Monday, December 31, 2012

Genocide finds its roots in hatred

Rwandan genocide survivor shares his story with Catholic students in Edmonton
Arthemon Rurangwa tells his story of survival during the Rwanda
genocide to 75 students at St. Thomas More Junior High in Edmonton.
Photo by Roman Gonzalez.
The B.C. Catholic has a story by Ramon Gonzalez about Arthemon Rurangwa, a surivivor of the Rwandan genocide:
Arthemon Rurangwa, a Rwandan Tutsi, had about 200 members of his immediate and extended family wiped out during the Rwandan genocide of 1994.

Neighbours or thugs that roamed the streets spreading death among the Tustsi killed his family with knives and machetes.

Rurangwa, who worked in a rental car company, escaped to neighbouring Burundi in the trunk of his boss’ car. His wife and two children managed to escape thanks to a friend who hid them.

In the late 1990s Rurangwa came to Canada with his family and now works as a public relations officer for Corrections Canada. He has been unable to go back to his home country for a visit for fear of reliving the horror.

Archbishop Miller conducts many activities in 2012

Intl. Eucharistic Congress in Dublin, Anglican conversions, St. Kateri’s canonization remembered
Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, speaks at the International Eucharistic
Conference in Dublin, Ireland, June 13. Photo courtesy of
Alistair Burns reviews Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB's, 2012 in this B.C. Catholic article:
Archbishop Miller travelled far and wide in 2012, from every corner of the archdiocese to Rome and Dublin.
In February he attended “One Conference,” an annual event held at the Vancouver Convention Centre. The education of adult Catholics was first on the agenda.
In June the archbishop flew to the Emerald Isle for the 50th International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin, where he delivered a catechesis on “Priesthood and Ministry in the Service of Communion” (the entire speech can be read here).

June 30 was a unique day for the archbishop: he officially welcomed former Anglicans home, as 11 members of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada came into the Roman Catholic Church during a Mass at Holy Rosary Cathedral.

The end of October provided an opportunity for the archbishop to declare archdiocesan goals for 2013. At the first annual Archbishop’s Dinner, held Oct. 25, he laid out his blueprint in front of a thousand Catholics gathered at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Parish welcoming coordinators reach out

Catholics Come Home uses movie nights, prayer cards for promulgation

A screenshot from one the Catholics Come Home commercials airing until
Jan. 20 in the Archdiocese of Vancouver.
Alistair Burns highlights some the initiatives parishes are taking to help welcome Catholics back to the Church as part of the Catholics Come Home campaign:
Welcoming coordinators across the Archdiocese of Vancouver are preparing for prodigal sons and daughters to return to their Father's house. With Catholics Come Home (CCH) commercials airing from Bella Coola to Chilliwack beginning Dec. 13, hopes are high that non-practising Catholics will rejoin the flock.

"As soon as I heard about CCH, I was terrifically enthused," said Peter Nation, the welcoming coordinator at St. Edmund's Parish in North Vancouver.

Received into the Church as an adult in 1988, he remembered his conversion as an "extraordinary experience."

While Nation looks forward to the television ads, he realizes the airings alone cannot bring people to the pews.
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Patriarch's Christmas message surveys Middle East situation

Leader of the Catholic Church in Jerusalem highlights the ongoing violence in Syria and the refugee situation in the Middle East
Archbishop Fouad Twal, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem. Photo by Debbie Hill / CNS.
The B.C. Catholic has a Catholic News Agency story about the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem's Christmas message:
Archbishop Fouad Twal, has issued a Christmas message that both laments the violence and refugee situation in the Middle East and calls on Christians to live out their faith.

“The joy of Christmas is overshadowed by the staggering violence in Syria,” he said Dec. 20.

He noted the Catholic Church’s work to assist 250,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan, saying this shows the Church is “full of compassion for the victims.”
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Feast of the Holy Innocents service

Special memorial Mass celebrates the lives of departed babies

St. Ann's Church in Abbotsford is celebrating a memorial Mass tonight to memorialize the brief lives of newborns, victims of abortions, and miscarriages.

The church is inviting bereaved parents, family members, or friends to remember the infants in a loving environment. Whether the tragedy was recent or many years ago, all are welcome.

Women who are still healing from post-abortion grief or trauma are also encouraged to attend.

St. Ann's Church is located on 33333 Mayfair Avenue in Abbotsford. The Mass starts at 7 p.m.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Victoria joins Vancouver campaign

Catholics Come Home television ads cover the two dioceses
A screenshot of one of the Catholics Come Home commercials that will air in
Archdiocese of Vancouver and Diocese of Victoria throughout December and January.
B.C. Catholic contributor Greg Van Dyk details the Catholics Come Home campaign in his city of Victoria:
The Diocese of Victoria is rolling out the welcome mat this Christmas as island churches prepare to receive Catholics who return to their faith, thanks to the Archdiocese of Vancouver's Catholics Come Home television ad campaign.

