Thursday, March 31, 2016

Christian debaters tackle assisted suicide

Three panelists defend their positions on 'death with dignity' laws
MP Mark Warawa (left), professor John Dyck, moderator Chris Morrissey, and pro-life activist Natalie Sonnen lead a debate on assisted suicide March 18. Agnieszka Krawczynski / The B.C. Catholic.
Legalizing assisted suicide grants doctors a licence to kill, warned the head of LifeCanada. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

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For international stories see The B.C. Catholic website.

Catholic response to TRC 'steps in a journey': Archbishop Miller
The TRC Commissioners unveil the TRC's final report in December 2016. Deborah Gyapong (CCN).
The Catholic March 29 response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Calls to Action are "a couple of steps in a journey that's going to take a long time," said Vancouver Archbishop J. Michael Miller. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Catholic hospitals refuse to euthanize

Assisted suicide goes against our values: CEO
St. Paul's Hospital
A Catholic health-care organization is not backing down on its ethical principles, despite backlash on its stand on assisted suicide. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

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For international stories see The B.C. Catholic website.

Poll shows most Canadians want restrictions on killing
An Angus Reid poll commissioned by the educational prolife group LifeCanada shows most Canadians want assisted death restricted to cases where people face terminal illness. For full story
 see The B.C. Catholic website.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Cemetery installs new gate before its open house

This gate is set to be complete before Gardens of Gethsemani hosts an open house April 15 and 16. Director Peter Nobes will unveil plans to expand the "heart and soul" of the cemetery, the Resurrection Mausoleum, at that event. Photo submitted.
Traffic lights also now at the entrance to the cemetery
Mike Thomson, grounds foreman at the Gardens of Gethsemani, surveys the cemetery's new gate. Photo submitted.
The Gardens of Gethsemani is going to unveil plans to expand the Resurrection Mausoleum at an open house April 15 and 16. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Also newly posted:

For International stories see The B.C. Catholic website.

Oblate Superior General drawn by God the Father's love
Father Louis Lougen, the Superior General of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, found himself drawn by the love of God the Father to become a missionary. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Archdiocese holds memorial Mass for martyrs

The archbishop will celebrate Mass for the four deceased Missionaries of Charity
Sister Anslem, 59 (left), Sister Reginette, 32, Sister Judith, 41, and Sister Marguerite, 43, were martyred in Yemen March 4. (Photo Credit: The Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia)
The Sisters Association of the Archdiocese of Vancouver will be holding a memorial Mass for the four sisters killed in the Yemen attacks March 4.

Archbishop J. Michael Miller will be celebrating the 12:10 p.m. Mass at Holy Rosary Cathedral, April 5, 2016.

For more information, contact Sister Denece Billesberger, SEJ, at or 604-939-5106.

Iraqi seminarians show spiritual dedication

These seminarians are being ordained - in a refugee camp
The four Iraqi seminarians. (Photo Credit: Remi Monica, second from left)
After their seminary in Qaraqosh was decimated by ISIS in 2014, four Iraqi seminarians persevered on their path towards priesthood.

A year and a half after the attack that uprooted them from their homes, the four men were ordained deacons at a church in an Erbil refugee camp March 19.

"People want hope, and when they see that there are four young people who will become deacons and after a few months they will be priests, that will give them hope and the power to stay," Remi Marzina Momica told CNA March 17.
The four young men finished their studies at the Al-Sharfa Seminary in Harissa, Lebanon. As Syriac Catholics, they returned to Iraq for their ordination.

Read more here.

Focolare group commemorates founder's death

Local pillar of community also honoured for her contributions

Marilu Mayuga stands behind a photo of Focolare founder Chiara Lubich. Mayuga's mother, Emma Tinio, started the local community from her own home. Josh Tng / The B.C. Catholic.
Members of a Catholic lay movement devoted to unity gathered for the eighth anniversary of the death of the founder of the Focolare movement. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

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For international stories see The B.C. Catholic website.

