Thursday, March 28, 2013

Spanish TV anchors reflect on 'Papa Francisco'

Argentine Cardinal Bergoglio's election 'dream come true' for Hispanics
EWTN Spanish TV anchors Enrique Elias and Alejandro Bermudez discuss their excitement over Pope Francis.
(Alistair Burns / The B.C. Catholic.)
During the 2013 papal conclave, many pilgrims in St. Peter's Square peered up at a very odd sight: dozens of mushroom-shaped tents pitched on the tops of buildings that surround the Vatican.

The Eternal World Television Network (EWTN) has one of these bright, open-air TV studios for their Spanish TV anchors.
Cardinal Bergoglio's election "was an absolute surprise. Our cameraman made that very clear: 'Your face was in awe,'" recalled EWTN Spanish anchor Alejandro Bermudez. 
Bermudez's mother tongue gave him an advantage; he was not confused by the "Habemus Papam" announcement of the new Pope's name. The TV anchor immediately knew by Cardinal Bergoglio's first two names, Jorge Mario, that the cardinals had voted for "Papa Francisco." 
"It's just a dream come true for Latin American people, and for Spanish speakers," reflected Enrique Elias, fellow EWTN Spanish anchor.  
"I started to think: the Holy Spirit has no limit to His creativity," he commented.
See full article at The B.C. Catholic website.

Catholic Women's League goes to Ottawa

Delegation seeks to build bridges on Parliament Hill
Legislation chairperson Anne Marie Gorman, resolutions chairperson Shari Guinta,
and CWL president Betty Anne Brown Davidson in Ottawa March 25. “The whole
idea is to train Catholic women in leadership skills to take their place around boardroom
tables, in politics, and in business,” said Brown Davidson. (Photo: CCN)
Three members of the Catholic Women's League, hands full with resolutions from their national conventions of previous years, went to Ottawa to connect with cabinet ministers, policy advisors, and Members of Parliament.
“Education is the key, said CWL president Brown Davidson. If we teach women leadership skills, we can do anything!”

She noted how already the CWL provides wonderful leadership training for women in a community of sisterhood where, step by step, one learns how to exercise leadership in a supportive atmosphere where “it’s okay to make a mistake and we’ll help you.”

“I was a stay-at-home mom of four little kids, terrified to speak in public,” said Brown Davidson of her beginnings with CWL. “We want everyone to succeed.”
For full story, see The B.C. Catholic website.

It's a first for a Pope

Vatican did not expect Pontiff to visit youth prison
Pope Francis gives the homily during the Holy Thursday chrism Mass in St. Peter's Basilica. CNS photo / Paul Haring. 
Vatican officials thought Pope Francis would celebrate Holy Thursday Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, but an invitation from a government minister changed their plans, says a story by Catholic News Agency.

The Italian Justice Minister, Paola Severino, "was visiting the psychiatric hospital where I serve as chaplain, and she showed interest in inviting the Pope to visit an Italian prison," explained Monsignor Gino Belleri in a March 26 interview with CNA.

It turned out that "as soon as the Pope knew of the invitation of Minister Severino, he grabbed the occasion," Msgr. Belleri said. "He wanted to go to a detention centre, and he wanted to do it Holy Thursday, as he usually did as archbishop."

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

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Les Bleus cry: 'Our Lady of Rugby, pray for us!'

French chapel built after death of three local players
La Chapelle Notre-Dame-du-Rugby, or the Chapel of Our Lady of Rugby, in Larrivère-Saint-Savin, France.
With only a single victory and a tie, the French rugby team (Les Bleus) did not win the 2013 Six Nations Championship (an annual European tournament.)

But in a small town south of Bordeaux, parishioners continue to gather for prayer in a chapel dedicated to players of L'Ovalie.

The refurbished, elegant La Chapelle Notre-Dame-du-Rugby, or Our Lady of Rugby Chapel, in the town of Larrivière-Saint-Savin, awaits both supporters and faithful.

It was back in 1964 that a dream to set up Our Lady of Rugby was born.

Father Michel Devert led a three-year crusade to have a place of worship rededicated after three rugby players from the local club, Dax, were killed in a car crash.

See the full story on The B.C. Catholic website.

Let's not be 'dull or mechanical'

Holy Week is time to bring Christ to forgotten, Pope teaches
Pope Francis waves as he leaves his general audience in St. Peter's Square. CNS photo / Paul Haring.
Catholic News Agency has a story about the first Wednesday general audience given by Pope Francis. He said Holy Week is a time for moving beyond a "dull or mechanical" way of living the faith to bring the joy of Christ to those who are most distant or in need.

"Holy Week is not so much a time of sorrow, but rather a time to enter into Christ's way of thinking and acting," Pope Francis said March 27 at his first general audience.

"It is a time of grace given us by the Lord so that we can move beyond a dull or mechanical way of living our faith, and instead open the doors of our hearts, our lives, our parishes, our movements or associations, going out in search of others so as to bring them the light and the joy of our faith in Christ," he told the thousands of pilgrims.

