Friday, February 28, 2014

40 Days for Life to kick off next campaign

A Catholic musical sensation will be headlining a pro-life event in Vancouver.
A pro-life banner displayed promoting group prayer to convert hearts and end abortion. Photo taken from the 40 Days for Life Vancouver Facebook page.
The spring campaign for 40 Days For Life will start with a kick-off Mass and rally March 4. Set for the eve of the next six-week-long vigil, the group is inviting supporters to Precious Blood Parish to celebrate Mass and then listen to musical guest speaker Kathleen Dunn.

We are “definitely looking forward to bigger participation numbers (this year),” says campaign director, Carmela Cruz. The campaign expects more young people to become involved as 40 Days “open[s] up another outlet for them to participate” in the pro-life movement.

With the Lenten season also coming up, 40 Days predicts that more youth will become involved as part of their Lenten preparation. Cruz notes that “being pro-life is almost taboo” and nowadays it is especially “hard to fight for (abortion) in our society.”

Guest speaking and performing at the rally will be Catholic musician, Kathleen Dunn. She is a successful singer-songwriter from Ancaster, Ontario who uses her music to share the love she receives from Christ.

“She (Dunn) personally asked us how she can get her youth group involved,” recalls Cruz. She’s “young, Catholic and actively pro-life. That’s inspiring enough.”

Kathleen Dunn will be sharing about her work and experiences with pro-life movements, such as 40 Days For Life and the National Campus Life Network (NCLN). The NCLN is a national organization dedicated to supporting and building up pro-life leaders in post-secondary institutions across Canada. The NCLN seeks to form and assist pro-life groups through education, networking, and support.

With a core team of nine hardworking individuals, “it’s really a team effort for the rally,” says Catherine Ching, vigil coordinator for 40 Days For Life.

This kick off event is important to supporters of the pro-life movement because it reminds us, “that there are more people willing to fight for life with us and to join us together as one”, comments Cruz. It “helps not only get the ball rolling, but it’s to help inspire one another” to keep praying for the end of abortion.

40 Days for Life Vancouver is part of the international Pro-Life Campaign to End Abortion. According to their website, 40 Days uses prayer, fasting, and community outreach in hopes to “seek God’s favour to turn hearts and minds from a culture of life to a culture of life, thus bringing an end to abortion.”

The kick-off event will consist of mass, celebrated with Fr. Anthony Ho at 6:30 p.m. at Precious Blood Parish in Surrey at 17475 59 Avenue. Even prayers will follow the Mass and then a reception with entertainment at 7:15 p.m.

The campaign will run from March 5 until April 13. For more information on how to participate in the prayer vigils both on-site and off-site, sign up for a time slot at, and for more information on Kathleen Dunn, visit

Anti-euthanasia expert coming to Vancouver

A world-renowned speaker is set to debate the ethics and morals of euthanasia.

Alex Schadenberg will be speaking about his work to abolish euthanasia laws in Abbotsford March 3. Photo from

 “We want to raise public awareness about euthanasia,” says Jared White, General Manager at the Abbotsford Right to Life Society, “We put together events like this to educate the public.”

The Abbotsford Right to Life Society is bringing in anti-euthanasia activist, Alex Schadenberg, to their event, “Protecting Vulnerable People.” Schadenberg, head of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, will be giving the presentation at Abbotsford Middle School.

The talk is open to everyone. Schadenberg will discuss how all forms of euthanasia are forms of murder and should continue to be treated as acts of homicide. Schadenberg will also highlight certain bills and cases that may legalize euthanasia, as well as ways people can get involved with the government to respond to issues related to euthanasia and assisted suicide.

The Abbotsford Right to Life Society an Abbotsford and Mission-based charity opened in 1980. They work to defend human life through education and counseling services.

Schadenberg established the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition in 1999. He has been advocating for the abolishment of euthanasia almost his life.

The event will be at Abbotsford Middle School, in the Multipurpose Room, at 33231 Bevan Avenue, Abbotsford at 7 p.m. For more information, contact Abbotsford Right To Life at 604.852.4623 or visit

Catechists teach pre-teens about humility

Inseparable pair teach PREP at Our Lady of Mercy
Diana and Gary Westgeest (centre) pose with their PREP class at Our Lady of Mercy Parish. Agnieszka Krawczynski / The B.C. Catholic.
Commanding the attention span of a Grade 7 class on a Wednesday night is a challenge one pair of PREP teachers has been tackling joyfully for eight years. For full story  see The B.C. Catholic website.