UN event stresses maternal health care in Africa, not abortion

MaterCare International Founder Dr. Robert Walley addressed a side event at UN headquarters March 17 on maternal health care in Africa. Photo by Dave Woods, courtesy Campaign Life Coalition.
Canada's Dr. Robert Walley, founder of MaterCare International, made a passionate plea for better maternal health care for African women March 17 at UN headquarters in New York. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Holy Father gets photogenic

Pope Francis joins Instagram and gains 1.8 million followers
Pope Francis shakes hands with Kevin Systrom, co-founder and CEO of Instagram. (Photo Credit: L'Osservatore Romano/pool photo via AP)
After joining Instagram on Saturday Pope Francis has gathered more than 1.8 million followers. His first post on the account, named Franciscus, is a picture of the Pontiff praying.

The Vatican's Secretariat for Communications will manage the account. The Archdiocese of Vancouver will also be creating an Instagram account soon.

Read more about the Pope's Instagram here

Pope condemns Brussels attacks

Holy Father sends condolences after bombs kill at least 31 people
Injured people are seen at the scene of explosions at Zaventem airport near Brussels March 22.
Recent reports say 31 people died and 250 were wounded after bombs went off in Zaventem airport and Maelbeek metro station in Brussels March 22.
"The Holy Father again condemns the blind violence which causes so much suffering and he implores from God the gift of peace."
Read more from Pope Francis and Belgium's bishops here.

Easter schedule for the Archdiocese of Vancouver

Archdiocese reveals worship opportunities during the Easter season
The Easter season is a time of self-reflection and peace, as Jesus will rise again.  (Photo from
The schedule for the Archdiocese of Vancouver's Easter and Holy Services has been released.

In his Easter Message 2016, Archbishop J. Michael Miller (CSB) said:
During this Holy Year of Mercy, Pope Francis reminds us that mercy is "Jesus' most important message." Indeed, the Jubilee Year is a gift of grace. It is an occasion for each of us personally to rediscover the infinite mercy of the Father who welcomes everyone and goes out personally to encounter each of us. It is He who seeks us! It is He who comes to encounter us!
Find the Easter and Holy Services 2016 schedule here.

Family fled Syria after civil war hit close to home

Explosion three years ago caused the Kaspars to escape to Lebanon and eventually to Canada
Natalie (left), Maha, Sammy, Antoin, and Sally Kaspar are welcomed to St. Patrick's Parish in Maple Ridge during a potluck dinner Feb. 27. Agnieszka Krawczynski / The B.C. Catholic.
Syrian refugee Maha Kaspar still remembers the worst five minutes of her life. Three years ago a mortar shell suddenly exploded outside her Aleppo home, kicking up debris and sending clouds of smoke high into the air. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

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International stories see The B.C. Catholic website.

Ambassador Bennett becomes senior fellow at Cardus
Ambassador Bennett at his office in Global Affairs Canada in 2014. Deborah Gyapong (CCN).
While Religious Freedom Ambassador Andrew Bennett awaits news of his future role with Global Affairs Canada, he has taken on the role of senior fellow at the Cardus think tank. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Good Friday devotion planned

Way of the Cross set for Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver
Jesus dies on the cross in an image from the Stations of the Cross. CNS photo / Libreria Editrice Vaticana.
The path of Christ's crucifixion will be among the flowers at Queen Elizabeth Park this Easter season.
 For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

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International stories see The B.C. Catholic website.

Prairie town starts raising money for Christian refugees
Firefighters extinguish a burning residential building used by many refugees in Sonneberg, Germany, Feb. 28. CNS photo/Stefan Thomas, EPA.
An evening of awareness and fundraising was held March 6 in support of persecuted Christians around the world.
 For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Israeli hiker finds 2,000-year-old gold Roman coin

Ancient coin is only the second of its kind to ever be found
Israeli archeologist Donald T. Ariel, head curator of the coin department at the Israel Antiquities Authority holds up the 24 karat gold coin. (Photo Credit: Galli Tibbon / AFP)
Israel's Antiquities Authority says a hiker has found a rare, nearly 2,000-year-old gold coin. The coin is the second of its kind, with the other being in the possession of London's British Museum.
The coin, from the year A.D. 107, bears the image of Augustus, the first emperor of the Roman Empire. It was minted as part of a series of coins honouring Roman rulers. Antiquities Authptiry official Donald T. Ariel said the coin may have paid part of the salary of a Roman soldier.
According to the Gospel of Luke, Augustus issued the census that had Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem, where the baby Jesus was born.

