Faith

VANCOUVER - You don’t have to be a Broadway actor to be a good priest, says Fr. Edward Danylo Evanko, pastor of the Dormition of Our Mother of God Church in Richmond.

“But,” he adds, lapsing into a Manhattan Yiddish accent, “it wouldn’t hoit.”

Evanko was an actor on Broadway, as well as in Hollywood, in television and film, for more than 30 years before a seemingly chance conversation at Vancouver’s Holy Rosary Cathedral pointed him to the priesthood. Once a priest, he thought he had put acting behind him, but he was wrong.

Chaplains help foster pros spiritual side

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VANCOUVER - Pro athletes receive huge salaries and benefit from armies of professionals behind the scenes tending to their mental and physical health so they can perform at the top of their game.

However, when the pressure takes its toll on players and they start to feel spiritually drained, the sports chaplain’s ministry comes into play.

“Our purpose is to serve the community within the team, and our focus is on the person, not their position,” said Dave Klassen, national pro ministry director for Athletes in Action, Canada, whose members work to nurture the spiritual side of athletes. “We’re not trying to find a cure for the athlete so that they can get out on the field and perform as quickly as possible; we care about the whole person.”

After 75 years of service, only one proposal worthy for this sister

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FORT SASKATCHEWAN, ALTA. - At age 18, Ada Toner was still contemplating what to do with her life. She had no parents, no education and no profession. As well, within the span of a year, she had received marriage proposals from four different men.

“I was picking berries one day, and I looked over and asked myself which one of those guys would I like to spend the rest of my life with. Then I saw the face of Jesus, and I don’t know if it was in the clouds or a feeling within me or what it was,” she said.

This was her first calling to religious life — a calling she was at first reluctant to accept. She felt like a nobody, with nothing of value to offer the Church. But she took hold of the opportunity and on Sept. 8, 1936 joined the Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception.

Long search ends for sister

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EDMONTON - While others around her believed she would make a good sister, it took Sr. Christina Wong a long time to realize it herself.

As a high school student in Hong Kong, she was asked by the sisters who ran the school whether she had considered becoming a nun.

“I was under 20 and I didn’t take their question too seriously because in a convent school the sisters looked after the students,” said Wong, seeing a reverence in them that she did not see in herself.

But after years of searching, Wong made her perpetual vows as a Sister of Providence Sept. 17 at the chapel of Providence Renewal Centre.

From Chile to a religious call in Canada

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EDMONTON - By most standards, Sr. Loreto Andrea Leon Soto was like any other girl growing up in Santiago, Chile. Becoming a nun never occurred to the young girl who had a normal upbringing with close friends and a boyfriend.

But enter religious life she did. After five years of religious formation, Leon made her first profession of vows Sept. 20 at Providence Renewal Centre.

Leon came from a strong Catholic home where faith was essential. Christmas and Holy Week were more than just liturgical celebrations, they were a time to fully express the faith.

Justice office aids refugees

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VANCOUVER - The most shocking experience of her life, says Lindseigh Lochhead, was the year she taught English in refugee camps in Thailand.

“I met many who had been persecuted. The conditions in the camps lacked dignity, and many despaired of ever being able to return home,” said the administrator of the Refugee Outreach Program of the Office of Service and Justice of the Vancouver archdiocese.

Shaken but not discouraged, Lochhead became determined to help. She returned to Vancouver to get a degree, expecting to return to Thailand. Instead an opportunity opened up to work with refugees coming to Canada through government sponsorship programs.

Church must move closer to Gospel, not to worldly values, pope says

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FREIBURG, Germany - The church must change to respond to the Gospel call and the needs of real people, but that change must be dictated by Christian values and not by greater adaptation to the values of the modern world, Pope Benedict XVI said.

Meeting Sept. 25 with about 1,500 Catholics involved in church ministries, lay movements and civic, political or social activities, the pope said he knows Germany is experiencing a decline in religious practice and is seeing many of its members drift away from church life.

The audience, which included German President Christian Wulff, gave the pope a standing ovation when he finished his speech.

Despite challenges, Catholics in India must evangelize

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy - Despite challenges, hardship and trials, Catholics in India must continue to evangelize, Pope Benedict XVI said.

"You must always be prepared to spread the Kingdom of God and to walk in the footsteps of Christ, who was himself misunderstood, despised, falsely accused and who suffered for the sake of truth," the pope told a group of bishops from India.

India has seen a steady rise in anti-Christian violence since the 1990s and the passage of anti-conversion laws in some states. Without specifying "the challenges that the missionary nature of the church entails," the pope told the bishops to "not be deterred when such trials arise."