and is an expression of the hope that man may, ever and anew, even today, start to journey towards this God.

The second reason for my hope lies in the fact that the Gospel of Jesus Christ, faith in Jesus Christ, is quite simply true; and the truth never ages. It too may be forgotten for a time, it may be laid aside and attention may turn to other things, but the truth as such does not disappear. Ideologies have their days numbered. They appear powerful and irresistible but, after a certain period, they wear out and lose their energy because they lack profound truth. They are particles of truth, but in the end they are consumed. The Gospel, on the other hand, is true and can therefore never wear out. In each period of history it reveals new dimensions, it emerges in all its novelty as it responds to the needs of the heart and mind of human beings, who can walk in this truth and so discover themselves. It is for this reason, therefore, that I am convinced there will also be a new springtime for Christianity.

A third reason, an empirical reason, is evident in the fact that this sense of restlessness today exists among the young. Young people have seen much - the proposals of the various ideologies and of consumerism - and they have become aware of the emptiness and insufficiency of those things. Man was created for the infinite, the finite is too little. Thus, among the new generations we are seeing the reawakening of this restlessness, and they too begin their journey making new discoveries of the beauty of Christianity, not a cut-price or watered-down version, but Christianity in all its radicalism and profundity. Thus I believe that anthropology, as such, is showing us that there will always be a new reawakening of Christianity. The facts confirm this in a single phrase: deep foundation. That is Christianity; it is true and the truth always has a future.
Read the rest of the interview here.

University of Windsor drops convocation prayer

Campus atheists win victory for a 'moment of reflection'
University of Windsor students will not have to listen to "The Lord's Prayer," anymore.
Photo / University of Windsor.
According to the University of Windsor's student paper, The Lance, "The Lord's Prayer" has been removed from convocation ceremonies in favour of a moment of reflection.

Student Shawna Scott, president of the Windsor-Essex County Atheist Society, said:
The end result of us graduating is a product of our own hard work . . . to us, it doesn't come from a deity, it makes it really awkward to be there and feel excluded.
The University of Windsor was only established in 1963. The parent institution, Assumption University, has been administered by the Basilian Fathers since 1857 and is now the Catholic university affiliated with the U. of Windsor.

Vatican II's new understanding of revelation

Priest says Vatican II overcame a narrowly intellectual understanding of faith
Father David Norman
The B.C. Catholic has story from Edmonton by Glen Argan of the Western Catholic Reporter about a lecture given by Father David Norman, professor at Newman Theological College, on The Second Vatican Council's document Dei Verbum:
Vatican II’s document on divine revelation presents Jesus as the source of all revelation while Scripture and Church Tradition are mirrors that reflect Jesus to believers, says a professor at Newman Theological College.

The first draft of the document presented to the Second Vatican Council in 1962 was much different. It portrayed Jesus “as a conduit for revelation” and claimed there are two sources of revelation, Franciscan Father David Norman said in an Oct. 10 talk at the Catholic Pastoral and Administration Offices.

It also showed “the magisterium almost usurping the role of the Church and the role of Jesus,” said Father Norman, a systematic theologian.
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

'Man Alive'

Catholic men to gather for 'powerful' conference Oct. 27

The B.C. Catholic previews the upcoming 'Man Alive' conference:
Catholic men from the Archdiocese of Vancouver and beyond will gather at the Centre for the Performing Arts in Vancouver for a mens conference called "Man Alive" Oct. 27.

"It's going to be a unique and powerful day," said Kyle Neilson, director of the Office of Evangelization of the Archdiocese of Vancouver and organizer of the event. "We trust that hearts will be changed that need to be changed, men will be encouraged, and men will find practical help in living as Catholic men."

Neilson said the event has drawn a lot of interest, and he hopes to fill the 1800-seat venue. He's urging Catholic men to purchase tickets for themselves and for a friend.
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

New spiritual group arrives in the Lower Mainland

Society based on Ignatian spirituality meets monthly at Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Coquitlam
Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, poses for a photo with Georges Gracieuse (left)
and Pierre-Jean Stygelbout earlier this year at the John Paul II Pastoral Centre. Gracieuse
is leading meetings of the Society of the Evangelic Life of the Heart of Jesus at
Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Coquitlam. Stygelbout is the society's Assistant-General.
Special to The B.C. Catholic.
Here's a story about a new spiritual group that started up last month in Coquitlam:
The Society of the Evangelic Life of the Heart of Jesus (SELHJ), approved by the Holy See in 2002, had its first meeting in the Lower Mainland at Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Coquitlam Sept. 11. The group functions under the Rule of the Famille Cor Unum established by the Secular Institute of Priests of the Heart of Jesus.

Georges Gracieuse, a parishioner at Our Lady of Fatima, leads the meetings. He initially became a member of the society in Mauritius, his home country, and wants to attract Catholics interested in developing a strong life with Jesus and showing that joy to the world.

"The society is not an action group; it is a sharing group where we meet to pray and share our life together with Christ and support each other through our prayers."

The group follows the Ignatian spirituality of "contemplation in action," which means developing a life of familiarity with Jesus and radiating His love, compassion, and joy in the world.
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Youth urged to live faith dangerously

Students gather for Archdiocese of Edmonton's annual youth rally
Participants in Edmonton's archdiocesan annual youth rally took part in a
number of games as well as faith-based activities. Chris Miller / CCN.
The B.C. Catholic has a story by Chris Miller about a youth rally in the Archdiocese of Edmonton where students were challenged to "live faith dangerously:"
Danger may involve peril, adventure or taking risks, explained author Frank Mercadante, featured speaker at the annual archdiocesan youth rally.

“Danger is so much like a magnet in many ways. Danger can either draw us in or it can push us apart,” said Mercadante.

“When we watch extreme sports, the danger can draw us in. But when we watch senseless acts of violence or terrorism, those are dangers that actually push us away.”

Those different approaches to danger also apply to Catholics and their behaviours, he said, with many people demonstrating their faith in ways that are either positive or negative, compelling or repelling.
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

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