"My hope is that in each and every parish on Vancouver Island we have people who come back and explore, are welcomed, invited, reconciled, healed, nourished, and participate in the life and mission of the Church," said Father William Hann, the Episcopal Vicar for Evangelization in the Diocese of Victoria.

This December the Archdiocese of Vancouver launched a new campaign called Catholics Come Home, a project that uses creative television commercials to encourage lapsed Catholics to reconsider the Catholic faith and come back to church.
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

The Pope outlines the power of faith in Christmas message

Holy Father extends Christ's peace to the world
Pope Benedict XVI waves as he blesses the crowd during his Christmas message
"urbi et orbi" (to the city of Rome and the world) from the central balcony of St.
Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Dec. 25. Photo: L'Osservatore Romano via Reuters / CNS.
The B.C. Catholic has Catholic News Agency's coverage of Pope Benedict XVI's Christmas message:
Pope Benedict outlined the power of faith and pointed to Christ coming in the flesh as the source of hope and peace for society in his annual “Urbi et Orbi” or, “The city and to the world,” message on Christmas day.

“God has done everything; he has done the impossible: he was made flesh,” the Pope emphasized.

“His all-powerful love has accomplished something which surpasses all human understanding: the Infinite has become a child, has entered the human family.”

During his remarks, the Pope also appealed for an end to violence in conflict ravaged countries in the world such as Syria and the Democratic Republic of Congo, called for a peaceful democratic transition in Egypt and urged respect for religious freedom in China.
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Life issues dominate news in 2012

Troubling year for euthanasia and religious freedom, but abortion debate leaps into national headlines
Approximately 20,000 pro-life advocates participated in the annual National
March for Life Rally in Ottawa May 13. The debate on abortion was major news
throughout 2012. Photo by Chris Wattie / Reuters / CNS.
The B.C. Catholic has a national year in review story by Canadian Catholic News' Ottawa reporter Deborah Gyapong:
The year 2012 brought troubling news concerning religious freedom, social justice, and euthanasia in Canada, but on abortion there are signs the public is increasingly engaged in debate.

The issue leapt from specialty newspapers and websites to the mainstream media throughout 2012, despite continued attempts by the Conservative government to shut it down. The National March for Life was larger than ever, with organizers counting nearly 20,000 participants, among them many Catholic bishops and MPs.

The year kicked off with backbencher Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth’s announcement he was considering way to have Parliament study the 400-year old definition of a human being in the Criminal Code. His Motion 312 became the subject of a social media campaign, many petitions and letters and garnered much news coverage.
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Jesuits return

Novices volunteer at L'Arche
Jesuit seminarians Marcos Gonzales (second from left) and Carlos Aubain
(second from right) pose with L’Arche volunteer Evelyne Pineau (left), and
Christina Bruce (centre), Patrick Byron (right), and Arthur Hutchinson (foreground)
at L’Arche’smain office in Burnaby Dec.12. Photo by Nathan Rumohr / The B.C. Catholic.
The B.C. Catholic has a story about two Jesuit novices and their recent volunteering experience at L'Arche, an international non-profit organization that houses and provides programs for people with developmental disabilities:
Like the Jesuits of old, two novices recently set out from California on missionary work, coming to Burnaby to help out at L’Arche.

“In many ways it’s like early Jesuits St. John Brebeuf and St. Isaac Jogues, who came and established relationships,” Marcos Gonzales said. “It is exciting to think of reconnecting here, and when we go back we will share the excitement with the other novices.”

It’s been almost 20 years since Jesuit novices from the order’s California province, based in Calver City, Calif., have been assigned to volunteer here.
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Alberta diocese receives new bishop

Bishop Paul Terrio ordained and installed in St. Paul
Bishop Paul Terrio leads the congregation in the Lord’s Prayer during his Mass
of ordination and installation as bishop of St. Paul Dec. 12.
Photo by Ramon Gonzalez / CCN.
The B.C. Catholic has Ramon Gonzalez's coverage of the ordination and installation Mass of Bishop Paul Terrio of St. Paul, Alta:
The bishop was eager to explain his vision to his new congregation. No sooner had he been ordained bishop of St. Paul than he was on the podium inviting the faithful of his diocese to let the Mother of Jesus into their homes and their lives.

“Mary is the sign our Father sends to bring us to his son,” Bishop Terrio said in a speech from the podium at the end of the two-hour ordination ceremony Dec. 12, the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

“In this season of Mary in this Year of Faith it is my sincere hope that more and more of us in the Diocese of St. Paul will turn again to Mary and with her, go to Jesus.”
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Pope Paul VI moves toward sainthood

Holy Father authorizes investigation for 'Humanae Vitae' author
Pope Paul VI, Giovanni Battista Montini, is pictured in an undated portrait
from the Vatican. Photo: CNS Archives.
Catholic News Service reports that Pope Benedict XVI has advanced Pope Paul VI's cause for sainthood by authorizing an investigation into the life of the "Humanae Vitae" author:
The current Pope formally allowed the move as the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints wrote a decree stating that Paul VI had “heroic virtue,” the first step necessary in the canonization process.

