Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Happy Birthday, Pope Francis!

Seminarians surprise 78-year-old with cake
Pope Francis blows out candles in St. Peter's Square Dec. 17.
Photo: ANSA / L'Osservatore Romano
Pilgrims wished the Holy Father a happy birthday as he rode through St. Peter's Square for his weekly general audience today. He received a cake and a sip of mate tea, a drink that is popular in Argentina, as he moved through the crowds.

Pope's Sri Lanka visit will go ahead as planned

Schedule unchanged despite calls for the trip to be postponed
Pope Francis presents gifts to members of a delegation from Sri Lanka during a private audience
at the Vatican Oct. 3. He will visit the country Jan. 13-15. (Photo: Paul Haring / CNS)
Pope Francis's visit to Sri Lanka Jan. 13-15 will come on the heels of a presidential election. Some Catholic priests and organizations have asked the pontiff to change his schedule so as not to get mixed up in politics, but the trip is going ahead as planned.
"There is no change in the schedule of papal visit events," Fr. Cyril Gamini Fernando, national director of Catholic social communications in Sri Lanka, told NCR.

He said leading candidates have assured Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith of Colombo and Catholic bishops in the south Asian country that "there would be no trouble" after the Jan. 8 polls and that "a peaceful atmosphere would prevail for the visit of the Holy Father."
Apparently, some candidates have even used edited photos of Pope Francis in their campaign posters.

Parishioners raise funds to restore Our Lady icon

Father Richard Luberti, CSsR, welcomes back 'old friend' originally put in Point Grey church in 1948
Since 1948, an icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help has provided a focal point for prayers and intercessions at a Point Grey parish. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.


Also newly posted:

Charity feeds Liberian children despite Ebola crisis
Mary's Meals volunteers prepare food as part of the charity's emergency response work in Liberia. Photo submitted.
An international aid organization is providing food to 80,000 schoolchildren in Liberia while the Ebola virus continues to take a toll on that country. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Montreal brings Rebuilt team to Canada
In the presence of Archbishop Christian Lepine of Montreal (right), Bishop Thomas Dowd congratulates Paul Donovan, former Loyola High School principal. Donovan received a bishop's award for his role in defending religious liberty in Canada. Photo: J. Cooper (CCN).
Do you want to rebuild your parish? Then get ready to "step out of your comfort zone" and focus your energy on disciple-making, the pastoral team from a Maryland parish told 600 faithful at Mary Queen of the World Cathedral Nov. 13. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Pope Francis and the pets

All dogs go to Heaven?


What was the real story behind the latest Pope Francis media meme? One report ran this photo alongside their story about the 26 Nov 2014 general audience, but the photo was taken in 2013. (Photo: Stefano Rellandini/Reuters)

C.S. Morrissey wrote for The B.C. Catholic about how the recent press reports on pets and Pope Francis -- which alleged that Pope Francis said to a disconsolate little boy that all pets went to Heaven -- did not make any sense to him:

"Santa Pope battles Grinch Pope Emeritus in new myth"

It turns out he was right to be skeptical. The media reports about what Pope Francis allegedly said about pets turn out to stem from a report about what Pope Paul VI once allegedly said.

Perhaps there's an important lesson here. If the media can't get straight a Pope and pets story, perhaps we should be more cautious and skeptical about their coverage of more complex issues.

Canadian football officials use Catholic school's equipment in Grey Cup, again

Notre Dame has now 'saved CFL's bacon twice': vice-principal
Notre Dame Juggler head coach George Oswald (right) in 2010. His school's equipment saved the 2014 Grey Cup at B.C. Place, where Calgary beat Hamilton 20-16. Malin Jordan / The B.C. Catholic.
The Grey Cup game has provided improbable touchdowns, nail-biting goal-line stands, and last-second field goals over the past century. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.


Also newly posted:

Pope says Church must improve marriage prep, strengthen families
Felician Sister Celeste Goulet, right, gives marriage preparation courses in in Tulita, Northwest Territories. CNS photo / Michael Swan, The Catholic Register.
Pope Francis in his latest interview reflected on October's Extraordinary Synod on the Family, dismissing fears of doctrinal "collapse" while considering difficult topics like marriage preparation and the treatment of divorced and remarried Catholics. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.


