Friday, November 29, 2013

Holy Rosary inspection proceeds

Cathedral expected to benefit from restorative work
Technical specialists swing high. John Sherstobitoff / Special to The B.C. Catholic.
John Cooke (right) from John G. Cooke & Associates Ltd. and an assistant came to inspect Holy Rosary Cathedral Nov. 17. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Also newly posted:

Pontiff issues his first apostolic exhortation
A copy of the apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium ("The Joy of the Gospel") by Pope Francis. CNS photo / Alessandro Bianchi, Reuters.
In his first apostolic exhortation, "The Joy of the Gospel," Pope Francis urged the Christian faithful to begin "a new chapter of evangelization," marked by the joy that is "constantly born anew" with Christ. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Study finds R-rated movies harmful to faith

Research claims the films lower Mass attendance
Pilgrims crowd Copacabana beach as Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass of World Youth Day July 28 in Rio de Janeiro. During the service the pope commissioned an estimated 3 million people in attendance to become missionaries without borders. CNS photo / Paulo Whitaker, Reuters.
A new study has shown that movies, one of the most influential forms of media, influence viewers' perception of the importance of faith. Baylor University recently found that young people of faith who began viewing R-rated movies with explicitly adult material began to attend church less often than their comrades. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Also newly posted:

Fundraiser to benefit youth formation
Participants smile and wave at Spirit Day. Derek Juneson / Special to The B.C. Catholic.
Second collections cover many worthwhile causes. The Nov. 30 / Dec. 1 collection will go to help youth in the archdiocese. Clay Imoo, director of the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry hopes parishioners donate generously. He said the funds will help provide formation and training, as well as helping fund parishes with active youth ministry programs. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

CCCB president welcomed to archdiocese

Quebec evangelization must bring people back to Jesus, not just to Mass
Archbishop Paul-Andre Durocher with Sister Clarita, Sister Pablita, Frances Cabahug, Scott Small, and Julia Ruggier at the Archbishop's Dinner. Photo by Agnieszka Krawczynski / The B.C. Catholic.
Among the 800 guests at the Archbishop's Dinner Oct. 30 was the new president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB). Archbishop Paul-Andre Durocher of Gatineau spoke to The B.C. Catholic on the current situation in Quebec. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Also newly posted:

Google exhumes Roman catacombs
A fresco is pictured inside the catacomb of Priscilla in Rome Nov. 19. The catacomb, used for Christian burials from the late 2nd century through the 4th century, reopened to the public after years of restoration. Users of Google Maps now can see virtually through the underground corridors of the catacombs. Max Rossi / CNS.
The Internet's largest search engine has created a digital map of two large catacombs in Rome, hoping to reveal the historical sites' beauty and motivate viewers to learn more about them. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Doctor protested abortion on the streets of Vancouver

Brian Frazer was the first physician to protest at Vancouver's first abortion clinic
Twenty-five years ago this November, Dr. Brian Frazer became the first doctor to take his opposition to abortion to the streets of Vancouver. He stood outside Everywoman's Health Centre with a homemade picket sign stating "doctors against abortion" when Vancouver's first abortion clinic opened on Victoria Drive near 44th Avenue. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Also newly posted:

Pontiff kisses, blesses, severely disfigured man
Pope Francis embraces Vinicio Riva, 53, during his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Nov. 6. Riva, who is afflicted with neurofibromatosis, said receiving the Vicar of Christ's embrace was like being in paradise. Claudio Peri / EPA / CNS.
Continuing his efforts to promote a "culture of encounter" with the disabled, Pope Francis again embraced a severely disfigured man after his Nov. 20 weekly audience in St. Peter's Square. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Hundreds open the door in faith

Fundraiser provides $220,000 for food, clothing, support services
Archbishop Miller with members of St. Andrew Kim Parish. Photo by Alistair Burns / The B.C. Catholic.
The 2nd Annual Archbishop's Dinner raised $220,000 for The Door Is Open, after an anonymous benefactor generously matched the first $50,000 of donations to the drop-in ministry located in the heart of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Other stories recently posted to the site include:

World Council of Churches gathers

Thousands of Christians from 345 churches and denominations flocked to Busan, South Korea, for the 10th assembly of the World Council of Churches. The ecumenical event involved daily worship, meetings, and multi-denominational discussion. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

High River flood continues to affect faithful after 5 months

Over five months ago, the costliest natural disaster in Canadian history, the now infamous flood, hit Alberta. Since June some of the 13,000 residents of High River, Alta., have been rebuilding their homes and lives in a spirit of thanksgiving. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Archdiocese to hold special collection Nov. 24