The pontiff met with congregation head cardinal Angelo Amato on Thursday to let him begin the review of the “Humanae Vitae” author.

During their meeting, the Pope also authorized the congregation to continue several other canonization processes, which are usually long and complex.
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

CCCB president sends letter of condolence

Archbishop Richard Smith expresses 'heartfelt prayers and sympathy' for victims of Connecticut shooting
A rosary hangs over a memorial for the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary
shooting massacre in Newtown, Conn., Dec. 18. Photo by Joshua Lott / Reuters / CNS.

The B.C. Catholic has a story by Deborah Gyapong about a recent letter sent by Archbishop Richard Smith, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, to Cardinal Timothy Dolan expressing the Canadian bishops 'heartfelt prayers and sympathy' for victims of the tragic school shooting in Connecticut:
“It is not only the local community of Newtown or your own nation which is experiencing such great loss and sorrow, but also the whole of North American society,” wrote the Edmonton Archbishop. “Our culture has become mesmerized and exploited by violence in its many dehumanizing and senseless forms.”

“Its victims are not only the dead, the wounded, their families and the citizens of Newtown,” wrote Archbishop Smith. “Each of us has been injured and hurt: every heart by the images of human suffering, every soul by the malice and cruelty at work in any act of violence.”

Archbishop Smith asked Cardinal Dolan to extend the Canadian bishops’ sympathy and solidarity to the families, the Newtown community, Bridgeport diocese and to Newtown’s Saint Rose of Lima parish.
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Filipino bishops fight on

The Philippines' Catholic leaders will not concede to 'reproductive health' bill
Nuns participate in a rally against the Reproductive Health Bill outside the EDSA
Shrine in Manila Aug. 4. The House of Representatives approved the legislation
Dec. 17 by a vote of 133-79. Photo by Erik De Castro / Reuters / CNS.
Catholic News Agency reports that Filipino Bishops will continue to fight for for life, marriage, and family despite the passing of the country's controversial "reproductive health" bill:
“If the President will sign this into law, he will give us a moral time bomb wrapped as a gift to celebrate Christmas,” warned Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas of Lingayen Dagupan.

In a Dec. 18 statement, the archbishop cautioned that although the bill won the support of majorities in the legislature, this “does not mean that they are right.”

“It is only a matter of time and then we will see more violations of ‘Thou shall not kill’ and ‘Thou shall not commit adultery’ among our families, our youth and children,” he said.
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Pope gets new ride

Holy Father receives new popemobiles

Pope Benedict XVI recently received two new popemobiles from Mercedes Benz. The German automaker gave the Holy Father a custom remake of the 500matic model.

L'Osservatore Romano describes the new popemobile's features and details the long history between Mercedes and the successors of Peter:
It was inaugurated in 1930 by Mercedes Benz which committed itself to providing the Pope with a car for his drives. The first one was delivered to Pius XI in 1930. It was a Nurburg 460 Pullman limousine. In the 1960s John XXIII was offered a 360 d Landaulet convertible, while Paul VI  first received a Mercedes 600 Pullman Landaulet and later a 300 SEL.
Read the full story here.

Catholic Civil Rights League changes CBC contest

Radio One's "Day 6" producers listen to complaints

CBC's "Day 6", a blend of comedy and news, is hosted by Brent Bambury.
(Photo credit: CBC Radio One) 
The Catholic Civil Rights League, (CCRL), the only lay organization dedicated exclusively to fighting against defamation of the Church, has scored a victory against the CBC's radio program, "Day 6."

As detailed on the CCRL's website:
"Day 6" hosted a contest called “Deep Sixed” in which listeners could vote for or against the elimination of several things, including the Catholic Church, maple syrup, etc. 
This was obviously intended as a joke, but we challenged why they would include the Church in a satirical contest of this kind. 
We encouraged our members to contact them about this bizarre choice, and suggested that "CBC funding" might be a better option!
"Day 6" producers decided to remove the Church from the contest. Economic problems were chosen as the replacement on the "Deep Sixed" ballot.

Former B.C. Senator says 'faith not a balancing act'

Q & A with Gerry St. Germain - Pt. II

Gerry St. Germain served in parliament's upper chamber from 1993 to Oct. 2012.
(Photo credit: Government of Canada)

The B.C. Catholic's Alistair Burns spoke to Gerry St. Germain regarding his time as a member of parliament during the 1980s, his time in the Senate, and how Catholicism guided him throughout his political career.

Alistair Burns: During your career, how did you balance your strong Catholic belief with political ambitions?

Gerry St. Germain: It's either black or white; it's not a balancing act. The magisterium, the teaching authority of the Church, rules. Issues such as "same-sex marriage" and abortion did come up.
As much as some politicians found ways to compromise, if it's wrong, it's wrong. If it's against teachings of the Church, we have an obligation to vote according to conscience.

Read the full article here.

