The four nuns who arrived in Toronto (population 30,000) on Oct. 7, 1851 had a single task — to care for children orphaned by the typhus epidemic that had ravaged the Irish Catholic immigrant community.

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It has been 794 years since St. Francis of Assisi left this Earth, but you can find his fingerprints all over the Pope’s latest encyclical, Fratelli Tutti .

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Jean Vanier, Canadian writer, philosopher and humanitarian who died May 7, was a champion for people with intellectual disabilities and touched countless lives through his constant message of love.

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More than half a million Canadians are living with dementia and many more people than that live with a dementia sufferer. In little more than a decade those numbers are projected to almost double.

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As flames engulfed Notre-Dame Cathedral, threatening to destroy a Paris treasure that for 850 years withstood revolutions, wars and natural disasters, dazed crowds formed impromptu vigils on nearby streets. They prayed, they cried, they sang Ave Maria’s.

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It has been a year of shame and humiliation for the Church. The clerical abuse scandals have scarred thousands of victims and mortified the faithful worldwide. They have also spurred appeals for repentance and renewal, appeals that are appropriate at Easter.

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Vaccinating young children against a wide range of diseases is a medical and moral imperative, and a smart practice parents should embrace.

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A recent cover of The Catholic Register featured a heartbreaking picture of a tearful woman in a hijab being comforted in the wake of the New Zealand mosque attacks.

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It turns out that banning assault weapons doesn’t have to be so difficult after all. All it takes is courage, resolve, leadership — and a touch of common sense.

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After an extraordinary year of bickering and division in the U.S. Church, some 200 American bishops have listened to Pope Francis and taken a timeout. They gathered in early January for a six-day retreat near Chicago where they were encouraged to be silent and to pray.

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It is noble to mark the World Day of the Poor with gifts of charity, but Pope Francis has challenged Catholics to go much further than that. He asks us to observe Nov. 18 by making a serious examination of conscience “to see if we are truly capable of hearing the cry of the poor.”

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Good riddance to confidentiality clauses. If one outcome captures the spirit of the Canadian bishops’ new document on sex abuse, that might be it. No more confidentially clauses.

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We have grown weary of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò. Weary of his accusations. Weary of his recklessness. Weary of his insolence. Weary of his betrayals. Weary of his cunning.

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“When a bit of time has passed,” said Pope Francis, perhaps he would answer serious allegations that he permitted a cardinal cited for sexual abuse to return to public ministry.

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“We showed no care for the little ones,” wrote Pope Francis. “We abandoned them.”

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