Philippines struck by the worst disaster in their history
Residents pray inside a damaged Catholic church Nov. 10 after Typhoon Haiyan battered Tacloban, Philippines. The Category 5 storm, one of the strongest in history, made landfall Nov. 8 with sustained winds of 250 kilometres per hour. Romeo Ranoco / Reuters / CNS.
The official death toll from Typhoon Haiyan's destructive swath through the Philippines stood at 2,500 lives Nov. 14. With 11 million people from the 7,000-island nation affected, aid from numerous countries is being rushed to homeless refugees from flattened cities. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Other stories recently posted to the site include:

Church is 'depository' of God's forgiveness, Pope says

In his weekly general audience, Pope Francis spoke about the power Jesus gave the apostles to forgive sins in His name, stating that priest's should exercise this ministry with "humility." For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

NDP MLA asks for expansion of 'bubble zones'

An NDP Member of the Legislative Assembly has moved to expand the so-called "bubble zone" around abortion clinics. Maurine Karagianis, the MLA for Esquimalt - Royal Roads, wants to enlarge the no-protest range from 50 to 60 metres, after complaints were made to West Shore RCMP detachment about a prayer vigil in Greater Victoria. She has written to Terry Lake, the provincial health minister. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Lions QB takes life's challenges in stride

Travis Lulay leaps into end zone on faith, Popes, and how to be a role model
(Caption: B.C. Lions quarterback Travis Lulay tries to avoid Saskatchewan Roughrider Weldon Brown (#35) during the 2013 Western semi-final in Regina. The Lions lost 29-25, while the Riders have advanced to the Grey Cup vs. Hamilton. Photo credit: B.C. Lions.)
B.C. Lions quarterback Travis Lulay spoke to The B.C. Catholic about growing up in a family faithful to the Church; also about his favourite Pope, professional pressure, and how men should act in life. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Other stories recently posted to the site include:

Concluding the Year of Faith

The Year of Faith will come to a close after a Mass said by Pope Francis on the Feast of Christ the King, Nov. 24. The year began with a Mass said by Pope Benedict XVI Oct. 11, 2012. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Montreal school seeks exemption for ethics program

The principle underlying the Ethics and Religious Culture program required for all Quebec schools is the same one propelling the province's ban on certain religious symbols through the Charter of Religious Freedoms, a Montreal high school principal said. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Lt. Col. Doherty: a man of faith, a man of strength

Before his full life in psychiatric medicine, he enlisted in the Army Medical Corps
Poppies growing wild in a field, made famous by the poem, "In Flanders' Fields." Peter Nobes writes that Charles, Elwena, and their two sons all await resurrection in a beautiful place. Photo submitted.
St. Peter's Cemetery has some graves with a simple cross, others unmarked. One of the most striking, marked "DOHERTY," has the inscription, "Erected in memory of / Lieut Col Charles E. Doherty C.A.M.C. Medical Superintendent / Provincial Mental Hospitals 1905 - 1920 / By His Fellow Workers / Aged 48 years." For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Other stories recently posted to the site include:

French movement to protect marriage is welcoming of all

A French movement dedicated to the understanding of marriage as an institution between a man and a woman has assembled a large coalition that respects all persons, regardless of political affiliation or sexuality. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

St. Kateri commemorated in the Battlefords

The Diocese of Prince Albert and Notre Dame de Lourdes Parish in North Battleford celebrated the first anniversary of the canonization of St. Kateri Tekakwitha, affectionately known as the Lily of the Mohawks, Sept. 22. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Blessed John XXIII aided soldiers in 'world of agony'

He was the spiritual director of the Bergamo seminary by war's end
Father Angelo Roncalli (left) who eventually became Pope John XXIII, poses in his military chaplain's uniform with his brothers Zaverio and Giuseppe during the First World War. United Press International.
A future Pontiff served with his fellow Italians in the First World War. Angelo Roncalli, elected to the papacy as Pope John XXIII, was born near Bergamo in 1881 and ordained in 1904. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Other stories recently posted to the site include:

Pope thanks boy for entrusting him to guardian angel

A 16-year-old Argentine boy who suffers from chronic encephalopathy, a brain disorder, was moved by a letter from Pope Francis responding to a note he had sent the Pontiff a few days earlier. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Young men spend weekend pondering priesthood

Adrien Rondeau, 17, has been thinking of the priesthood on and off since childhood. As a matter of fact, the Cold Lake youth took his Grades 8 and 9 at the Seminary of Christ the King in Mission, B.C., in pursuit of his dream. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Remembering Men of Faith

