No day is typical in northern Alberta mission area

PEACE RIVER, ALTA. - For Sr. Mary Jeanne Davidson, pastoral assistant at three First Nations missions in the northern Alberta archdiocese of Grouard-MacLennan, every day is an adventure.

“There is no typical day — except that I arrive in each community to spread the Good News of God’s love through my love for the people.”

Holy Spirit inspires church's interpretation of Bible, Pope says

VATICAN CITY - While the text of the Bible is fixed, the same Holy Spirit that inspired its writing continues to inspire its proclamation and interpretation in the church, Pope Benedict XVI said.

The Catholic Church's understanding of the Bible grows through time thanks to the Holy Spirit's guidance and to reflection, study, prayer and preaching, the Pope said in a message to members of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, an international group of scholars who advise the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Prayer, not strategic campaign, is needed during crisis, Pope says

VATICAN CITY - When a community is faced with crisis, persecution and trouble, it should come together in prayer for strength from God, not formulate strategic plans to defend itself from difficulties, Pope Benedict XVI said.

Unity is fundamental, he said, and the community needs to come together and ask "only to proclaim the word of God fearlessly in the face of persecution," not to avoid tests, trials and tribulation.

Sisters of St. Ann turn to province to preserve history

VICTORIA, B.C. - After more than 150 years serving the people of British Columbia, the Sisters of St. Ann (SSA) have a lot of history.

Now the sisters are entrusting their entire historical collection of artifacts to the Royal B.C. Museum in Victoria. The world famous museum will keep the collection alive for many future generations to view.

More than 100,000 photographs, 500 pieces of art, a million archival records and 1,000 artifacts chronicling the sisters’ pioneering experience in British Columbia will be handed over in early 2013.

Saint Paul University grants honorary doctorate to Fr. Ron Rolheiser

OTTAWA - If you dream your dream alone, you may make a splash but you will not make a real difference in peoples’ lives, Fr. Ron Rolheiser told Saint Paul University graduates April 13 after receiving an honorary doctorate.

After accepting the award, the popular author, speaker and columnist told the Saint Paul graduates to dream in community if they want to make a real difference in peoples’ lives. He told the story of the founder of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, Eugene de Mazenod, who dreamed of serving the poor.

Jesus took on for us a sacred responsibility and sacrifice

Fourth Sunday of Easter (Year B) April 29 (Acts 4:7-12; Psalm 118; 1 John 3:1-2; John 10:11-18)

Without proof the proclamation of the Resurrection would have seemed to be nothing more than a wild tale or what we would call an urban myth. The apostles were quick to provide that proof — a crippled man was restored to health right before the eyes of the astonished crowd. The temple authorities did not deny that something marvelous had taken place. Since there are many spirits and powers in the world, they demanded to know the power and name by which the apostles had performed the healing.

A stone’s throw away from everybody

Truth finds us in different ways. Sometimes we learn what something means not in a classroom but in a hospital.

Several years ago I was visiting a man dying of cancer in a hospital room. He was dying well, though nobody dies easy. He felt a deep loneliness, even as he was surrounded by people who loved him deeply. Here’s how he described it: “I have a wonderful wife and children, and lots of family and friends. Someone is holding my hand almost every minute, but ... I’m a stone’s throw away from everyone. I’m dying and they’re not. I’m inside of something into which they can’t reach. It’s awfully lonely, dying.”

Swiss Cardinal marks Pope's birthday, anniversary defending his teaching

VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI does not want to undo the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, but he is working to ensure that "the foundation and heart of the Christian faith shines again," said Swiss Cardinal Kurt Koch in a book released in time for the seventh anniversary of the pope's election.

Bishops, theologians and concerned Catholic have an obligation to help the faithful understand the theology and teaching of the pope, Cardinal Koch wrote in the book that was to be presented in Rome April 16, Pope Benedict's 85th birthday and just three days before the anniversary of his election.

Encounter the risen Lord in the Scriptures, Eucharist, Pope says

VATICAN CITY - With Easter flowers and blossoming trees still decorating St. Peter's Square, Pope Benedict XVI held his weekly general audience and encouraged Catholics to let the risen Lord into their hearts and to share his peace with the world.

As he did with the disciples after Easter, "even today the risen Lord can enter into our homes and hearts even if, sometimes, the doors are closed," the Pope said April 11.

"He alone can roll back the burial stone that man often puts over his feelings, relationships and behavior; stones that sanction death, division, hatred, anger, jealousy, mistrust, indifference," Pope Benedict said.

True witness means experiencing both repentance and forgiveness

Third Sunday of Easter (Year B) April 22 (Acts 3:13-15, 17-19; Psalm 4; 1 John 2:1-5; Luke 24:35-48)

Terrible things are often done not by evil people but quite ordinary ones who believe that they are doing the right thing. Peter confronted the crowd with the knowledge that they had rejected and killed God’s Holy and Righteous One — the very Author of life. These were very religious folks bent on preserving their traditions and the purity of their religion. The trouble is, zeal and fanaticism are no guarantee of clear understanding or moral and spiritual correctness. They are often a smokescreen for fear and uncertainty. We can point to countless examples in Christian history, and for that matter in the history of practically every religion.

‘Do not be afraid!’ Jesus came to rid us of fear

Not all fear is created equal, at least not religiously. There’s a fear that’s healthy and good, a sign of maturity and love. There’s also a fear that’s bad, that blocks maturity and love. But this needs explanation.

There’s a lot of misunderstanding about fear inside of religious circles, especially around the scriptural passage that says that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. Too often texts like these, as well as religion in general, have been used to instill an unhealthy fear inside of people in the name of God.

We need to live in “holy fear” but that is a very particular kind of fear which should not be confused with fear as we normally understand it.