Deborah Gyapong, Canadian Catholic News

Deborah Gyapong, Canadian Catholic News

Deborah Waters Gyapong has been a journalist and novelist for more than 20 years. She has worked in print, radio and television, including 12 years as a producer for CBC TV's news and current affairs programming. She currently covers religion and politics primarily for Catholic and Evangelical newspapers.

MONTREAL - When Montreal Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Dowd came to the microphone after his Sept. 10  ordination, he paused, his smartphone in hand, pressed “Send,” and announced: “I just updated my Twitter account: It’s official. I’m a bishop.”

One day shy of his 41st birthday when Montreal Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte ordained him, Dowd already had established himself as a blogging priest, adept in social media and the new evangelization. His blog and Twitter account now follow his service in the episcopate.

Turcotte also ordained Auxiliary Bishop Christian Lepine, 59.

September 14, 2011

Theology goes to the dogs

When Fr. James Mallon adopted Monsi from a local animal shelter years ago, he never expected his shepherd mix pup would inspire theology lessons.

“I’d take him out for a walk and he’d do something and a Scripture passage would pop into my head,” the Halifax-based Mallon said. 

For example, he’d notice Monsi straining on his leash so hard he was choking himself and Mallon would remember how St. Paul wrote about how “we strain forward and we forget what lies behind.”

The priest would see Monsi (short for monsignor) running in the park and experience such joy watching him that he’d think to himself, “If I get such pleasure watching my dog being a dog, I wonder how much God gets pleasure in our being who we’re supposed to be.”

OTTAWA - Fr. Bill Burke notices a similar pattern in the workshops he has held over the past year on the new English translation of the Roman missal.

At first those attending greet the changes with anger, trepidation and fear the new translation will take back the reforms of Vatican II, he said. They’ve heard rumours from the blogosphere or elsewhere that the “translations is terrible.”

But as Burke exposes priests, music directors and diocesan staff to the new texts, they warm up to the richness of the new translation. He’s travelled to 27 dioceses so far, and plans to visit four more before the new missal is to be used everywhere in English-language parishes in Canada beginning the first Sunday of Advent, Nov. 27.

During his workshops, Burke gives attendees copies of the collects for Advent and Christmas according to the new translation and asks them to follow the new turns of phrase while he reads aloud the current translation.

OTTAWA - In a decision with potentially serious ramifications for the Church, a Quebec bishop has been ordered to submit to questioning and hand over internal Church documents to defence lawyers acting in a lawsuit filed by a Quebec priest.

A Quebec judge has granted leave for lawyers to question Joliette Bishop Gilles Lussier as they prepare a defence in a defamation lawsuit filed last December by Fr. Raymond Gravel.

The priest is seeking $500,000 in damages from two pro-life organizations, (LSN) and Campagne Quebec-Vie, (CQV), and six journalists.

Gravel claims his professional reputation as a politician and Catholic priest was damaged as a result of 29 articles that described him variously as “pro-abortion,” “pro-homosexual marriage” or as a “renegade priest” who has made “heretical and anti-life statements.” Gravel contends he has “always been faithful to the teachings of the Magisterium of the Church.”

OTTAWA - An amended lawsuit that could impact the way pro-life clubs are treated on university campuses across Canada was re-filed Sept. 6 after surviving a court challenge by Carleton University.

Attorney Albertos Polizogopoulis, acting on behalf of former officers of Carleton University’s pro-life club Lifeline, said the case has important implications for freedom of expression on university campuses.

Plaintiffs Ruth Lobo and Nicholas McLeod were among five students arrested, handcuffed and carted away in a police wagon last October after trying to mount a Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) exhibit on the Carleton University campus. The GAP uses graphic photographs to compare abortion to various genocides.

OTTAWA - Only a few days after Pope Benedict XVI asked forgiveness for the failure of “cradle Catholics who have failed to pass the faith onto others," the Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF) released a message designed to help families do a better job.

In its latest message entitled "Love is Calling Your Children," COLF calls on Catholic families to recognize the role they play in helping their children find their vocations and suggests resources to aid them in this task.