Also newly posted:

Anointing of the Sick assures nearness of Christ, says Pope
Pope Francis blesses a child dressed as the Pontiff as he arrives to lead his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Feb. 26. CNS photo / L'Osservatore Romano via Reuters.
In his Wednesday general audience Pope Francis gave a brief catechesis on the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, noting that its purpose is to bring Christ close to the recipient. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Matrimony gap widens between rich and poor, says IMFC study
Steve Bollman, founder of the nonprofit organization Paradisus Dei, talks to a marriage enrichment conference. CNS photo / Susan Szalewski, Catholic Voice.
An Institute of Marriage and Family Canada (IMFC) study released Feb. 25 reveals a widening marriage gap between rich and poor. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Knights of Columbus call for day of prayer

B.C. and Yukon councils respond to turmoil in Ukraine
(Caption: Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, head of the Ukrainian-Greek Catholic Church, speaks Feb. 25 during a press conference in Rome. Last year, he became a Knight of Columbus. Photo credit: Max Rossi / CNS)
The Knights of Columbus in B.C. and the Yukon have declared that March 2 will be a National Day of Prayer for Ukraine. They have invited parishes to include a Prayer of the Faithful for Ukrainians in a widespread gesture of camaraderie.
“We pray for the people of Ukraine, that with the help of the Holy Spirit they may obtain social peace, political harmony, and economic stability.”
“All 130 active councils have been asked to forward a request for this Prayer of the Faithful to their pastors,” stated Edward Shawchuk, the Knights’ state deputy for B.C. and the Yukon. “It’s extremely important to show solidarity with our brothers.”
Eparch Ken Nowakowski of New Westminster fully endorses the action. Besides being the leader of Ukrainian Catholics in this province, he is the Knights’ state chaplain for B.C. and the Yukon. 
While in Lviv March 2, the eparch will unite his “prayers with all of our brother Knights and the faithful of the Church in Canada.”
Read the full article here.

Ugandan president signs bill on tougher punishment for gays

Scientists say no gene causes homosexuality
Uganda's president Yoweri Museveni signs an anti-homosexuality bill into law Feb. 24.
(Photo: James Akena / CNS / Reuters)

Yoweri Museveni signed a bill that toughens penalties against homosexual behaviour in Uganda. Certain acts can be punished with up to life in prison.

Museveni said his decision was founded on scientific research by the Department of Genetics, the School of Medicine, and the Ministry of Health.
(The scientists') unanimous conclusion was that homosexuality, contrary to my earlier thinking, was behavioural and not genetic. It was learnt and could be unlearnt.

I have now received their signed document, which says there is no single gene that has been traced to cause homosexuality.
Bishops in Uganda spoke up, reaffirming their opposition to homosexuality but against the harsh penalties.
"Our reaction from the church is very clear, we don't support homosexuality," John Baptist Kauta, secretary-general of the Uganda Episcopal Conference, told Catholic News Service.

He said that when the anti-gay bill was first discussed, the country's bishops had been against the harsh penalties it involved for homosexual acts, including the death penalty.

"The bishops were not in favour of that," he said. "We were for compassion, and we believe (homosexuals) can change."

Popemobiles take a brake in Vatican Museums

Msgr. Lopez-Gallo spent time in Mercedes-Benz with Paul VI
This Mercedes-Benz sedan was used as a papal automobile in the 1960s and continuing through part of the pontificate of Pope John Paul I. Paul Haring / CNS.
Where can you find carriages, automobiles, open-air jeeps, and Mercedes-Benz sedans? In the so-called "Popemobile Pavilion," the Vatican Museum's underground papal parkade. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Also newly posted:

Starvation, disease threaten South Sudan
Children walk past tents in one of the two UN mission compounds that are holding displaced people in Juba, South Sudan, Jan. 27. In a Jan. 30 letter, bishops from South Sudan and Sudan called for "repentance and conversion of heart" and said "corruption and nepotism have contributed to the destabilization" of South Sudan. CNS photo / Andreea Campeanu, Reuters.
Violence in South Sudan has put people in parts of the Diocese of Malakal at risk of starvation, as well as illnesses from a lack of clean water, a local priest has warned. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Canada's representative reports from consistory
Cardinal Gerald Lacroix of Quebec embraces a well-wisher after attending Pope Francis's Mass with new cardinals in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Feb. 23. The previous day Pope Francis had created 19 new cardinals from 15 countries at a consistory attended by his predecessor, retired Pope Benedict XVI. CNS photo / Paul Haring.
Canada's official representative at the consistory that created 19 new cardinals Feb. 22 said the government was proud to support Quebec's new Cardinal, Gerald Cyprien Lacroix of Quebec. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

World's oldest nun celebrates 107 years

Sister Bellotti prays with Pope Francis on her birthday
Sister Bellotti celebrates her 107th birthday with members of her congregation Feb. 20. She
joined Pope Francis for daily Mass at Domus Santa Marta that day. (Photo from
Sister Candida Bellotti, who entered a convent when she was 22, is a member of the Congregation of the Ministers of the Sick of St. Camillus de Lellis and believed to be world's oldest nun. As she turned 107 on Feb. 20, she joined Pope Francis for daily Mass.