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

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

First South American Pope surprises Vancouverites

Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, impressed with Pontiff's unique qualities
J.P. Radelet waves the Vatican City flag from the Vancouver School of Theology March 13.(Olivier Coutant / Special to The B.C. Catholic)
Vancouver Catholics were surprised by Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio's election to the papacy.
Agnieszka Krawczynski reports:
"The cardinals were obviously thinking a lot about him and didn't tell the reporters," said Archbishop J. Michael Miller.
"He was not a front runner. But when we use those terms, (understand that) no one was actually running. It was, frankly, us who turned it into a race," added the archbishop.
The staff crowded around a television at the offices of the Vancouver archdiocese were also surprised upon hearing Cardinal Bergoglio's name, quickly pulling out their smartphones to find out who he was. Many had expected the next Pope to come from Europe, possibly from Italy.
For the full article, see The B.C. Catholic's website.

Pontiff invokes St. Joseph as protector

Two hundred thousand attend Mass for inauguration of Pope Francis
(Caption: Pilgrims wave flags during the Mass for the inauguration of the Petrine Ministry of Pope Francis.
 Alistair Burns / The B.C. Catholic.)
At his inauguration as Pope on the feast of St. Joseph,  March 19,  Pope Francis used the holy carpenter's example to inspire a crowd packed into St. Peter's Square.
"Brothers and Sisters, I thank the Lord that I can celebrate this Mass on the solemnity of St. Joseph, the spouse of the Virgin Mary and the patron of the universal Church," the Holy Father began.
"All those who have positions of responsibility in economic, political, and social life, and all men and women of good will: let us be 'protectors' of creation."
Governor General David Johnston commented to The B.C. Catholic that he was "moved by the (Pope's) powerful message of caring for one another; especially those most disadvantaged."
The Pope also met Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew from Istanbul. It was a historic moment: it was the first time the spiritual leader of Orthodox Christians had attended a Catholic Pontiff's inaugural Mass in a millennium.
For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Pope Francis not a gay supporter

Claims that Pontiff supported gay civil unions disputed
Pope Francis gives a thumbs up as he makes his way around St. Peter's Square before his Mass of inauguration. CNS photo / Marcin Mazur, Bishops' Conference of England and Wales.
The director of the Catholic News Agency of Argentina (AICA) has told CNA that claims of Pope Francis supporting gay civil unions when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires are not true. Catholic News Agency reports:

Miguel Woites, who works directly with the Bishops' Conference of Argentina, the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires, and the Apostolic Nunciature, dismissed statementes made by Sergio Rubin, the author of an interview with Cardinal Bergoglio titled "Over Heaven and Earth."

Since Pope Francis's election March 13, media reports have circulated Rubin's claim that the future Pope had supported homosexual unions as a possible political compromise in Argentina. Rubin has been the only source used by the media for this claim.

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

Monday, March 25, 2013

Federal budget leaves little for families

Environmental issues and student debt receive little attention
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty after he released the 2013 federal budget.
Ray Pennings, Cardus research director, says "it's a budget that's focused
on jobs and overall economic management." (Photo: CCN)
Some critics say the federal budget, released March 21, does some good for jobs and the economy, but little for other important areas like family. Deborah Gyapong reports from Ottawa:
“This budget did not offer too much for families,” said Institute of Marriage and Family Canada executive director Andrea Mrozek. “We didn’t see anything particularly exciting.”

The institute has called for income-splitting to provide tax relief for families with a single income earner. They are taxed at a much higher rate than dual-earner families with the same income. This promised measure has been put off until the budget is balanced, Mrozek said.
For full story, see The B.C. Catholic website.

Priest begins duties as new vicar general

Humility and obedience guide Father Nguyen
Father Nguyen, director of vocations, has been chosen as the new vicar general.
"I will try whatever I can to serve our Church out of love for the Church," he said.
The archdiocese of Vancouver has a new vicar general! Father Joseph Phuong Nguyen, director of vocations, was chosen by the archbishop to take on the task.
"I don't think I'm worthy to take this role. I don't think I have the gift to take this role. But the bishop trusts me," said Father Nguyen, not without tears in his eyes.

Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, phoned Father Nguyen at the beginning of March and asked if he would be vicar general.

Father Nguyen was so overwhelmed that he asked for some time to make the decision. He spent five days and nights thinking, praying, and talking to good friends and his spiritual director.
For full story, see The B.C. Catholic website.

Priest clears Pope

Kidnap victim in Argentina clears Pope of accusations
Domenico Giani, head of the Vatican police, in glasses behind Pope Francis, looks on as the newly elected Pontiff greets people after celebrating Mass at St. Anne's Parish within the Vatican March 17. Pope Francis's style of breaking away from his security detail and diving toward the crowds means his protectors have had to do a quick rewrite of strategy, sometimes on the spot. CNS photo / Paul Haring.
Clarifying previous comments, a priest who was kidnapped during Argentina's dictatorship in the 1970s is emphasizing that Pope Francis was not responsible for his detainment. Catholic News Agency reports:

In a statement published on the official website of the Jesuit order in Germany, Father Francisco Jalics said that while he once believed his 1976 kidnapping was due to a denunciation by then-Father Bergoglio, he realized some 20 years ago that this belief was incorrect.

After the election of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio to the papacy March 13, several media reports attempted to connect the new Pontiff to the Argentine dictatorship of Rafael Videla. At the time of the dictatorship, Father Bergoglio was provincial of the Jesuits in Argentina.