The hiker, Laurie Rimon found the coin in Israel's eastern Galilee region. Read more here.

Richmond man first in North America to have emergency heart procedure

Deathly ill patient's procedure lasted 19 minutes
Max Morton (left) had an emergency heart valve replacement performed upon him. (Photo Credit: Vancouver Costal Health)
79-year-old Max Morton was the first patient in North America to undergo a revolutionary new procedure. After suffering from massive failure of his aortic valve March 11, a minimally invasive heart was performed upon him.
Traditionally, doctors would perform emergency open-heart surgery on Morton in order to replace the failing valve. But Dr. David Wood, an interventional and structural cardiologist at Vancouver General and St. Paul's Hospitals knew they didn't have enough time to perform emergency open-heart surgery. His risk of dying from said procedure was "30 per cent… if not higher."
The decision to go with the minimally invasive transcatheter aortic valve replacement was chosen, and it paid off. Morton survived as the first unstable critically ill patient in North America to receive said treatment.

Read more or watch the video here.

Alberta man writes open letter to Pope Francis

Mark Pickup asks Holy Father to address assisted suicide in Canada
Mark Pickup.
Pro-life activist Mark Pickup has written an open letter to the Pope on his blog Human Life Matters.

In it, he asks Pope Francis to speak out against assisted suicide in Canada, saying "perhaps words from His Holiness might persuade" governments and other organizations to protect doctors and nurses who object to the practice.
"Catholic doctors refusing to murder patients or be complicit in their murders will face harsh punishments, or move away from Canada. Catholic hospitals, auxiliary hospitals, and nursing homes will be forced to allow murder in their facilities, or get out of medical care, or adopt a policy of civil disobedience and refuse to cooperate in assisted suicide, and face persecution of the state."
The full letter can be read here. Pickup, a resident of Beaumont, Alta., is known as a vocal opponent of abortion and of assisted suicide.

"Please your Holiness. We need to hear from you," he writes.

Student symposium highlights social justice efforts

High-school and college students share ideas about reaching ill, elderly, homeless, and disabled
High school students check in for the Voices of Hope, a day-long symposium at Corpus Christi College. Agnieszka Krawczynski / The B.C. Catholic.
One hundred high-school and college students gathered at Corpus Christi College to discuss dignity and social justice Feb. 24. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

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Massive new report documents ISIS genocide of Christians in Iraq, Syria
Refugees and migrants from Iraq and Syria wait for permission to leave a registration and transit camp near Gevgelija, Macedonia, Feb. 24. The Knights of Columbus, based in New Haven, Conn., and the Washington-based group In Defence of Christians have mounted a petition campaign asking Secretary of State John Kerry to make a decision on whether to make a declaration of genocide in the Middle East. CNS photo / Georgi Licovski, EPA.
One week before the State Department must announce if Islamic State atrocities against religious minorities in Iraq and Syria are genocide, a 278-page report has been released documenting that Christians there do face genocide. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Toronto and Ottawa prelates step up campaign against euthanasia
Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto.
The Catholic archbishops in two of Canada's largest English-speaking dioceses stepped up their campaign against euthanasia and assisted suicide, calling the faithful to action March 5-6. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Friday, March 11, 2016

'Missionaries of Mercy' now fulfilling their role

Priests known now as ambassadors are preaching, hearing confessions
On Ash Wednesday Pope Francis commissioned more than 1,000 priests who were sent out around the world as ambassadors of mercy. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

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Broad alliance of groups advises government
Michael Bach, executive vice president of Canadian Association for Community Living, spoke to journalists after the Supreme Court granted an extension on the Carter decision in January. Deborah Gyapong (CCN).
A broad alliance of groups has issued a Vulnerable Persons' Standard to guide government in providing adequate safeguards in euthanasia or assisted suicide legislation. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Friar converts Albigensians in new computer game

Dominicans find fun ways to attract young people to prayer vigil
A screenshot from the game shows a Dominican friar jumping as he tries to convert heretics. Photo.
Dominican friars in Washington, D.C., have come up with a new computer game to invite more people to a prayer vigil at St. Dominic's Parish March 12.

Users playing the one-level game can collect the Summa Theologica, convert heretics, RSVP for the Passiontide vigil, and just have some fun!

