Faith

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."