Father Jalics, who is now retired in Germany, issued a statement sending his best wishes to the new Pope and offering assurances that the two are on good terms.

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

Friday, March 22, 2013

Papal meeting with diplomats

Spiritual poverty threatens world peace, Pope states
Pope Francis greets a diplomat during an audience with the Vatican diplomatic corps in the Apostolic Palace's Sala.
CNS photo / Tony Gentile, Reuters.
Catholic News Agency reports that Pope Francis invited the diplomats accredited to the Holy See to join him in fighting both material and spiritual poverty, which both contribute to lack of peace in the world.

"Fighting poverty, both material and spiritual; building peace; and constructing bridges: these, as it were, are the reference points for a journey that I want to invite each of the countries here represented to take up," Pope Francis said March 22.

The Pope met in the Regia Hall of the Apostolic Palace with representatives from more than 180 countries, sovereign orders, and international organizations that have formal relations with the Vatican.

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

Pope personally cancels daily newspaper delivery

Pope Francis greeted kiosk owner, asked for his prayers
Pope Francis gives a thumbs-up gesture (Photo by Paul Hanna, Reuters)
In his new role, the Pope will no longer require a morning newspaper delivered to his home in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He surprised the owner of a local kiosk when he called and cancelled his subscription himself:
Around 1:30 p.m. local time on March 18, Daniel Del Regno, the kiosk owner’s son, answered the phone and heard a voice say, “Hi Daniel, it’s Cardinal Jorge.”

He thought that maybe a friend who knew that the former Archbishop of Buenos Aires bought the newspaper from them every day was pulling a prank on him.

“Seriously, it’s Jorge Bergoglio, I’m calling you from Rome,” the Pope insisted.
 Catholic News Agency has the story here.

Pro-abortion politicians receive Communion at installation Mass

Prominent American politicians Catholic but pro-abortion, pro-contraception

Joe Biden (centre with sunglasses) at Pope Francis' installation mass, March 19. (Photo by Riccardo De Luca/AP)

Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi received Communion at Pope Francis' installation mass on March 19. The Washington Times has the story:
Vice President Joseph R. Biden and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi both received Communion during the Mass to celebrate the installation of Pope Francis in spite of their pro-choice position on abortion.

The vice president’s office confirmed Tuesday night that both he and Mrs. Pelosi took Communion during the Mass at St. Peter’s Square in Rome.

Some Catholics argue that politicians whose positions on abortion and contraception conflict with church teachings should not receive communion.
You can read the rest of the story here.

Groups decry decision to declare Motion 408 non-votable

Appeal process has begun
MP Mark Warawa's Motion 408 against sex-selection abortion was deemed
non-votable March 21. Warawa says an appeal process has already begun.
Various pro-life and pro-family groups are unimpressed with a parliamentary committee's decision to make Motion 408 unvotable. The motion, brought forward by MP Mark Warawa, aims to protect girls by condemning sex-selection abortions.
Warawa reacted on Twitter to the surprise decision: “Members of PMB Sub-Committee broke rules today deeming #M408 unvoteable. Were they forced and by who? An appeal process has begun.”

"Canada prides itself on freedom of speech and elects men and women to parliament who have the courage to bring forward issues of concern to the Canadian people," said Campaign Life Coalition president Jim Hughes. 
"This is anti-democratic and a violation of MP rights to be heard in parliament."
For full story, see The B.C. Catholic website.

Habemus pictura: Official portrait of Pope Francis released

The Pope's cross portrays Christ as the Good Shepherd.

The Vatican released its official portrait of Pope Francis yesterday morning, Pacific time.You can find the Vatican news release from its official Facebook page here.

Catholic grandma attacked outside American abortion clinic

Camera-phone footage records assault

An elderly Delaware woman was attacked outside an abortion clinic last week while filming the transfer of a woman for an abortion injury:

Earlier in the day Rae Stabosz had been praying outside the Planned Parenthood clinic when a woman and her mother came to the clinic. Rae learned that the woman was suffering complications to an abortion she received on March 8. Rae persuaded them to go to St. Francis hospital where it was discovered that aborted baby body parts, including a leg and foot, had been left behind by the abortionist. The woman required additional surgery and was referred to legal counsel.

You can read the rest of the account here and watch the video, embedded above. (Warning: video contains violence and profanity.)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Ignatian spirituality may guide Pope Francis

Jesuit archbishop describes the Society of Jesus' traditions
Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, SJ, says "that the cardinals
would have chosen one of us - we were speechless." (Photo: CCN)
Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, SJ, explained that it is natural for Jesuits to care about the poor. Deborah Gyapong reports from Ottawa:
“Pope Francis, in a way, embodies the best of what our tradition is about,” said Archbishop Prendergast.

The spiritual disciplines of the Society of Jesus’ founder St. Ignatius of Loyola helps one determine “what God is calling me to do in this particular circumstance at this particular time,” the archbishop said.

“As a Society, we need to let the Holy Spirit guide us in a way that is unique to each one of us. The way God speaks to me is unique to me, as distinct as my fingerprints, my DNA, and the iris of my eyes.”
For full story, see The B.C. Catholic website.