Great War's Vicar of Christ called for an equitable peace
Pope Benedict XV
Amid the casualties, rolling artillery barrages, and mustard gas attacks suffered by millions of men during the First World War, one man adamantly stood for a cessation of hostilities: Pope Benedict XV. Only made a cardinal in May 1914 by Pope Pius X, Benedict began his reign Sept. 3, 1914, a month into the fighting. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Other stories recently posted to the site include:

Pope Francis most popular name online, survey says

A new global survey has revealed that Pope Francis has topped the list of names most mentioned on the Internet so far this year, with his twitter account also receiving a high ranking on a list of most mentioned words. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Abortion increases risk of mental illness

Priscilla Coleman strongly believes that having an abortion can lead to developing a mental illness. "Overall we know pretty systematically that women who have an abortion compared to birth are at an increased risk for various mental health problems," Coleman said. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Thousands gather in Nazareth for Year of Faith event

Jerusalem patriarch urges continued efforts for peace
Nuns receive communion during the Mass for the closing of the Year of Faith
in Nazareth Nov. 17. (Photo: Agnieszka Krawczynski / The B.C. Catholic)
The Year of Faith is almost at an end. Today in Nazareth, over 6,000 pilgrims, locals, religious people, and journalists celebrated Mass with the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem days before the final ceremony in Rome Nov. 24.

“This is the end of the Year of Faith; I hope it is not the end of our faith,” joked Archbishop Fouad Twal of Jerusalem at a press conference after the event.

“From this day, we have to start with more peace, more good work, and more collaboration for the peace of everybody.”

Israelis, Palestinians, Jordanians, Europeans, and others worshipped side by side as the Mass was celebrated in a mix of Arabic, English, Hebrew, and Latin. Religious people in every colour of habit or cassock seemed to be in attendance, along with faithful of every age.

Pope Francis wrote a letter to those gathered in the Holy Land for the occasion, and it was read before Mass. “May your experience of the sacred sites be an occasion for encountering Jesus Christ and deepening your love for Him and for His Church,” he wrote.

“Though the Year of Faith is drawing to a close, I pray that your desire to know Jesus may grow and your love for him deepen.”
Archbishop Fouad Twal, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, gives a homily
in Arabic. (Photo: Agnieszka Krawczynski / The B.C. Catholic)

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Is it authentic? Does it matter?

Seeking the exact spot Jesus turned water into wine
The Catholic Church in Cana, under the care of the Franciscans.
(Photo: Agnieszka Krawczynski / The B.C. Catholic)
In Cana, a small town with billboards and storefronts proclaiming a holy man turned water into wine on this turf, a winding road leads to a Catholic Church claiming to stand on the site of the miracle.

The church is a hot spot for weddings and marriage vow renewals. When we arrived in the afternoon, a nun on the grounds said there had already been two ceremonies that morning; white flowers still hung on the ends of the pews.

It’s built on a synagogue dated to the 4th century, our guide explained. Taking a staircase below ground level, we saw stone jars like the ones that held water in Jesus’ time, and the synagogue’s foundations, littered with paper bills and written prayers.

Inside the Greek Orthodox Church in Cana. (Photo:
Agnieszka Krawczynski / The B.C. Catholic)
But, a short walk further down the same narrow street leads to a beautiful Greek Orthodox Church also claiming to be on the original site of the gospel event.

It, too, displays stone jars, this time alongside wonderful frescoes and icons of saints and the miraculous event. If it lacks anything in ancient synagogue remains, it makes up for in sacred art.

So, which is right?

Our Jewish tour guide couldn’t guarantee it, but said it’s more likely that the Catholic Church is on the original site as it stands on the leftovers of a synagogue, where weddings likely took place.

I think the more important question is: does it matter? It’s Cana! Somewhere around here, Jesus was traveling to His inaugural miracle that would set the stage for future performances.

Might as well take a trip to the Catholic and Greek Orthodox Churches: see and be transformed by the merits of both.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Peace flows in the Jordan River

Looks deceive in the Holy Land

Pilgrims gather on both sides of the Jordan River Nov. 15.
(Photo: Agnieszka Krawczynski / The B.C. Catholic)
Today, our tour guide Ben David Tzion voiced something that had been on my mind since I’d first laid eyes on Israel’s landscape.

“For us, every bush is a forest, every stream is a river, and every hill is a mountain,” he said.

That made a lot of sense. We’d scoped out the Mounts by the names of Olives, Nebo, and Moriah, but their height was nothing compared to Grouse, Whistler, and peaks I’m familiar with back home.