Toronto parish in tune with Pope on autism
Linda Ward gives little Alessia Mussol a boost at the end of another Monday night of Special Olympics activities in the gym of St. Brigid's Catholic School in Toronto. Michael Swan / CCN.
If every Catholic is supposed to go to Mass on Sunday, Pope Francis wants every one of them to be well and truly welcomed when they get there - including the ones who randomly shout, rock back and forth in the pew, moan or unexpectedly laugh. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Beloved Montreal Canadiens centre dies at 83


Jean Beliveau grew up staunchly religious, met Pope Paul VI after 10th Stanley Cup championship
Jean Beliveau (right), seen in 2009, won 10 Stanley Cups with the Montreal Canadiens. Away from the rink, he spent decades raising money for disabled youth. U.S. Embassy Canada.
On the ice, six-foot-three Jean Beliveau had an imposing presence, a gifted scorer's touch, and a competitive spirit. Off the ice, "Le Gros Bill," an ardent Catholic, inspired generations of hockey players with his countless handwritten letters to play honourably. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.


Also newly posted:


Just call me 'Father Benedict'
Retired Pope Benedict XVI greets Pope Francis. CNS photo / Paul Haring.
Rather than being called by his papal name "Benedict XVI," the retired Pontiff revealed that since his retirement he has wanted to return to his original priestly title and be called simply "Father Benedict." For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.


Draft policy would trample conscience rights, groups say
Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, and other religious leaders urge the U.S. government to "expand conscience protections." The U.S. is having problems like Canada's with the issue. CNS photo / Tyler Orsburn.
The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) draft human rights policy would trample religious freedom and freedom of conscience, say groups defending those rights. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Friday, December 12, 2014

"Cyberslums" need pastoral care, too

Italian priest urges ministries to reach out online
Turkish women use Twitter at a cafe in Istanbul. (CNS/EPA)
When Pope Francis urges people to reach out to the ghettos, that includes dark parts of the online world, Father Fortunato Di Noto tells a Vatican news conference.
"We have to make sure that these places of emotional destitution, these new digital peripheries that I would call 'digital slums,' can be made habitable," because places that lack all forms of compassion and human connection attract ravenous "vultures," he said.

His work has become a kind of online ministry, he said, that offers "real accompaniment on the Internet because there are many people who are in need because they 'live' in this place every day."
A former victim of cyberharassment also spoke at the news conference.

Dedicated educator marks his teaching jubilee

Alan Charlton, 79, has taught thousands during his 50-year career
Alan Charlton gives Notre Dame students insights during an English class. "I stumbled into teaching," he said, speaking of how it all began in 1961. Alistair Burns / The B.C. Catholic.
One local educator has lived through flower power, preppies, and the millennial generation while teaching for half a century. But retirement doesn't sound heavenly to him. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.


Also newly posted:

An ancient Christian culture might disappear
A Melkite priest walks beside St. George Melkite Catholic Church in Yaroun, Lebanon. He serves Melkite Catholic communities in southern Lebanon, where young people, Christian, and Muslim alike, are leaving to seek education and job opportunities elsewhere. CNS photo / Nancy Wiechec.
The East and West must cooperate to save ancient Christian cultures in the Middle East, to secure peace, and to protect humanity as a whole, an expert in Aramaic culture insists. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Before conversion, apologist loved stumping Catholics with Bible verses
Catholic Answers apologist and author Tim Staples speaks of how as a Protestant he used to love stumping Catholics with what he called "zingers" from the Bible. Deborah Gyapong (CCN).
Catholic apologist Tim Staples used to love stumping Catholics with Bible verses in the days he was a Pentecostal, until he met a Catholic who stumped him. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Mission to Seafarers fills vital role

Chaplains will bring Christmas gifts to sailors on their ships
Sailors grin after being given presents Dec. 24, 2012, in English Bay, during a Mission to Seafarers event. Alistair Burns / The B.C. Catholic.
Three wise men will bring presents to homesick sailors Dec. 24 in an annual event. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.