Back to basics

Long-time Michigan roadside Nativity scene resurrected
A woman stops to pray beside the life-size outdoor creche in Chicago's Daley Plaza Nov 24. CNS / Karen Callaway, Catholic New World.
Catholic News Agency reports that a 67-year-old tradition of placing a Nativity scene on a public median in Warren, Mich., has been re-established after a four-year legal battle involving the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

“John Satawa was persistent enough to follow through,” CNA was told Dec. 17 by Richard Thompson, president of Thomas More Law Center, which represented Satawa, the crèche’s caretaker.

Satawa is “an individual citizen who was not going to disappear silently into the night, but was going to fight the decision of the road commission to maintain this tradition that had been going on since 1945,” Thompson said.

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

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Women declare their role is vital to the Church

U.S. speaker says the fairer sex must counteract misplaced perceptions
Tom McCarthy Jr. / CNS.
Here's an article from Catholic News Service about the importance of women in the universal Church:
To counteract the widespread perception that women don't have a vital role in the Church, Catholics need to learn more about the historical importance of women in ministry and retell those stories to younger generations, said a prominent U.S. Catholic speaker.

Catholics need "to take these young people, sometimes adults, under our wing and talk about these things and share our own life story of ministry," said Vicki Thorn.

Thorn, who is the founder of Project Rachel -- a Catholic post-abortion healing ministry -- and executive director of the National Office of Post-Abortion Reconciliation and Healing in Milwaukee, was attending a Dec. 9-12 international congress at the Vatican.

The congress marked the 15th anniversary of the Synod of Bishops for America, and Thorn addressed one of the assembly's working groups in a talk about the Church's vision of the dignity of women.

She told Catholic News Service Dec. 10 that the Church needs to shine the spotlight back on the significant role women have played in the life of the Church.
Click here to read the full story.

Thanks, Pope

Palestinian president grateful for Benedict XVI's support
Pope Benedict XVI greets Palestine's President Mahmoud Abbas during a private audience at the Vatican Dec. 17. A statement from the Vatican press office said the two leaders discussed the need to restart talks between the Israelis and Palestinians. CNS photo / Maria Grazia Picciarella, pool.
Catholic News Agency has released this story reporting that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met Dec. 17 with the Pope and expressed his thanks for the Holy See’s support after Palestine was recognized as a state by the United Nations.

Abbas met with Pope Benedict XVI at the Apostolic Palace after the Vatican welcomed the U.N. General Assembly's Nov. 29 vote to recognize Palestine as a "non-member observer state."

According to a Dec. 17 Vatican statement, discussions between the leaders also included the topic of Middle Eastern Christian communities and their “contribution to the common good of society in the region.”

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

Less reindeer cause for concern in Canadian north

Largest herd down from 27,000 to 8,000
Reindeer, also known as caribou, play an integral role in the lives of the Inuit.
(Photo credit: Nature Lovers Canada) 
Vatican Radio aired a segment that would make Rudolph, Donner, and Blitzen wince. The reindeer, a beloved symbol of Christmas associated with helping St. Nick deliver his presents around the world, is becoming a rarer sight in the Canadian north.
Reports show that an iconic reindeer herd, once the largest in the world, has shrunk to a fraction of its former size. A federal government survey shows that the George River Herd, that once numbered over 27,000, now numbers only 8,000. 
This dramatic decline has left local indigenous people fearful for its survival.
Survival International, an independent organization, has issued a report explaining that one of the major factors causing the reindeer's decline is mining and mineral exploration. 

Read the full article here.

Monday, December 17, 2012

'Senseless violence'

Pope 'deeply saddened' by Connecticut shooting

People visit a memorial outside St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Newtown, Conn., Dec. 16, after 26 people were killed in a shooting massacre. Eight of the children were to be buried from St. Rose of Lima. CNS photo / Lucas Jackson, Reuters.
People visit a memorial outside St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Newtown, Conn., Dec. 16, after 26 people were killed in a shooting massacre. Eight of the children were to be buried from St. Rose of Lima. CNS photo / Lucas Jackson, Reuters.

Here is a Catholic News Agency story about Pope Benedict XVI expressing sorrow over the Sandy Hook school shooting that massacred 20 children and offered prayers for the victims' families.|

“I was deeply saddened by Friday's senseless violence in Newtown, Connnecticut,” said Pope Benedict XVI Dec. 16. “I assure the families of the victims, especially those who lost a child, of my closeness in prayer,” he told thousands gathered at St. Peter's Square for the Angelus prayer.

“May the God of consolation touch their hearts and their ease pain,” he said, adding that he “invoked God's blessings upon those affected by this tragedy.”

