For your average serf of medieval Europe, Christmas was a pretty good deal, but not really a big deal.

Published in Christmas

A simple seder is synonymous with community, said Sr. Lucy Thorson of the Notre Dame de Sion Sisters over a bowl of matzo soup in the basement of Toronto’s downtown First Narayever Synagogue.

Published in Canada: Toronto-GTA

ROME – A Corpus Christi procession should honor Christ's gift of himself in the Eucharist, but also should be a pledge to share bread and faith with the people of the cities and towns where the processions take place, Pope Francis said.

Published in Faith

VATICAN CITY - God's ability to forgive "knows no limits" as his mercy frees people from bitterness and despair, Pope Francis said.

Published in Faith

WASHINGTON - Although the four weeks of Advent focus on waiting for Christmas, the Church does not just sit around and wait for the main event. It celebrates plenty of major feasts with lots of customs, traditions and even special foods during the month of December.

Published in International

20th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) Aug. 16 (Proverbs 9:16; Psalm 34; Ephesians 5:15-20; John 6:51-58)

What is wisdom? It is certainly not intelligence in the usual sense of the word, nor is it human cleverness. Quite the opposite: wisdom is the divine gift that flows from humility, simplicity of heart and thoughtful, prayerful, reflection on one’s life experience.

Published in Fr. Scott Lewis

VATICAN CITY - From the moment Pope Francis said, "We declare and define Blesseds John XXIII and John Paul II be saints" and "they are to be venerated as such by the whole church," their October feast days automatically could be celebrated at Masses around the world.

Published in Papal Canonizations

The event we celebrate at the feast of Christmas is mind-boggling: the Incarnation, the enfleshment of God in a historical person, Jesus of Nazareth.

Published in Guest Columns

TORONTO - On the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi Toronto's Capuchin friars came courting "Lady Poverty" in Parkdale, where they've been courting her the past 25 years.

"Lady Poverty" was how St. Francis, in the courtly language of the 13th century, conceived of life with and among the poor. Today's Franciscan Capuchins serve "Lady Poverty" by dishing up ravioli, salad, chili con carne and bread with coffee and dessert for $2 at St. Francis Table in the heart of Parkdale, in the city's west end.

There were seven local Capuchins at St. Francis Table serving lunch on Oct. 4. They were there to share a Franciscan feast with the poor and to honour the 25th anniversary of the Franciscan restaurant.

Since it opened Christmas 1987 there's never been much doubt about the Franciscan and Christian foundations of St. Francis' Table, said provincial superior Fr. David Connolly. But "the neighbourhood is changing," he said.

It had always been the Franciscans' intention to hand St. Francis' Table off to lay people with the drive and the ability to sustain the work. That would free up the religious order to launch new ventures.

Watching new condo towers encroach and local businesses replaced with chi-chi restaurants, Connolly thinks that day may be coming soon.

"We would certainly consider moving where the poor move... when the time comes," he said.

In the meantime, St. Francis' Table is having no trouble filling the dining room with people who need a good meal, good company and some encouragement.

Robert Tait has been coming to St. Francis Table the last six months and describes it as "a good place to be."

"It grounds me. It helps me to stay strong in my faith," he said.

St. Francis' Table also has an important ministry to thousands of young volunteers, said Grade 10 religion teacher Mark Henry. On the Feast of St. Francis, Henry brought nine of his Our Lady of the Lake students from Keswick, Ont., to get a more realistic picture of poverty.

"It opens their eyes," he said.

Noting a couple with a child in a stroller who had come for lunch, Henry said he hoped his students understood that the poor are not so different from their own middle-class families.

"It's not the cliché thing. None of us are that far away from poverty," he said.

Published in Canada: Toronto-GTA