"(Pope Francis) is the right person for our time, and we need to respect him because it is God's will," she told the Catholic News Agency after their meeting.

She also provided tips for living longer. "True happiness is appreciating the moment as God gives it to us. What we really need in life is to give thanks to God for what he gives us. Because that is the only thing that will make man happy."

"Man needs to accept each moment that comes and say 'thank you.'"

Papal visit organizer reflects on intense 'trial by fire'

Behind the scenes, Chuck Luttrell helped plan Blessed Pope John Paul II's trip to Vancouver

Chuck and Marie Luttrell (left) say goodbye to Pope John Paul II Sept. 19, 1984, at the Vancouver airport. Chuck helped to plan the papal visit to Vancouver. Photo submitted.

When Pope John Paul II announced he would travel across Canada in September 1984, many Catholics greeted the news with joy, anticipating a time of spiritual renewal. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Also newly posted:

Court urged to not impose marriage redefinition in Italy

People wave flags at the Esplanade des Invalides as they attend a protest march against France's legalization of same-sex marriage. CNS photo / Stephane Mahe, Reuters.

The legal group Alliance Defending Freedom is asking the European Court of Human Rights not to impose a redefinition of marriage on Italy, which recognizes the unique roles of mothers and fathers for children. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Palliative care to be discussed in parliament

Patient smiles as a Dominican sister plays the piano at a nursing home. CNS photo / Gregory A. Shemitz.

How we end our lives, and whether we need a national plan for the health care of the dying will be debated in parliament at the beginning of April. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Former Swiss Guardsman faithfully served Pope Pius XII

Fred Weber joined elite papal unit in 1956, left shortly before 1958 conclave

Fred Weber, with upraised arm, swears a solemn oath of loyalty to the Pope in 1957. When he left Switzerland a year earlier, he recalled, "Germany, France, Italy, were out," for work. Photo submitted.

When young Swiss Fred Weber needed work, he applied to march with one of the world's best known armies: the expertly trained Pontifical Swiss Guard. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Also newly posted:

Bill to protect state definitions of marriage introduced

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder congratulates Elena Kagan on Capitol Hill in Washington after she won Senate confirmation to be the next U.S. Supreme Court justice Aug. 5. CNS photo / Department of Justice handout via Reuters.

Lawmakers in Washington, D.C., have introduced bills bolstering the ability of individual states to declare what they will and will not recognize as a marriage and enforce that definition within state boundaries. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Belgian-style euthanasia of children and demented adults may follow Bill 52

Protesters in Brussels hold banners Feb. 11 against legislation authorizing euthanasia for children. Belgian legislators voted Feb. 13 to make their country the world's first to allow euthanasia for small children, despite vigorous opposition from the Ca tholic Church and all main religious groups. CNS photo / Laurent Dubrule, Reuters.

The secretary of Quebec's College of Physicians has mused Belgian-style euthanasia of Alzheimer's patients and terminally-ill children could follow after euthanasia Bill 52 becomes law. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Knights of Columbus bursary honours late bishop

$500 available for 30 students with financial need

The memory of a Whitehorse bishop who died in a plane crash 14 years ago is being honoured again this year. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.
Bishop Thomas Joseph Lobsinger, OMI. Photo contributed.

Also newly posted:

Pope Francis renews Argentinian passport
Pope Francis's new national identification card is seen in this undated handout photo taken by Argentina's Interior Ministry and distributed Feb. 17. CNS photo / Reuters, Interior Ministry.

Pope Francis has renewed his Argentinian passport, according to Argentina's Ministry of the Interior and Transportation, and his new documents will be sent to St. Martha's Residence at the Vatican. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Flaherty sends signal income-splitting promise may be shaky
Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty speaks at the Canadian consulate in New York in 2010. CNS photo / Brendan McDermid, Reuters.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's negative remarks about income-splitting have some socially conservative groups concerned the Tories might abandon their 2011 election promise. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Archbishop Miller raps B.C. government for failing to enforce prostitution laws

Leader decries 'shameful state of affairs'

Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, of Vancouver has asked the B.C. government to reconsider its decision not to prosecute cases involving prostitution. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Also newly posted:

Ukrainian violence breaks traditional Olympic truce

A man kneels in prayer in front of a statue of Mary and a crucifix by a barricade near Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, Feb. 21. Scores of protesters were killed and hundreds were wounded by snipers in Kiev's Independence Square and on its nearby streets, according to medical workers treating the victims. CNS photo / Yannis Behrakis, Reuters.