Papal elections offer hope and confidence

Holy Spirit entrusts keys to a humble Cardinal
Women react at Metropolitan Cathedral in Buenos Aires, Argentina,
March 13 after the election of new pope. The world's cardinals, meeting
in conclave at the Vatican, elected as pope Cardinal Jorge Mario
Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, who took the name Francis. (Photo: CNS)
Monsignor Pedro Lopez-Gallo writes about the successes of the past few popes and the joy many found in welcoming the newest one: Pope Francis.
The election of a new Pope is always a reason for hope and confidence. Take, for instance, the proclamation of St. Pius X in 1903. Instead of being exultant, he refused, twice, to accept the vote, until the third ballot showed him that it was the will of God.

Weeping, he accepted the job of Successor of St. Peter, and what a great and holy Pope he was!

Today we have another Moses who will guide the people of God to the fertile land of holiness. With calm and paternal persuasion, Pope Francis will continue the fervour and aspirations of Benedict XVI in this Year of Faith.

Everything about his nomination is symbolic and encouraging, beginning with his name Francis, taken from the beloved saint from Assisi. By a stroke of genius, a learned Jesuit has united himself with the austerity of the Franciscans.
For full story, see The B.C. Catholic website.

Papal Mass in prison

Pope's Holy Thursday celebration to be with youth in detention
Pope Francis embraces Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, spiritual leader of Orthodox Christians, March 20. CNS photo / L'Osservatore Romano via Reuters.
A Catholic News Agency story reports that Pope Francis will celebrate the Mass of the Lord's Supper at a youth detention centre rather than the traditional Basilica of St. John Lateran.

On March 28, Holy Thursday, Pope Francis will celebrate the Chrism Mass in St. Peter's Basilica in the morning, but then go to the Casal del Marmo youth detention centre rather than the Basilica of St. John Lateran.

This is the new Pontiff's tradition from his days as Archbishop of Buenos Aires. During that time, Cardinal Bergoglio would celebrate Holy Thursday Mass in a hospital, prison, or shelter for the poor.

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

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Papal outfitters reflect the office they serve

Pontiff's clothing crafted in discreet Italian shop
The Gammarelli's storefront in Rome, near the Piazza Navona. The tailor has designed
clothing for Pontiffs since 1922. Until a week ago, three different-sized sets of white
vestments were displayed in the window. (Alistair Burns / The B.C. Catholic)
Who gets the fantastic opportunity of making the Pope's shoes and vestments? The B.C. Catholic's Alistair Burns writes from Rome:
Inside the shop, four men were bent over placing brown pattern pieces on a beautiful bolt of deep green brocade spread on a large countertop in the middle of the store. Once in a while they would glance at each other through horn-rimmed glasses and chat quietly in Italian.

The men were surrounded by bolts of brightly coloured materials stretching from floor to ceiling. Only one humble reminder showed the profound dedication that Gammarelli's has had, clothing the past seven Pontiffs, since 1922.

In a corner, small official portraits hang next to each other of Popes Pius XI, Pius XII, Blessed John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, Blessed John Paul II, and Benedict XVI.
For full story, see The B.C. Catholic website.

New Age practices incompatible with Christianity

Holy Spirit never interferes with free will
Moira Noonan speaks out against the New Age movement. "Psychic gifts are not from the
Holy Spirit," she said during an Edmonton conference. (Photo: Western Catholic Reporter)
Moira Noonan was a former New Age practitioner who now warns Christians against the movement. She spoke at a conference in Edmonton last week. Chris Miller from the Western Catholic Reporter writes:
Speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues, prophecy, wisdom, music and reverence are gifts of the Holy Spirit which are aimed to uplift and encourage the Christian community, said Moira Noonan.

People are predisposed to receive these gifts if they have such virtues as docility, humility and modesty, Noonan said.

“These gifts are very different from a New Age practitioner who practises as a metaphysician, one who is trained in secret knowledge and esoteric ways of receiving knowledge, from master to disciple, not through docility, but through power and control and domination,” she said.

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

'The Bible' makes its television debut

Small-screen premiere draws 1.05 million Canadian viewers

A ten hour, five part epic television mini-series based on the Bible called "The Bible" debuted on March 3 to high ratings on the History Channel. The series, produced by Catholics Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, is based on the New International Version and New Revised Standard Version translations of the Bible. Two episodes are aired each Sunday at 8 p.m. with airtime of an hour each; the first five cover the Old Testament and the rest follow the Gospels. The series was developed with consultation from a wide range of multi-denominational advisors including Tom Peterson of Catholics Come Home and a Catholic cardinal.

Reception for the series has been mixed although viewership ratings were high. In Canada, the series premiere drew 1.05 million viewers while in the United States it drew 13.1 million. Viewership in the States has hovered around the ten million mark since then.

You can watch the series trailer above and catch the last four episodes on March 24 and 31 at 8 p.m. on the History Channel, just in time for Palm and Easter Sunday.

A papal inauguration

Francis's papal symbols linked to past Popes
Prints of Pope Francis are seen for sale at a religious goods store near the Vatican in Rome March 20. CNS photo / Lauren Colegrove.
When Pope Francis was installed as Bishop of Rome March 19, the two major symbols of the authority he received were connected to previous Popes. Catholic News Agency has a story:

The inauguration ceremony began with Pope Francis visiting the tomb of St. Peter. He then processed out to the square, with the patriarchs of the Eastern Catholic Churches carrying the Book of the Gospels, his pallium, and the fisherman's ring.