Passiontide, now its second year, is an event that helps prepare the faithful for Holy Week with Scripture readings, Lenten chants, preaching, and a candle-lit procession. Find out more here.

Assisted suicide advocate dies in Switzerland

Victoria man John Hofsess takes his life "as planned"
Al Purdy, a poet who lived in Sidney, B.C., died in 2000 with the help of John Hofsess. Photo.
John Hofsess, the founder of the Right to Die Society of Canada, flew to Switzerland to take a lethal injection and died Feb. 29.

One day after he died, an article was published in which Hofsess admits to killing eight people who asked him to, including Al Purdy, a poet from Sidney, B.C.
"I viewed my actions not as defying Canadian law but rather as placing ourselves into the future."
The Supreme Court of Canada struck out criminal code prohibitions against assisting suicides Feb. 2015. The practice is still illegal, though some Canadians have sought exemptions and found doctors to kill them. Parliament has until June to write new laws to take place of the old ones.

Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto and Canadian bishops have spoken out against "assisted killing." Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, has written that the Catholic Church "firmly opposes" assisted suicide.

Monday, March 7, 2016

The Lord tests our faith through times of suffering

Priest has recently found he has lung cancer
Father Peter Chiang, a priest for more than 60 years, was diagnosed with lung cancer in September. He said he considers the illness a way for him to grow in his faith and to be an example for others. BCC file photo.
I was diagnosed with cancer on my right lung in September. My reaction was quite calm; it did not come as a surprise! In fact I even told myself, "Why not me?" For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

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Archbishop slams Madonna concert as 'pseudo-art'
Singapore's music fans can do better than Madonna, the local Catholic archbishop said before the American pop star stopped in Singapore Feb. 28 as part of her "Rebel Heart" tour. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Hospitals founded by sisters refuse to kill their patients
St. Paul's Catholic Hospital in Vancouver.
The parliamentary committee report on legalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide may want "all publicly funded health care institutions (to) provide medical assistance in dying," but Ontario Catholic hospitals, nursing homes, and health centres aren't having it. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Friday, March 4, 2016

At-risk boys donate to Syrian refugees

Troubled youth have learned importance of generosity and love
At-risk youth are combining their nickels and quarters to help Syrian refugees. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

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Vatican paper lauds 'Spotlight' as brave, not anti-Catholic
Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo, Brian d'Arcy James, Michael Keaton, and John Slattery star in a scene from "Spotlight." Open Road Films / CNS.
The film "Spotlight," which won the Oscar for best picture Feb. 28, is a courageous movie that is not anti-Catholic, the Vatican daily "L'Osservatore Romano" said in two articles commenting on the Oscars. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Shahbaz Bhatti's assassination left profound impact
Assassinated Pakistani Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti during his visit to Ottawa in 2011. Deborah Gyapong (CCN).
It's been five years since the March 2, 2011, assassination of Pakistani Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, but his fight for religious freedom continues in Canada and abroad. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Cooking priest shares recipe for 'super quick' Lenten meal

Clergy de cuisine prepares easy meal for Lenten season

"It can't get any simpler," Father Leo Patalinghug said of the pasta and shrimp dish with smoked paprika.
Father Leo Patalinghug, known by his moniker of the cooking priest, revealed for Catholic News Service how to cook a delicious yet simple Lenten meal.

Watch the video at the above image, or click here. The full recipe is available down below.

Brown butter, smoked paprika tossed with tomatoes and shrimp over pasta



Fresh parsley, finely minced

2 tablespoons butter

1-2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 clove garlic, finely minced (1/2 teaspoon)

Handful of cherry tomatoes — cut in half

Shrimp (3-4 per person)

Salt and pepper to taste


Cook pasta according to instructions and reserve 1/4 cup of starchy water. Put aside.

Melt butter until at smoking point. Add garlic and saute. Add smoked paprika and cook, then add tomatoes, some chopped parsley and shrimp, and cook a few more minutes. Add the pasta and mix all together. Add salt and pepper to taste and add water if necessary. Sprinkle with rest of parsley. Serves four.