Also newly posted:

Family synod gets down to basics of marriage, Pope says
Col. Daniel Anrig, commander of the Swiss Guard, lower right, walks alongside the popemobile as Pope Francis arrives for his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Nov. 26. The Pope has ordered Col. Anrig to end his service Jan. 31. In an interview with the Argentinean newspaper "La Nacion," the Pope praised the qualities of Col. Anrig but said that a "renovation would be healthy." A replacement has not been appointed. CNS photo / Paul Haring.
In his weekly general audience Pope Francis started a new catechesis on the family, and explained that discussion surrounding the topic in the synod of bishops is rooted in the fundamental truths of marriage. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Canada's nuncio recalls childhood Nativity scene in Italy
Canada's Papal Nuncio Archbishop Luigi Bonazzi remembers, when he was 5, his Aunt Rosa giving him some "little statues to make the crib" or Nativity scene. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Olympian wins a seat on Richmond city council

Councillor Alexa Loo says the parable of the talents drives her to be involved in her community
Former Olympic snowboarder Alexa Loo was elected to Richmond city council. Her goal is to maintain her home town's status as Canada's healthiest city. Agnieszka Krawczynski / The B.C. Catholic.
A former Olympic snowboarder is channelling her community spirit into her new role as a Richmond city councillor. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.


Also newly posted:

Huge crowds flock to see St. Francis Xavier's relics on his feast day
Pilgrims pray by and view the body of St. Francis Xavier during an exposition of the saint in December 2004 at the Se Cathedral in Goa, India. CNS photo / Anto Akkara.
On Dec. 3, the 462nd anniversary of his death, an estimated 200,000 people visited Se Cathedral in Old Goa to venerate the relics of St. Francis Xavier, the "Apostle to the Far East." For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Senators introduce assisted suicide bill to fast-track debate
U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, prefect of the Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signature and a former archbishop of St. Louis, speaks to a man during a May 4 pro-life demonstration in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican. Catholic politicians and judges who support laws in conflict with Church teaching on abortion, euthanasia, marriage, and related issues commit "sacrilege" and cause "grave scandal" if they receive Communion, the cardinal told an international conference of pro-life organizations. CNS photo / Katarzyna Artymiak.
Two senators introduced a euthanasia and assisted suicide bill Dec. 2 that may ensure debate on this controversial matter reaches the House of Commons before next year's federal election. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Homeless drop-in centre thanks volunteers

The Door is Open thanks 60 supporters before start of Christmas dinner rush
The Door is Open volunteers fill their plates in the dining hall where they regularly serve 400-500 meals to the homeless. Agnieszka Krawczynski / The B.C. Catholic.
Longtime volunteers at a Downtown Eastside drop-in centre received a hearty thank-you for their work as they geared up to serve Christmas dinner Dec 25. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.


Also newly posted:

Author, cardinals spar over reports of conclave campaigning
The Sistine Chapel in the Vatican Museums is pictured in this March 9, 2013, file photo, as preparations began for the conclave that elected Pope Francis. CNS photo / Paul Haring.
The 2013 papal conclave that elected Pope Francis is news again now that four cardinals have denied a new book's claim that they campaigned for Pope Francis to be elected, though the book's author has clarified the Pope himself was not a part of their supposed campaign. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Cardinal Collins addresses Parliamentarians on faith in times of crisis
MP Mark Adler and Cardinal Thomas Collins at the All-Party Interfaith National Prayer Breakfast in Centre Block's Parliamentary restaurant Dec. 2. Bernard Thibodeau / House of Commons photographer.
Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto spoke to parliamentarians Dec. 2 on the importance of integrity and humility in public life. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Bishop hails palliative care option

Justices to rule on Carter case
Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, celebrates Mass Nov. 29. Alistair Burns / The B.C. Catholic.
The Archbishop of Vancouver has asked Catholics to speak out about a credible alternative to physician-assisted suicide: palliative care. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.