As the procession made its way, a choir sang a special litany of the saints that included those Popes who have been recognized as saints. In addition to these echoes of previous Popes, the papal ring and the pallium, the circular stole of white wool that archbishops wear, are connected to Popes Paul VI and Benedict XVI, respectively.

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

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Pro-abortion extremists shut down MP’s talk

Stephen Woodworth shouted down at University of Waterloo
MP Stephen Woodworth was only one-third of the way through a talk about human
dignity when pro-abortion extremists shouted him down. (Photo: Catholic Register)
"I wasn't going to engage in a shouting match with them," said MP Stephen Woodworth after he was stopped mid-way through a presentation by shouting pro-abortion extremists March 13. This was not the first time he faced such opposition.
“My concern is there are these extremists who are so pre-occupied with the single issue of abortion that they are unwilling to listen to anyone else and they are willing to throw aside every other democratic value like freedom of speech and respectful dialogue,” Woodworth said.

These extremists seem to think “there’s a virtue in hatred and disrespect,” he said, noting he was speaking of the universal and equal dignity of every human being.
For full story, see The B.C. Catholic website.

'Consumer heaven' doesn't allow room for babies

A misunderstanding of beauty is one of the leading causes of abortion
James Borkowski and Ross Labrie discuss pro-life issues at the North Shore Pro-Life Society's
annual general meeting March 6. (Photo: Agnieszka Krawczynski / The B.C. Catholic)
James Borkowski, executive director for Signal Hill, believes an oversexualized culture allows for abortion because it destroys human beauty, dignity, and life.
"Young people are being objectified, pressured, and oversexualized, not only earlier than ever, but more often than ever," he said at the North Shore Pro-Life Society's annual general meeting March 6. "There are a lot of people at risk if human worth is not intrinsic."

The outrageous calls from culture to be more attractive, successful, and powerful are destroying women's views of beauty. Borkowski called it an epidemic, saying the sexual pressure put on 13-year-old girls today is equivalent to the pressure put on 18-year-olds a generation ago.
For full story, see The B.C. Catholic website.

Pope Francis installed

Pilgrim at Pope's Mass: 'Today everyone feels Argentinian'
Pope Francis greets people in St. Peter's Square before celebrating his inaugural Mass.
CNS photo / Alessia Giuliani, Catholic Press Photo.
A Catholic News Agency story says everyone felt a little Argentinian and extremely happy today, according to members of diverse religious orders who attended the Pope's Mass and installation the morning of March 19, the feast of St. Joseph.

"Today everyone feels Argentinian, or at least us Latin Americans do," said Peruvian priest Father Jose Tola in St. Peter's Square. "I'm extremely happy and excited," he told CNA during the inauguration Mass of Pope Francis which officially began his pontificate.

American Cardinal William J. Levada described it as "a wonderful and exciting day." "It's a beautiful day here: Saint Joseph's feast day, installation of the new Holy Father, so I'm all excited and we pray for him, " said the cardinal, who is prefect emeritus of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith.

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

Monday, March 18, 2013

Pontiff 'not guilty'

Priest defends Pope Francis against 'Dirty War' accusations
Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner shakes hands with Pope Francis during a private meeting March 18. CNS photo / L'Osservatore Romano via Reuters.
In a Catholic News Agency column, professor and priest Father Matthew Lamb dispels allegations that Pope Francis did not speak out against the kidnapping of two Jesuits during the country's civil conflict in the 1970s.

Father Lamb, chairman of the theology department at Ave Maria University in Florida, discusses the case of two Jesuits who were kidnapped by the Argentine government in the 1970s. From 1973 to 1980, Father Jorge Bergoglio was the head of the Jesuits' Argentine province.

During that time, the military junta that ruled Argentina levelled a "Dirty War" against Marxist and left-wing activists and militants, which included the forced disappearance of tens of thousands of people.

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

Youngsters participate in Pink Shirt Day

Catholic elementary schools emphasize friendship and mutual respect
Pink-clad students at St. Patrick's School in Maple Ridge learn about respect during the provincial anti-bullying day. "Bullying behaviours are a direct result of a lack of understanding of the importance of respect for one another," said Clive Heah, principal at St. Patrick's. (Photo: Clive Heah / Special to The B.C. Catholic)
Elementary schools across the archdiocese organized various activities in recognition of the provincial Anti-Bullying Day or Pink Shirt Day. Here is what some of the young students did Feb. 27:
The focus of Pink Shirt Day at Star of the Sea Catholic School was on respect. "Respect is one of our three core values at Star of the Sea, along with Reverence and Responsibility," said Grade 4 teacher Joanna D'Mello.

Donning pink shirts saying "Respect starts here," D'Mello's class created short skits similar to the Pink Shirt Day public service announcements on TV. "Our theme was to show that respect starts with us, and with that concept and value we can abolish bullying by treating each other with love," explained D'Mello.
For full story, see The B.C. Catholic website.