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

Friday, December 14, 2012

Chinese Marriage Encounter grows in archdiocese

Association celebrates its 16th anniversary with Mass celebrated by Archbishop Miller
St. Francis Xavier parishioners Terry and Michelle Mok pose with Sister Teresa Gou, CST,
and Heidi and David Chow, former board members of Canadian Chinese Marriage Encounter.
The Marriage Encounter group celebrated its 16th anniversary at the parish Nov. 18.
Special to The B.C. Catholic.
Recently Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, joined the Canadian Chinese Marriage Encounter Association to celebrate the association's 16th anniversary:
After years of operating on a small scale, the Canadian Chinese Marriage Encounter Association (CCMEA) wanted something bigger for their 16th anniversary, so when they celebrated at St. Francis Xavier Parish Nov. 18, they brought in their shepherd.
Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, joined them to signal a new relationship between the association and the archdiocese.
"The presence of His Grace is very important for the association," said Eric Liu, marketing and promotions director for CCMEA. "His Grace is representing the Catholic Church in Vancouver. When he blessed us during Mass it created the image that he is supporting the ministry. It created credibility."
"What a pleasure it is to be with you this evening to celebrate the Holy Eucharist, giving thanks and praise to God on the joyful occasion of your 16th anniversary," said Archbishop Miller during his homily. "Although I know that your ministry is not large, it is a vitally important one to the Church in the Archdiocese of Vancouver and to society."
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Pope clarifies role of bishops and development and peace

Canadian shepherds see the Holy Father's apostolic letter as 'timely reminder'
Pope Benedict XVI's apostolic letter on service and charity has been received
by the Canadian as a "timely reminder that the ministry of charity is essential to
the very nature of the Church." Photo by Paul Haring / CNS.
The B.C. Catholic has a story by Deborah Gyapong about the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops' reaction to Pope Benedict XVI's apostolic letter, which clarifies how bishops and their charities follow Catholic teaching:
Pope Benedict XVI's apostolic letter on the "service of charity," issued motu proprio (on his own initiative) sets out clear rules for bishops regarding their responsibility for Catholic charities.
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) welcomed the document Dec. 5. The Pope had said it was necessary to give "adequate expression in canonical legislation" to the Church's charitable mission.
"Pope Benedict has issued a timely reminder that the ministry of charity is essential to the very nature of the Church, just as he had earlier reminded us that 'charity demands justice' and 'transcends justice'" said the CCCB statement.
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

What are workers' rights?

Catholics see two sides to Michigan's new union limits

 Workers in a Michigan factory. Michigan is considered a longtime union stronghold. CNS photo/Jim West. Workers in a Michigan factory. Michigan is considered a longtime union stronghold. CNS photo/Jim West.
Workers in a Michigan factory. Michigan is considered a longtime union stronghold. CNS photo/Jim West.

This Catholic News Agency story reports that Catholic commentators have weighed in on both sides of the controversial “right to work” labour bill in the longtime union stronghold of Michigan, with some warning that the law puts workers’ rights at risk while others say the bill reflects workers’ individual choices.

Dr. Maria Mazzenga, an education archivist at the Catholic University of America’s American Catholic History Research Center, said the passage of the law in Michigan is “a sign of labor’s declining power in the face of corporate interest.”

“Michigan has been a leader in unionization historically, and labor leaders and union workers might use this as an opportunity to rethink strategies, do some self-evaluation, and arrive at renewed ways of guaranteeing worker rights,” she told CNA Dec. 13.

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

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Supreme Court begins 'right-to-die' hearing

Wife of engineer refuses to change treatment of vegetative husband because of her right to life views
The Supreme Court of Canada building.
The B.C. Catholic has Deborah Gyapong's coverage of a Supreme Court of Canada's hearing of the Rasouli case, which could determine whether doctors or families will have the choice over life-sustaining treatment:
Hassan Rasouli, 60, is a former engineer who came to Canada in 2010 with his family. That year, he received brain surgery in a Toronto hospital to remove a benign brain tumor removed but contracted meningitis that caused brain damage.

At first his doctors treated him with antibiotics and put him on a ventilator. But when his condition did not seem to improve, and his doctors determined he was in a persistent vegetative state (PVS) with no hope of recovery, they wanted to remove the life-sustaining ventilator and begin palliative care.

Rasouli’s wife, who had been a doctor in Iran, refused permission for the change in treatment, citing their devout Shia Muslim beliefs about the sanctity of life. Rasouli’s condition has since improved to a minimally conscious state (MCS) where some brain waves and responses are detected.

“Since this case has arisen at a time when some in our society are aggressively advocating for access to euthanasia and assisted suicide, we need to ask ourselves what will happen if doctors are given the right to decide unilaterally what treatments are to be employed or withdrawn,” said Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF) director Michele Boulva. “What, for instance, would prevent a doctor ‘soft’ on euthanasia from withdrawing ordinary treatment such as nutrition and hydration?”
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Tories allow tinsel to adorn government spaces

For second consecutive year St. Nick returns to Harperville

The Globe and Mail newspaper reports that federal government employees are free to decorate their offices with Christmas decorations.

"[The] government will not allow the Christmas spirit to be grinched," Treasury Board President Tony Clement announced.
"I see nothing wrong in the workplace at this time of the year ... to have the tinsel or Christmas cards, or even a little mini Nativity scene or a menorah."
He continued:
"This is an inclusive time of year. We have people of all faiths; we have people of no faith." 
Read the full article here.