Also newly posted:

Protect us! one archbishop pleads
Nigerian soldiers patrol the city of Jos, Nigeria, after elections in 2008. Rival ethnic and religious mobs burned homes, shops, mosques, and churches in Jos. At least 200 were killed. CNS photo / Akintunde Akinleye, Reuters.
As Nigeria's general elections draw near, the archbishop of the central city of Jos warned candidates not to put political agendas over people's safety and urged more rapid solutions to Boko Haram violence. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.
Christmas message from apostolic nuncio
To welcome and to share the abundance of God

We are just at the threshold of Christmas, a great event which - if we welcome it - is capable of changing our lives. A story by Tolstoy which I learned and owe to Pope Benedict XVI helps me to share the light and life that springs from Christmas. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Friday, December 5, 2014

ISIS militants keep their prisoners in churches

Places of prayer are becoming prisons in Mosul
ISIS fighters stand guard in Mosul in this file photo from June.
(Photo: Reuters / CNS)
Reports show ISIS is using some churches and monasteries as prisons. Rebwar Audish Basa, procurator of the Order of St. Anthony sant'Ormisada of the Chaldeans, is very worried.
"A possible military offensive for the liberation of Mosul could inevitably lead to consider churches as targets to hit, since they have become logistic bases of the jihadists."
Read the full article here.

To be Catholic or not to be?

Manuscript revives debate about Shakespeare's faith
The 233rd known surviving first folio was found near Calais, France.
Photo: Denis Charlet / Agence France-Presse.
A first-edition copy of William Shakespeare's plays was recently discovered in a library in France. The rare book has a connection to the Jesuits, refueling the debate over whether or not the bard was Catholic.
“People have been making vague arguments, but now for the first time we have a connection between the Jesuit college network and Shakespeare,” expert Eric Rasmussen said. “The links become a little more substantial when you have this paper trail.”
Find out more here.

High-tech scanner sought for Mount Saint Joseph Hospital

'Non-invasive diagnostic workhorse' getting a little elderly
Dr. Amie Padilla-Thornton, a radiologist, with the 10-year-old computed tomography scanner at Mount St. Joseph Hospital. The scanner is nicknamed "Delia II." Alistair Burns / The B.C. Catholic.
A physician once called one of B.C.'s oldest computed tomography (CT) scanners a "non-invasive diagnostic workhorse." Mount Saint Joseph Hospital is hoping to get a new workhorse and put its old one out to pasture. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.


Also newly posted:

Coming soon: the Vatican's report on U.S. women religious
Sister Mary Angela Highfield of the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious works on her tablet Nov. 11 during the annual fall general assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore. CNS photo / Bob Roller.
The Vatican has confirmed it will release its report on the state of women religious in the United States later this month, following up on the apostolic visitation that concluded in January 2012. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

CCCB head suggests changes to synod process to Pope Francis
CCCB President Gatineau Archbishop Paul-Andre Durocher. (File photo / CCN).
Gatineau Archbishop Paul-Andre Durocher had a chance to offer Pope Francis suggestions on how to improve the synod process during an audience Nov. 15. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Christians not crucial to Rome's decline

Religion's dominance came as 'reaction to despotism': historian
A professor from the University of Chicago explained to an audience at UBC why the rise of Christianity was not a factor in the Roman Empire's downfall. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.


Also newly posted:


Pope Francis prays for more fruitful dialogue after trip to Turkey
Pope Francis passes circus performers as he leaves his general audience in St. Peter's Square Dec. 3. CNS photo / Paul Haring.
In his weekly general audience Pope Francis recalled the activities of his recent trip to Turkey, and prayed that the visit would lead to a more fruitful ecumenical and interreligious dialogue. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

CCCB will choose delegates for family synod by ballot process
The last CCCB plenary, in September. (CCN photo).
By the end of March 2015, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) will choose four delegates and two alternates to attend the ordinary synod on the family in Rome Oct. 2015. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Shelter celebrates 55 years of serving the vulnerable

Catholic Charities Men's Hostel, first opened on a chilly November night, searches for a new home
Shelter Services director Scott Small runs the men's hostel, which receives about 2,000 guests every year, including up to 20 extra guests on freezing winter nights. Agnieszka Krawczynski / The B.C. Catholic.
A downtown men's shelter is celebrating its 55th anniversary as it braces itself for a big move. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.