Bishops discuss use of foreign priests

Mentoring builds on inculturation programs
Bishop David Motiuk says international priests often need help understanding cultural
differences, such as increased roles for the laity or the role of parish pastoral councils.
Bishops of Western Canada met Feb. 26 to March 1 to discuss a pilot project that would mentor and provide support for foreign priests before they arrive in the country. The Western Catholic Reporter's Glen Argan writes:
Often foreign priests need help adapting to differences such as an increased role for laity and women, the role of parish pastoral councils, and approaches to financial oversight, which may be different than in their homelands, said Bishop David Motiuk.
The bishops' discussion was led by Sulpician Father Andrzej Szablewski, the human formation director at St. Joseph Seminary in Edmonton. 
The bishops also received an overview of issues involving the immigration status and visas for international priests from Josee Marr, the vice-chancellor of the Edmonton archdiocese, Bishop Motiuk said.
 For full story, see The B.C. Catholic website.

Friday, March 15, 2013

'Go out to all the world'

Pope tells cardinals: discover new ways to evangelize
Pope Francis leaves the Sistine Chapel after being elected Pope and shortly before appearing for the first time on the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica. CNS photo / L'Osservatore Romano.
Catholic News Agency has a story about Pope Francis urging the College of Cardinals to courageously persevere in finding new ways to evangelize.

"We have the certainty that the Holy Spirit gives his Church, with his powerful breath, the courage to persevere and to search for new ways to evangelize," Pope Francis said on March 15 in the Vatican's Clementine Hall.

He met with cardinals, including the elderly ones who did not participate in his election at 11 a.m. Friday.

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

Thursday, March 14, 2013

New Pope lived simple life in Argentina

Father Rosica met Archbishop Bergolio
Father Rosica, CEO of Salt and Light Television, spoke with Pope Francis
before his papal election. The Cardinal asked Father Rosica for his prayers.
(Photo: Alistair Burns / The B.C. Catholic)
Father Thomas Rosica took a walk with Cardinal Bergoglio a few days before his election as Pope Francis. He also met him in February 2001 and witnessed his humble, prayerful lifestyle.
Pope Francis lives very simply, brings a pastoral approach to his ministry, and is a man of prayer, according to the Vatican's press office director.
Father Thomas Rosica, the English-language assistant for the Vatican press office, told journalists at a hastily arranged March 13 press briefing that he had talked to Pope Francis on Sunday, March 10.
"Sunday night we were out for a walk and he pulled me over. He took me by the hand and said, 'I want you to pray for me. I'm a little nervous right now.'"
For full story, see The B.C. Catholic website.

Pope Francis has 'already won our hearts'

New Pontiff to cardinals: 'I hope God forgives you'
Pope Francis appears for the first time on the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican March 13.
(CNS photo/Paul Haring)
The newly elected Pope Francis joked with cardinals over dinner March 13, telling them he hoped God would forgive them for having chosen him. Catholic News Agency has a story.

"When the Secretary of State toasted him, he toasted us back and said, 'I hope God forgives you,'" Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan recalled at the Pontifical North American College that night.

"He has already won our hearts, and we had a very fraternal meal at the Domus Santa Marta, where we have been staying," said the cardinal during an 11 p.m. press conference.

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

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Anti-bullying efforts must respect conscience rights

Public schools should respect traditional morality
Theresa and Alan Yoshioka of EnCourage Toronto, a Catholic ministry for friends
and relatives of people with same-sex attraction, experienced bullying growing up.
Alan struggled with same-sex attraction during university. (Photo: CCN)
Traditional views of homosexuality are becoming the target of anti-bullying efforts and gay-straight alliances according to Alan Yoshioka, former gay activist. A seminar by the Catholic Organization for Life and Family focused on the issue, saying public schools should respect varied views on same-sex attraction.
“A public school should respect diversity of convictions about homosexuality by not promoting a single ideology perspective,” developmental psychologist, author and character development specialist Thomas Lickona told the annual Catholic Organization for Life and Family seminar March 7-8.

“A school can do this by teaching: we uphold standards of behavior which honour the dignity and worth of all individuals regardless of gender, ethnicity, race, physical mental abilities, religious beliefs, sexual orientation or socioeconomic background,” he said. “Respect for diversity includes freedom of conscience as part of that.”

Former gay activist Alan Yoshioka told the seminar that anti-bullying efforts “are being used to advance an agenda I used to espouse.”
For full story, see The B.C. Catholic website.

A New Leaf reveals a living example of charity

New documentary showcases Catholic efforts in Sahel
Women from the Sahel region watch filming of the documentary A New Leaf
(Photo courtesy of Salt and Light Television)
A new documentary by Salt and Light Television documents the work of Caritas Internationalis during a food crisis in Niger last year. A New Leaf raises some important issues about helping the poor, and shows how people of other faiths come to appreciate Christians because of the aid they provide.
Unlike videos featuring starving children with protruding ribs, A New Leaf places its emphasis on aid. The documentary is peppered with short interviews of local women and pastors, and with short clips of Nigerians clapping and cheering "Caritas! Caritas!"
CCODP and Caritas Niger are part of Caritas Internationalis, an international umbrella group of Catholic aid agencies.