A fragile cease-fire between Ukrainian government security forces and protestors was shattered on a massive scale Feb. 18. By the evening of Feb. 20 at least 65 people had been killed in clashes in Independence Square in Kyiv. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Religious Freedom Ambassador looks back at first year
Religious Freedom Ambassador Andrew Bennett with icon of Blessed Vasyl Velichkovsky he keeps on his desk. Deborah Gyapong / (CCN).
 When Andrew Bennett became Canada's first religious freedom ambassador a year ago, he placed an icon of a Blessed Vasyl Velichkovsky on his desk. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Catholic Olympian wins silver medal in Sochi

Figure skating star lives her faith publicly
Kim Yuna waves to crowds while wearing her rosary ring in 2010. Credit: Jemal
Countess / Getty Images Entertainment / Getty Images for Time Inc.
Fans of South Korean skater Kim Yuna draw inspiration from her visible signs of faith. Yuna, who won a silver medal in Sochi yesterday, wears a rosary ring and does the sign of the cross before she gets on the ice.
“There was this young woman out there on the Olympic ice and all these cameras are constantly on her,” seminarian Evan Pham said. “She was not scared. She just wanted to pray: she didn't care who was watching.”

“What an inspiration,” he said of the simple act of public prayer.
Read more on this story here.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

New West eparch pleads for peace in Ukraine

Bishop Ken Nowakowski says Church has tried to broker dialogue
Riot police stand in formation as their colleagues attempt to extinguish a fire during clashes with anti-government protesters in Independence Square in Kyiv Feb. 19. (Olga Yakimovich / CNS / Reuters)
Eparch Ken Nowakowski of New Westminster has again prayed and pleaded for peace in Ukraine.

“As the people struggle for greater democracy, well being and an end to corruption, the Church has stood by their side,” he said. 

No Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC) clergy has been injured so far. Priests continue to be in the square “all the time as each hour they lead a short prayer service” alongside other churches.

The eparch (bishop) traveled to Independence Square in December 2013 and was an eyewitness to the once peaceful protests against President Viktor Yanukovych and his government’s pro-Russian stance.

Though the UGCC has remained politically neutral, the government threatened to rescind the Church’s legal status in January. The Ministry of Culture later stated the threat was a misunderstanding, yet no other church received a letter.

Pope Francis renews his Argentinian passport

Even the Bishop of Rome can't smile for the photo
Argentina's Interior Ministry released this photo of Pope Francis's
newly renewed Argentine passport and identity card.
He has a Vatican passport, which gives him the rights of the head of state, but Pope Francis decided he wanted to renew his Argentinian documents as well.
Holy Father had his photo taken, his fingerprints scanned and his signature recorded. And like other Argentinian citizens, he has to wait several days to receive the passport while his request is processed.

The Argentinian government is reportedly delighted with the Pope’s gesture. Since popes automatically adopt Vatican citizenship, interior minister Florencio Randazzo said the passport renewal “fills us with pride.”
The Catholic News Service adds that officials from Argentina's embassy brought their equipment to the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where Pope Francis lives, and took his photo and fingerprints there.

Father Rosica speaks of Vicar of Christ's 'revolution of tenderness'

Priest says fascination with Pope Francis has taken hold worldwide
Basilian Father Thomas Rosica, CEO of Canada's Salt and Light Media Foundation, participates in a press briefing in English at the Vatican in 2013. Father Rosica was assisting Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, left, Vatican spokesman, with the daily press briefings during the conclave that elected Pope Francis. CNS photo / Paul Haring.
Father Thomas Rosica, CSB, spoke to 90 lawyers at the Vancouver Club after the Red Mass Jan. 16. His lecture was titled, "The Franciscan Revolution: "What Benedict stored, Francis scatters." For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Also newly posted:

Pope Francis: Be courageous, go to confession
Pope Francis greets an elderly woman in a wheelchair during his general audience in St. Peter's Square Feb. 19. CNS photo / Paul Haring.
During his Wednesday audience, Pope Francis encouraged the pilgrims filling St. Peter's Square to receive the sacrament of reconciliation. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Local Ukrainians react to turmoil in homeland
A man who was injured during clashes between anti-government protesters and riot police receives medical treatment inside St. Michael's Orthodox Cathedral in Kiev, Ukraine, Feb. 19. Ukraine's political crisis escalated sharply, with more than two dozen people killed and scores injured in violent, often fiery battles between demonstrators and police in Kiev. CNS photo / Maks Levin, Reuters.
Local Ukrainian Catholics have held a public prayer service for Ukraine at the Alberta legislature and parishes regularly have special prayer times for Ukraine. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

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