Also newly posted:

Pope confirms he will walk the streets of Philadelphia
Many have been planning to travel to Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families, but now one local family planning to make the trip is "ecstatic" after hearing that Pope Francis has announced he'll be joining them. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

New bishop for Tanzania studied at Saint Paul University
Arusha Auxiliary Bishop-elect Prosper Lyimo, wearing a bishop's zuchetto for the first time, with Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, SJ, of Ottawa at a dinner celebrating the news of the bishop-elect's appointment. Photo courtesy Archbishop Prendergast / CCN.
The new auxiliary bishop-elect for the Archdiocese of Arusha in Tanzania studied canon law at Saint Paul University. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Lieutenant governor calls adoption a 'wonderful journey'


Judith Guichon and her husband raised four adoptees
Traditionally, a lieutenant governor receives the media spotlight for a speech from the throne, or during ceremonial functions. For B.C.'s Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon, a rancher from the Nicola Valley, a press conference to highlight November as Adoption Awareness month was a revelation of her past. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.


Also newly posted:


Pope opens Year for Consecrated Life with call to joyful witness
Dominican Sister Marie Bernadette Thompson, council coordinator for the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious, discusses initiatives focused on bringing together men and women religious and families, particularly young adults, during a press conference. CNS photo / Tyler Orsburn.
At the opening of the Year for Consecrated Life, Pope Francis issued a challenge to consecrated men and women, inviting them to lives of courage, communion, and joy. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.


Nuncio exhorts religious to build vocations culture

Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Luigi Bonazzi at the Pontifical Mass in Quebec City in September. Deborah Gyapong (CCN).
As Pope Francis inaugurated the Year of Consecrated Life Nov. 30, Canada's Apostolic Nuncio exhorted religious to build a culture of vocations. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Stewardship advocates shine spotlight on gratitude

Parishioners should give to the Church because they feel grateful, not guilty: Corinna Siy

Stewardship advocates call generosity "a way of life," and it's that notion of gratitude that drives them. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Also newly posted:

CWL honours fallen soldiers with Juno Beach plaque
Barbara Dowding, CWL national president, visited Juno Beach Centre Nov. 11 to view the league's plaque and participate in Remembrance Day. Photo submitted.
The Catholic Women's League has dedicated a plaque in memory of Canadian soldiers who gave their lives on D-Day on the very beach where they fell 70 years ago. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Retreat shows growing interest in priesthood
Francis Tesalona, Matthiew Gratton, and Luke Tamayo were among 15 men who attended a recent Come and See retreat at St. Joseph Seminary in Edmonton.  WCR photo, Ramon Gonzalez.
Luke Tamayo has been thinking about the priesthood for years. But before making a decision, the 28-year-old St. Albert architect wanted to meet other people who felt called to serve the Lord as priests.  For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Abortion debate attracts 130 students

Some participants report the discussion changed their minds
Pro-life supporters stand with signs along the street in front of a "Women's Surgery Centre" in Dallas in 2013. CNS photo / Larry Smith, EPA.

A large crowd of students turned up for a debate on abortion at Simon Fraser University last month. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.


Also newly posted:


The Church isn't static, she's a pilgrim on a journey, Pope says
An usher holds a baby after Pope Francis kissed her as he left the general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Nov. 26. CNS photo / Paul Haring.
Pope Francis in his weekly general audience said that the Church on earth is on a pilgrimage to heaven guided by the Lord, who will lead us to the fullness of joy and truth at the end of time. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Work involving making or fixing things has a wider cultural significance
Matthew Crawford, author of Shop Class as Soulcraft, and Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, spoke at a public talk sponsored by Cardus's Hill Family Lecture Series in Ottawa Nov. 19. Deborah Gyapong (CCN).
Matthew Crawford, author of Shop Class as Soulcraft, says work involving making things or fixing things has a wider cultural significance in combating growing passivity and dependence. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

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