The Sahel, which includes parts of Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mauritania, Algeria, and Senegal, is no stranger to difficulty. With only a few months of rain a year, it is prone to drought. Rising food prices, locust swarms, and warmer climates also threaten to starve the locals.
For full story, see The B.C. Catholic website.

You can also watch the A New Leaf trailer here.

Smoke signals

It's black at the Vatican: no Pope yet
Pilgrims shelter from rain while waiting for smoke to rise from a chimney atop the Sistine Chapel March 13.
CNS photo / Eric Gaillard, Reuters.
Catholic News Agency reported black smoke rising from the chimney atop the Vatican's Sistine Chapel at 7:42 p.m. local time March 12, signalling that the College of Cardinals had not yet come to an agreement in electing the Church's new Pope.

The doors of the Sistine Chapel had been closed earlier in the evening with the declaration "extra omnes": everyone out, beginning the conclave that will choose the next Pope.

The ceremony, called the "Rite for Entrance into Conclave," began with a procession from the Pauline Chapel to the Sistine Chapel, a walk of about 50 yards through Regia Hall.

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

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Catholics accept medals for contribution to Canada

Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medals awarded to local parishioners
Tomas Avendano, Cely Fortaleza, Amy Sundberg, Minister Jason Kenney,
Analyn Perez, and Marissa Pena at the award ceremony Feb. 9. Avendano, who was
one of the first 60 Canadians to receive the award, helped Kenney present the Queen's
medals to these four women. (Photo: Christian Cunanan / Special to The B.C. Catholic)
Over the last year, the governor general has awarded 60,000 Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medals to Canadians in recognition of their contributions to our country. Among them were Vancouver Catholics Araceli "Cely" Fortaleza, Amy Sundberg, Analyn Perez, and Marissa Pena.
Amy Sundberg was humbled by the announcement that she had been chosen for the award. Her contribution to the community is largely behind the scenes.

As a Community Relations Organizer, she helps immigrants integrate into the culture. "I encourage them to realize there is so much they can bring to their adopted communities," said Sundberg. She added that she motivates "them to start taking leadership positions."

She also mentors future political leaders and is very involved in Vancouver's Filipino community. Sundberg said she dedicates her medal to the memory of her husband, who was her source of encouragement.

"I'm so used to doing things behind the scenes and pushing other people to the front," Sundberg said, "but sometimes I get in situations where I also have to be in the front."
For the full story, see The B.C. Catholic website.

Post-abortion healing aids culture of life

Healed women will never have another abortion says Project Rachel founder
Vicki Thorn, founder of Project Rachel says women who have had
abortions have "a hole in their souls as big as a truck." (Photo: CCN)
According to Vicki Thorn, executive director of the National Office of Post-Abortion Reconciliation and Healing, women who have been spiritually healed after an abortion become the biggest pro-life advocates. Deborah Gyapong reports from Ottawa:
It is through post-abortion healing that “God is building a culture of life one soul at a time, one life at a time,” said Vicki Thorn, founder of Project Rachel.

A woman who has been healed will never have an abortion again, Thorn said. A woman who is not healed “will go into traumatic re-enactment” and will have abortions over and over again.

Science reveals that women carry the cells from every child they conceive for their whole life. “They are everywhere in her body,” Thorn said, and they seem to repair cells that become damaged. Children carry the cells of their older siblings.

“Biologically we can’t forget our children,” whether they are born, miscarried or aborted, she said.
For full story, see The B.C. Catholic website.

A number of Romans swearing

Florists, bus drivers, and technicians take oath
U.S. cardinals take a short bus ride to the synod hall at the Vatican March 11 for the cardinals' last general congregation meeting before the conclave. CNS photo / George Martell, courtesy of The Pilot Media Group.
Catholic News Agency reports that the evening of March 11, 90 people who will assist the conclave in various capacities took an oath not to divulge anything about it or the events surrounding it.

Among the people participating were "religious for the sacristy, religious for confession, nurses and doctors, waiters and food service personnel from Santa Marta, technical assistants, and people who clean Santa Marta and the Vatican," said Vatican press director Father Federico Lombardi, SJ, at a March 11 briefing.

The list also includes less obvious personnel, such as florists, minibus drivers who transport the cardinals to the Sistine Chapel, and the heads of the Swiss Guard and Vatican Police.

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

Monday, March 11, 2013

Context for human dignity erodes when faith in God declines

Euthanasia and abortion don't solve problems, they create new ones
Catholic Organization for Life and Family president Bishop Simard speaks at an
annual seminar March 7-8. "Dignity is an essential attribute of every man and
woman simply because they belong to humanity," he said. (Photo: CCN)
Montreal Archbishop Christian Lépine and Valleyfield Bishop Noel Simard spoke about human dignity at an annual seminar put on by the Catholic Organization for Life and Family. They argued that the basis of human rights relies on God, not opinion.
If every human being’s subjective opinion becomes a basis for deciding when life begins or ends, chaos will result. Archbishop Lépine argued that if a government or majority decrees a different basis for human life, it would be like decreeing two plus two does not equal four.

He pointed out the understanding of human rights has weakened over the past 50-60 years since the United Nation’s 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. After its ratification it would have been unthinkable for anyone to say, "Because you believe in God, you can’t speak," he said.

When the Catholic vision of God dissolves, so does the project of basing a society on the dignity of the human being because the only unshakeable foundation is God, he said in French.