Lenten series popular after court ruling

St. Anthony's hosts string of talks

CWL member Elaine Moonen (left), speaker Michele Smillie, President Renata Nowakowska, and CWL member Suzanne Latta are all involved for the third year. Photo contributed.
End-of-life issues are at top of mind for some members of St. Anthony's Parish this Lent. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Also newly posted:

Pope Francis: The Church doesn't need 'dirty money'
Pope Francis issued a harsh condemnation of those who exploit others and then donate to the Church, telling them their "dirty money" isn't wanted. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Alberta bishops release statement on euthanasia report
Bishop Fred Henry of Calgary.
The report released today is deeply disappointing to all of us who have raised concerns about the proposed legalization of physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Doctors carry out first assisted suicide in Western Canada

Calgary woman received a legal exemption and died Monday
A Canadian in the final stages of Lou Gehrig's disease has died with the help of two doctors.
The woman, identified as Ms. S., sought out assisted suicide despite the fact that it is not yet written into Canadian law. She received a legal exemption and flew to Vancouver to die Feb. 29.
"I feel that my time has come to go in peace."
Doctor Ellen Wiebe, a UBC clinical professor and a member of Hemlock AID, said she and a collegue "were grateful and honoured to be able to help her."

She said it was the first time she has assisted a patient in committing suicide.

Justice Sheilah Martin said this application for exemption was the only one she is aware of in Canada. Quebec has its own law governing assisted suicide; the first death under that law was carried out in January.

Youth learn forgiveness

God forgives everything: archbishop
Members of the St. Matthew's youth group host the "Freedom" event at St. Matthew's Parish. They led the evening with music, testimonies, and skits to help the attending youth better understand the sacrament of reconciliation. Patrick Ruiz / Special to The B.C. Catholic.
The keys to spiritual freedom and forgiveness were given to young adults attending a reconciliation event at St. Matthew's Parish Feb. 19. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

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Pope Francis repeats his stand against the death penalty
Pope Francis is seen in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Feb. 6. CNS photo / Paul Haring.
Christians must work to abolish the death penalty and improve prison conditions, Pope Francis said. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Donald Trump represents corruption of conservatism, speaker says
Author and columnist Michael Gerson told the Manning Centre Conference of the need for a conservatism of the common good. Deborah Gyapong (CCN).
When hundreds of conservatives gathered for the annual Manning Centre Conference 2016 Feb. 25-27 on the theme "Recharging the Right," it was impossible to ignore Donald Trump. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

40 Days for Life passes halfway mark

Activists encourage each other during mid-way rally
40 Days for Life participants meet outside B.C. Women's Hospital Feb. 28. Photo submitted.
A silent, peaceful pro-life demonstration is going on outside B.C. Women's Hospital. Every day during Lent, a few volunteers stand outdoors with rosaries and pray for unborn children, their mothers, and victims of abortion.

This weekend, a larger group of pro-lifers gathered to hear speeches from National Campus Life Network's Anastasia Pearse and SFU Lifeline's Emily Ryznar as the vigil crossed the halfway mark.

40 Days for Life
runs until March 20.

Downtown Eastside street outreach program looking for additional volunteers

Aiding the less fortunate in the Year of Mercy is an important act of love, says ministry's founder
Volunteers Steve Ralphs (left), Tegen Davidge, Pat Conroy, and Vicki Conroy sport the red jackets worn by the street team. Josh Tng / The B.C. Catholic.
Once a week, no matter the weather, volunteers from Agape walk the streets of the Downtown Eastside at night. They profess God's love, and offer spiritual salvation and candy to the vulnerable women of the streets. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Also newly posted:

Diocese to hold 24 hour confess-a-thon
Bishop David D. Kagan Bismarck, N.D., is pictured in a 2011 photo. CNS photo/Diocese of Bismarck.
Priests will be available for confession throughout a special 24-hour period in the Diocese of Bismarck to help celebrate the Year of Mercy. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Cassie and Molly's Law would strengthen legal protection of unborn children
Mike Schouten of at a booth at the Manning Centre Conference Feb. 26. He said he hopes Cathay Wagantall's Bill C-225 gets all party support. Deborah Gyapong (CCN).
Conservative MP Cathay Wagantall's (Yorkton-Melville, Sask.) Bill C-225 is aimed at protecting unborn children from crimes of violence perpetrated against their mothers. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

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