'It's an amazing story'

Bishops say Our Lady of Guadalupe still brings Christ to Americas
A pilgrim carries an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe during celebrations on her feast day, Dec. 12, outside the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. CNS photo / Edgard Garrido, Reuters.
Catholic News Agency reports that two U.S. Catholic bishops said at the "Ecclesia in America" conference in Rome that nearly 500 years later, Our Lady of Guadalupe is still drawing men and women of the Americas to Christ.

"What has been proposed to us afresh is the image and the presence of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and her perfectly enculturated presentation of the Gospel in America," Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore told EWTN News Dec. 12.

"It's an amazing story. The more you contemplate the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe the more you see how she speaks to all of America. How she brings Christ to us, and how she brings us to Christ."

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

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Vatican beefs up security

Holy See takes on new measures following Vatileaks scandal
Paolo Gabriele, private assistant to Pope Benedict XVI, is seen at left in the front
seat of the popemobile as the Pontiff arrives to lead his general audience in
St. Peter's Square at the Vatican May 2. The former butler was convicted for his
role in the Vatileaks scandal earlier this year. The scandal has
reportedly led the Vatican
to beef up security. Paul Haring / CNS.
Following the Vatileaks scandal, Vatican employees face new security measures, according to The Telegraph:
Thousands of clerical and lay staff working inside the walls of the Vatican from the Apostolic Palace to the Secretariat of State will be affected by the tighter scrutiny that will also enable their superiors to monitor when they clock in and out.

The security shakeup was revealed after Claudio Sciarpelletti, the computer expert convicted of aiding and abetting the Pope's former butler, Paolo Gabriele, in the Vatileaks scandal, dropped his appeal on Saturday.
The move came as the three judges who assessed the case raised doubts about Sciarpelletti's credibility and the friendship between the two men.
Sciarpelletti was convicted in November of aiding and abetting Gabriele, who himself was convicted of stealing the Pontiff's private documents and leaking them to an Italian journalist in an embarrassing security breach that rocked the Vatican earlier this year.
The Telegraph also reported that a Slovenian priest, Father Mitja Leskovar, will be implementing the security procedures. He is reportedly nicknamed "Monsignor 007:"
Father Leskovar, who grew up in the former Yugoslavia under communism, is responsible for the transmission of confidential documents between the Vatican and its papal nuncios or diplomats inside the Secretariat of State, and it also supervises all requests for document photocopying within the secretariat.
Read the full story here.

Pro-life doctor recieves papal medal

Obstetrician accepts award on behalf of his organization

Dr. Robert Walley
A Newfoundland obstetrician received the Pope's highest honour Dec. 9 for his years of pro-life work around the world.

"Archbishop Martin W. Currie of St. John’s is pleased to announce that the Holy Father has awarded the medal Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice to Doctor Robert Walley for his dedication to the cause of life and the health of women on a world-wide basis," the Archdiocese of St. John's said in a statement before Walley received the "Cross of Honour" from Archbishop Currie at a Mass at St. John's St. Pius X Church.

Walley is the founder of MaterCare International (MCA), which is comprised of Catholic obstetricians and gynaecologists carrying out the work of Blessed Paul II's encyclical Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life).

The organization works in developing countries to help at-risk pregnant mothers, while following Catholic teaching. According to, the organization, based in St. John's, has been denied funding from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) because it doesn't advance abortion and contraception.

Church establishes exorcist hotline

Helpline set up to cope with demand

The Archdiocese of Milan has set up a exorcist
hotline to help with the growing demand.
They hope the new helpline will make it
easier for people to get a hold of an exorcist.
Catholics in Milan who feel they are possessed by Satan are just a phone call away from an exorcist. The Independent website reports that a new hotline has been set up in the Italian city:
The Catholic Church has established an exorcist hotline in Milan, its biggest diocese, to cope with demand. Monsignor Angelo Mascheroni, the diocese’s chief exorcist since 1995, said the curia had also appointed twice as many exorcists to cope with a doubling in the number of requests for help over 15 years.

“We get many requests for names, addresses, and phone numbers; that’s why we’ve set up a switchboard in the curia from Monday to Friday from 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.,” he told the chiesadimilano website.

“People in need can call and will be able to find a priest in the same area who doesn’t have to travel too far.” And to that end, the number of demon-busting priests on call has increased from six to 12.
The Monsignor said he knew of one exorcist who had been seeing up to 120 people a day. “But with so little time per client he was only able to offer a quick blessing. That’s not enough,” he said. ”There should be two to four appointments a day, no more, otherwise it’s too much.”
Read the full story here.

Anglicans come home

U.S. Catholic ordinariate creates Canadian deanery
Msgr. Jeffrey N. Steenson, newly appointed ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, addresses the congregation during a Mass of confirmation and reception at Mount Calvary Church in Baltimore Jan. 22. CNS photo / Nancy Phelan Wiechec.
Catholic News Agency reports that the Vatican has approved a new Canadian deanery for the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter that will minister to Anglicans and their clergy who wish to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church.

Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto and Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, the head of the ordinariate, based in Houston, Tex., announced the news Dec. 7. They had petitioned the Holy See to create the deanery after the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops stated its unanimous support at its September plenary assembly in Quebec.

Pope Benedict XVI established the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter Jan. 1. It is a special church structure the Pope allowed in his 2009 apostolic constitution "Anglicanorum Coetibus."

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

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

U.K. Catholics react to PM's plan for gay marriage

Bishop of Portsmouth warns Tory plan would 'strangle religious freedom'
Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth criticized Prime Minister David Cameron's support of same-sex marriage.
The National Catholic Register reports that across the pond, Catholic bishops have responded to British Prime Minister David Cameron's enthusiastic support for so-called "gay marriage."
Cameron said he doesn’t want “gay people to be excluded from a great institution.”
Not only is he pushing for legislation of same-sex “marriage”; he also wants churches to be allowed to conduct weddings for homosexual couples.
However, the PM's Conservative party released an earlier statement in March that said: 
"Legislation would be clear that no religious organization could conduct a religious marriage ceremony on religious premises for same-sex couples.”
Meanwhile, Bishop Joseph Devine of Motherwell, Scotland, wrote a letter to Cameron Dec. 9:
"I suspect it is only a matter of time before you go one step further and outlaw the teaching of Christian doctrine on sexual morality on the grounds of discrimination.”
Read the full article here

Man completes a real Noah's Ark

Johan Huibers's replica ready after 20 years
Dutch Builder Johan Huibers poses in front his exact replica of Noah's Ark.
Photo by Peter Dejong / AP.
If God decides to flood the world again Johan Huibers will be prepared. The Associated Press reports the Christian Dutchman recently completed an exact replica of Noah's Ark as described in Genesis chapters six through nine:
Translating to modern measurements, Huibers came up with a vessel that works out to a whopping 427 feet (130 meters) long, 95 feet (29 meters) across and 75 feet (23 meters) high, perhaps not big enough to fit every species on earth, two by two, as described in the Bible, but plenty of space, for instance, for a pair of elephants to dance a tango.

Johan's Ark towers across the flat Dutch landscape from where it lies moored in the city of Dordrecht, just south of Rotterdam
It is easily visible from a nearby highway.

Gazing across the ark's main hold, a huge space of stalls supported by a forest of pine trees, visitors gaze upon an array of stuffed and plastic animals, such as buffalo, zebra, gorillas, lions, tigers, bears; you name it. Elsewhere on the ark is a petting zoo with actual live animals that are less dangerous or easier to care for, such as ponies, dogs, sheep, and rabbits, and an impressive aviary of exotic birds.

"This boat – it's amazing," said Alfred Jongile, visiting from South Africa with his Dutch wife.
For Huibers, a builder by trade, it all began with a nightmare he had in 1992, when the low-lying Netherlands was flooded, as it has been many times throughout its history.
Read the full story here. And click here to view a slideshow of the modern ark.

Man in coma heard everything

Mother recalls son waking as best Christmas gift
Supporters of the father of car accident victim Eluana Englaro hold an Italian flag with a hole cut in the middle during a demonstration outside the Senate building in Rome Feb. 9. Englaro, who had been in a persistent vegetative state for 17 years, died Feb. 9 after her father won a court battle to take her off food and water. CNS photo / Chris Helgren, Reuters.
Catholic News Agency has a story about a young Italian man named Maximiliano Tresoldi, who after spending 10 years in a comatose state woke up on Christmas Day, 2000, to dry the tears of his mother, Lucrecia.

Max was only 20 years old when he was injured in a car accident on Aug. 15, 1991. Left in a coma, he was diagnosed by doctors as paralyzed "with no chance of recovery," she said. When he awoke, Max said he was aware of everything during his coma; he even knew the exchange rate between the Italian lira and the euro.

Lucrecia noted that Max was born Sept. 8, the feast of the Nativity of Mary, and his car accident happened Aug. 15, the feast of the Assumption.

Max's entire story is in a new book entitled, "E adeso vado al Max," which Lucrecia co-wrote with Italian journalists Lucia Bellaspiga and Pino Ciociola. The book received the 2012 Woman in Life literary award.

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

Quebec Court rules Catholic school must teach state course

Parents see decision as a blow to religious freedom

The B.C. Catholic has a story by Deborah Gyapong about a recent court decision in Quebec that said a Catholic school must teach a controversial ethics and religion:
A Dec. 4 Quebec Court of Appeal decision involving a private Catholic High School in Montreal is seen by a Catholic parents’ group as a blow to religious freedom and the right of Catholic institutions to be Catholic.

The Quebec Court of Appeal ruled Dec. 4 Loyola High School must teach the province’s mandatory Ethics and Religious Culture (ERC) as is, without allowing the school to offer an equivalent program.