"We cannot proclaim life without proclaiming God."
For full story, see The B.C. Catholic website.

Lectors prepare for Easter's earth-shattering revelations

Former Broadway actor gives reading advice
Father Evanko, seen here in an undated photo, is
teaching a new course for lectors. (Photo submitted)
As Holy Week and Easter Week draw nearer, lectors are preparing to do their best during this important time. Father Edward Danylo Evanko, former Broadway actor and singer, gave a group of lectors some tips.
"Read as if each new sentence is a new revelation," encouraged Father Edward Evanko, pastor of Holy Dormition of the Mother of God Ukrainian Catholic Church.

The clergyman, a former Broadway actor and singer, had been asked by Father John Horgan, pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul, to impart tips from his 40 years of stage experience.

"It's not just a matter of public speaking; lectors help us to pray and to understand the richness of God's word," Father Horgan commented.

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

Cenacle to accompany cardinals

Rome youth centre to host perpetual adoration during conclave
People kneel as they receive Communion in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. In his almost eight-year pontificate, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI encouraged a revival of Eucharistic adoration and the use of Gregorian chant.
CNS photo / Paul Haring.
Catholic News Agency has a story saying that a centre for students and young people in Rome has announced it will host 24-hour Eucharistic adoration to pray for the Church and the cardinals in the upcoming conclave.

"As the apostles were united with Mary in the Cenacle at Pentecost, today again the cardinals pray in an attitude of availability to the Holy Spirit," the centre's chaplain, Father Fabien Lambert, said in a March 8 statement.

Adoration at the Centro San Lorenzo will begin one day prior to the start of the conclave at 11 a.m. local time and will continue "until the end of the conclave."

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

Friday, March 8, 2013

Fundraiser promotes Lenten reflection

Special collection for CCODP March 17
This is a screen capture from A New Leaf by Salt and Light Television.
The documentary shows the aid Catholic organizations provided
in the Sahel region during a food crisis, of which CCODP was a part.
The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP) is currently in its largest fundraiser of the year, called Share Lent. Part of this campaign is a Canada-wide collection on March 17.

John Gabor, B.C.-Yukon animator for CCODP, says "It's not just about money, but just as much about a time to reflect."

"Everything is focused on human rights," said Gabor. "It's the whole basis of the organization."

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

You can also check out CCODP's Share Lent website here.

Catholics can "adopt a cardinal," support him with prayer

Father Federico Lombardi, SJ: There is a movement of prayer with the help of a website.
A screen capture of the "Adopt a Cardinal" website.
In light of the announcement of the papal conclave, a new initiative provides prayer for cardinals and, quite possibly, the next Pope:

Jugend 2000 (Youth 2000), an international Catholic youth movement that was founded in 1990 after John Paul II visited Santiago de Compostela in 1989, has crafted an innovative way to involve Catholics in praying for the cardinals involved in the process of electing the new Pope.

They have sponsored a web page- which you are assigned a particular cardinal (randomly) to pray for before the conclave, during the conclave, and for three days after the election.
You can read the rest of the story here and adopt your very own cardinal at this link.

VATICAN DISPATCHES: Scene in an Italian restaurant

Cardinal O'Malley of Boston enjoys pizza after cardinals' meetings
Cardinal O'Malley enjoys reading newspaper on a flight to Rome.
Photo credit: Cardin
al Seán's blog

VATICAN CITYHeads up, wannabe reporters: when reporting overseas, do NOT forget your camera even when you go out for a bite.

I was warned by the concierge at my Rome hotel March 6 that the pizzeria across the street was a favourite hang-out for cardinals, but I didn't heed the warning and left my camera in my room.

"Right," I thought, "as if a prince of the Church would hang out in a crowded, homey, Italian restaurant."

But lo and behold, when I walked in and sat down, a bearded man with a brown habit was only a table away.

My brain kept saying, 'You know that man.'  And guess what? I did know his face, at least. The friar tucking into a pizza was none other than Cardinal Seán O'Malley of Boston.

His distinctive accent gave his identity away as he sat with other self-described "Boston pilgrims."

"We brought our dear cardinal with us," one Bostonian said.

It was nice to see a prelate with enormous responsibilities having fun after a hard day's work at the Vatican.

Anticipated announcement finally made

Cardinals select Tuesday, March 12, for conclave
A prelate holds up a booklet emblazoned with the "sede vacante" seal as cardinals gather in synod hall at the Vatican March 7 for one of several general congregation meetings ahead of the conclave. CNS photo / L'Osservatore Romano.
After five days of meetings, the College of Cardinals has voted to hold a conclave to elect the next Pope on Tuesday, March 12. Catholic News Agency has a story:

"The eighth General Congregation of the College of Cardinals has decided that the conclave will begin on Tuesday, 12 March 2013," Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi, SJ, said at 5:36 p.m. Rome time March 8, 8:36 a.m. Vancouver time.

"In the afternoon the cardinals will enter the conclave," said Father Lombardi, and the first session of voting will begin in the Sistine Chapel after the cardinals have celebrated Mass "Pro Eligendo Romano Pontifice" (for the election of the Roman Pontiff) in St. Peter's Basilica in the morning.

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

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