Now, we were on our way to see the Jordan River, and Ben David warned us it might be a disappointment. The muddy stream, about six metres wide, was surrounded by pesky flies and took a long drive in the desert to reach. Flowing directly on the border between Israel and Jordan, it was watched from either bank by groups of soldiers.

But it was also the destination of various pilgrim groups, come to immerse themselves in the same waters John baptized Jesus in. While no one could prove this was the exact spot, or even near it, the faithful on both sides of the border still entered the water and left it feeling some spiritual renewal.

A Catholic priest blessed his group near the water, pausing at each gesture for a photo. A Jordanian, trying to climb out of the river, fell back in for a second dose of holy water.

The seemingly insignificant stream was made precious because of its history. Because the Holy Trinity revealed itself at a unique event in this river, multitudes of people would flock to it despite its lowly appearance.

Many other holy sites in Israel are like this. The Via Dolorosa is a pathway tradition claims Jesus took on the way to the cross, but few stations are easy to find.

And what of the soldiers? Standing dressed in full gear with weapons I've seen in movies slung over their shoulders, they chatted with pilgrims, posed for photos, and joked between each other. Their presence here emanated ease and security, not anxiety.

There is peace at the river.
English-speaking pilgrims chat with an Israeli soldier on the river bank.
(Photo: Agnieszka Krawczynski / The B.C. Catholic)

A message sent to typhoon victims

Manila cardinal reaches out to survivors saying "You are not alone"
People pray at the Quiapo Church in Manila where Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle called for a day of silence and fasting for solidarity with those affected. Photo:Antonio Gonsalves/CNA.

Antonio Gonsalves of the Catholic News Agency writes a story about a Manila cardinal's reaction to the disaster of Typhoon Haiyan, known as Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines.

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle called for a day of silence and fasting for their fellow brothers and sisters affected by the storm. His "Day of Lament and Hope" with the theme of "Solidarity in Prayer" is set to be held on Nov. 16.

Cardinal Tagle continued to stress solidarity as he insisted "We are one with our suffering brothers and sisters.”

In his message addressed to the priests, religious and laity in the archdiocese of Manila, he asked that the day be observed through penance, prayer and fasting, as a way to be united with those suffering in the storm’s aftermath.
The cardinal will lead a Prayer Service and Holy Hour at 8 p.m. at the San Fernando de Dilao Parish church, in Paco, Manila, which is temporarily serving as the official church of the Archdiocese of Manila. The Basilica of the Immaculate Conception remains closed for restoration efforts that began last year.
The prayer service will be held for victims of Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest storms in recorded history, which struck the Philippines on Nov. 8, leaving destruction in its wake.

The full story is available at the CNA website.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Sounds of the Holy Land

Men play drums and saxophones at the coming-of-age festival in Jerusalem's Old City for a
13-year-old Jewish boy (right). (Photo: Agnieszka Krawczynski / The B.C. Catholic)
Bold and joyous melodies bounced off Jerusalem walls as Jewish families entered the Holy City celebrating the bar mitzvahs of their 13-year-old sons, something our tri-lingual tour guide tells us is typical of Thursdays.

Our group of four journalists watched them play saxophones, clarinets, and drums as they danced deeper into the city, past security checkpoints far less nerve-wracking than those at airports, to the Western Wall. This, the holiest site for Jews, is the remaining structure of the wall surrounding the temple, the cracks of which are stuffed with countless prayers written on slips of paper.

The Israeli festivities were not the only sounds echoing through Jerusalem. The Muslim call to prayer, daily at 2:20 since we arrived, reverberates through the beige architecture.

Deep, solemn voices, accompanied by rams’ horns, call their members to look toward the Temple Mount, where the Dome of the Rock stands. Our guide calls it Muslim’s third holiest site, thanks to a legend involving Muhammad riding a horse into heaven from that place.
The golden dome of the Dome of the Rock, seen from a steep road on the
Mount of Olives. (Photo: Agnieszka Krawczynski / the B.C. Catholic)
That hilltop has other claims to fame, like the place Abraham almost sacrificed Isaac, and where the Jewish temple, including the Holy of Holies, stood until its destruction by the Romans in 70 AD.
Christian voices make their mark in a more soft-spoken way. We found the majority of them on the Via Dolorosa, the route Catholic tradition claims Jesus took on His way to the crucifixion. Groups from Russia, Brazil, Nigeria, and other countries often carried a large wooden cross to the 12 stations while they prayed the rosary aloud in their mother tongues.

Winding down narrow roads, they hoped to get a look into what life was like here 2,000 years ago, complete with its beggars, vendors, carts, stray cats, and locals.

More to come in upcoming posts.

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