Loyola sought to teach its own world religions and ethics course instead of the ERC. The Minister of Education determined the course was not equivalent because it taught the course from a Catholic standpoint. The Minister ordered Loyola to teach the ERC from a neutral perspective, since the point of the ERC is to foster tolerance and dialogue in pursuit of the common good.
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Man finds true calling in Rome

Former residential school student put on new path in Eternal City
Pictures of the seven new saints, including St. Kateri Tekakwitha, hang in
St. Peter's Square for the canonization celebration Oct. 21. Gordon Chualna
was among the 1,500 Canadians who witnessed her canonization.
Photo by Barbara Dowding / Special to The B.C. Catholic
The B.C. Catholic has a story about the life altering journey of Gordon Chualna. The former residential school student went to Rome to see the canonization of St. Kateri Tekakwitha, but came back with so much more:
Gordon Chualna's dream of working with the Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata, India, has fallen through, but he couldn't be happier. The Catholic Men's Hostel employee and former residential school student went to Rome instead to attend the canonization of St. Kateri Tekakwitha.

"I had no intention of going to Rome; on New Year's Day I had told my daughter I was going to Kolkata," Chualna said.

He said he admired Blessed Mother Teresa, founder of the Missionaries of Charity, and for years yearned to visit the country she served in.
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Listen up

Christmas is more than a party, Pope explains
A priest sprinkles holy water on pilgrims covered in mud and dried leaves during a Mass to celebrate the feast day of St. John the Baptist in the village of Bibiclat in Nueva Ecija province, north of Manila, Philippines. CNS photo / Cheryl Ravelo, Reuters.
In this Catholic News Agency story the Pope, speaking the day after the feast of Mary's Immaculate Conception, asks Catholics to prepare for Christmas by listening to the voice of St. John the Baptist, who teaches us to celebrate Christmas as more than a party.

"Our aim today is listening to that voice to give space and welcome to the heart of Jesus, the Word Who saves us," said Pope Benedict XVI from his apartment window to pilgrims gathered below in St. Peter's Square.

"St. Luke dispels any mythic reading that is often made of the Gospels and the life of the historical places," said Pope Benedict, recalling the Gospel writer's explicit mention of John the Baptist being born "In the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor ... during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas."

He spoke of St. Augustine, who said that Christ is the eternal word since the beginning, while John is the voice that passed by.

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

Catholics Come Home ads to premiere this week

Archbishop hails 'wonderful' commercials slated to run on City TV, CTV, Global & Omni

Only two more sleeps remain before Vancouver and Victoria TV viewers receive their invitation to come home to the Catholic Church. The Catholics Come Home commercials start airing Dec. 13 and Alistair Burns breaks down where you can see those ads:
The ads will air on local television channels City TV, CTV, CTV Two, Fairchild, Global, and OMNI throughout Advent, Christmastime, and New Year's during a variety of programs, and not just limited to the following examples: 
    •    Global News (morning, noon, and evening).
    •    CTV News (noon and evening)
    •    Mid-day: Anderson Cooper, Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil.
    •    Evening: Blue Bloods, Entertainment Tonight: Canada, Revolution.
    •    Late-night: Jay Leno, Conan O'Brien, The Simpsons.
    •    Sports: National Football League playoffs.
While most will be in English, Cantonese and Mandarin commercials will air on Chinese television in the Lower Mainland.
 Read the full story and at The B.C. Catholic website.

New appointment surprises bishop

Shepherd thought he would serve current diocese longer
Bishop Murray Chatlain
The B.C. Catholic has a story by Deborah Gyapong about the "shocking" appointment of Bishop Murray Chatlain of the Diocese of Mackenzie - Fort Smith to archbishop of Keewatin—Le Pas:
When Bishop Murray Chatlain first came to serve as coadjutor Bishop of MacKenzie-Fort Smith in 2007, his flock greeted him with the words “Welcome, for 31 years!”

“Being appointed bishop is different from being appointed as a priest,” he said in an interview following the announcement Pope Benedict XVI had chosen him to become Archbishop of Keewatin—Le Pas, filling the vacancy left by Archbishop Sylvain Lavoie’s resignation last July for health reasons.

A priest is only assigned to one place for five or six years, he said. “As a bishop you intend to be there possibly for the rest of your active ministry.”

So, Bishop Chatlain said the news of his new appointment “came as a surprise and a shock.”
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Teaching new dogs old tricks

Vatican hopes 'Scrinium' trips will spread pilgrimage to young
The Basilica of St. John Lateran might be one of the holy sites to which pilgrims will be directed if they buy trips sold in gift boxes. CNS photo / Gregory A. Shemitz, Long Island Catholic.
This Catholic News Agency story tells of the Vatican introducing a set of short trips to holy sites aimed at introducing young people to the concept of pilgrimage and teaching them about the Catholic faith.

"This is a way to reach a different public like younger people, who wouldn't normally contact Rome's pilgrim office," said Rosamaria Mancini, manager of the Vatican's Jospers community, an organization for pilgrims created by the Rome's pilgrim office.

The trips, called "Scrinium," are sold in gift boxes that include a two- to three-day trip for two people to a holy place, as well as accommodations at a bed and breakfast.

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

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