“It is within the family — very gradually and in the course of daily life — that children and adolescents learn to know God and to trust Him,” COLF says. “That is where they meet Jesus and welcome Him as a friend.

“As they spend time with Him, they will come to understand that the big challenge for a child of God and a disciple of the King of the Universe is not only to avoid evil, but to do, with Him at their side, all the good they are called to do. Rest assured: Christ will call every single one of our children to a very personal vocation. “Their answer will depend to a great extent on the openness of heart acquired in the family,” it said.

OTTAWA - Canadian Catholics will begin using the new English translation of the Roman missal on the first Sunday of Advent, Nov. 27.

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) made the announcement April 4, after receiving recognitio for all sections of the revised missal for use in Canada.

"The news of the recognitio is a great day for the Canadian Church and for the future of our Catholic worship here," said Ottawa Archbishop Prendergast, a member of the Vox Clara, a committee appointed by the Holy See to give advice on the translation as it was voted upon by bishops’ conferences in the English-speaking world.

Prendergast noted other English-speaking countries will also introduce the new missal this Advent. Since so many Canadians travel regularly to and from the United States, he predicted not starting at the same time would have resulted in "liturgical chaos."

"Given all the work that went into this and all the consultation around the world with bishops and their advisors, I believe this is a consensus document and an extraordinary achievement, despite the naysayers," he said. "Our people will love it, though it will take some time to adjust to the new formulas. People will need to be patient with their priests as they adjust to a new style of liturgical prayer."

The bishops' National Liturgy Office director Fr. Bill Burke also believes the response will be positive. He has been holding workshops around the country since last summer and finds 90 per cent of participants appreciate the new translation once they have heard the prayers proclaimed by someone familiar with them, and "much of the angst was diffused," he said.

Burke blamed the blogosphere for contributing to negative impressions from both the left and the right.

"My hope is that the new translation will help us recover a sense of the majesty and awe of the Roman rite and of the importance of beautiful language to praise, glorify and petition the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ," said Prendergast. "The 1974 version of the liturgy was an impressive accomplishment, but its hurried preparation and a less-than-adequate translation principle for worship left much to be desired.

"My prayer is that the occasion of the new translation will help us recover some of the riches we have been missing: biblical imagery, the angelic hosts, the great spiritual patrimony of earlier ages in the ancient prayers."

CCCB Publications will soon release Celebrate and Song, a resource that contains three newly composed Mass settings and chants. It also includes the parts of the Mass spoken by the people.

The liturgy office will soon launch texts and power-point slides for local-level workshops on the theology of the Eucharist, the process of translation and revision and on the history of the Eucharist at

In August DVDs produced in collaboration with Salt + Light TV will provide a two-hour presentation "on the theological emphases of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal," according to the CCCB release, and an hour-long teaching DVD on "the structure of the Mass and the meaning of each part of the Mass."

In September, the liturgy office will release CDs of a cantor singing about a dozen of the new prefaces to help priests who may not be able to read music to sing them if they wish.

Ruth LoboOTTAWA - Ruth Lobo’s commitment to the pro-life cause is a deeply personal one that began 23 years ago in her native India.

All Lobo knows about her birth mother is that she was 19, most likely poor and “most likely ostracized by her family for being pregnant.” She sought shelter in a Bangalore convent that provided help for single mothers. She looked after Lobo for three months before giving her up to a woman who would become her adoptive aunt.
Richmond MillsOTTAWA - Lia Mills and Rebecca Richmond never suspected they would one day be at the forefront of the pro-life movement.

But circumstances have conspired to make it so.

The two recently shared their stories at the International Pro-life Conference held in Ottawa.

For Mills, her step into the breech came when she gave a speech on abortion to her seventh grade Toronto class two years ago. It was recorded and uploaded to YouTube where it has gone viral. Richmond, on the other hand, merely intended to bake cookies to support her university pro-life group. She never thought she would become the group’s leader and eventually the executive director of the National Campus Life Network, mentoring leaders across the country.
OTTAWA - The Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute welcomed news that a source of stem cells has been found in amniotic fluid that bypasses the ethical problems of using embryonic stem cells.