Carolyn Girard, The Catholic Register

Carolyn Girard, The Catholic Register

{mosimage}TORONTO - In Sierra Leone and Kenya, women die from child birth or related complications on a weekly basis. But Dr. Robert Walley, president of Matercare International, hopes to change that by raising $5.5 million to equip both countries with the specialized services women need.

{mosimage}QUEBEC CITY - On the heels of the 49th International Eucharistic Congress, Quebec City welcomed another Catholic gathering of about 2,000 attendees from the Knights of Columbus from all over the world. The Knights, their families and church leaders converged at the Quebec City Convention Centre, Aug. 5-7, for the 126th Supreme Convention.

{mosimage}McGill University has become the first Canadian academic institute, and the fourth university worldwide, to partner with the Tony Blair Faith Foundation’s Faith and Globalization Initiative and expand its research on religious issues.

The foundation was launched by former British Prime Minister Blair in May 2008 to promote respect and understanding about the world’s major religions and show how faith is a powerful force for good in the modern world. 

{mosimage}Jesuit novices Edmund Lo and Artur Suski of Toronto arrived in Haiti early in the new year to further their formation with a five-month teaching assignment. But after narrowly escaping injury in the Jan. 12 Haiti earthquake they have instead found themselves in the midst of a huge humanitarian relief operation.

“The Jesuits here, in collaboration with the Jesuits from the Dominican Republic, had been spearheading a relief effort, and this is what Artur and I will be doing for the near future,” Lo said through e-mail.

{mosimage}Religious communities in the capital of Haiti were devastated by the Jan. 12 earthquake that left some of their members dead and buildings completely destroyed.

Two of five Canadian Brothers of the Christian Instruction in La Prairie, Que., who were permanently stationed in Haiti, were injured but were evacuated home by the Canadian Armed Forces and were treated in hospital, said the Quebec provincial Fr. Gabriel Gélinas, f.i.c.

{mosimage}TORONTO - Canadians have raised $113 million for Haitian relief following that nation’s devastating Jan. 12 earthquake, a significant chunk of that coming from Catholics.

Beverley Oda, Minister of International Co-operation, announced Feb. 8 that $113 million in “eligible donations” had been raised by Canadians and would be matched by the government as promised with the creation of the Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund Jan. 14.

TORONTO - He’s a pastor with humour, a great heart and an understanding of how to be God’s hand, parishioners say of Toronto’s Fr. Fructuoso Garcia.

Garcia, pastor of St. John the Baptist parish, has been serving Spanish-speaking Catholics in the archdiocese for nearly 40 years.

Since he took over as pastor at St. John the Baptist 16 years ago, Garcia has led the parish out of a $90,000 debt, motivated his community to raise $300,000 for repairs and involved them in painting and beautifying the church with murals and unique inventions like a votive candle delivery system — at the touch of a switch a little stream of water carries a lit tealite a few feet to a tiny pool and a statue of Mary on an “island,” meant to represent Our Lady of Charity, the Virgin of Cuba.
Sharon DiCeccoTORONTO - The St. Patrick Centre in Northern Ireland aims to not only instill peace at home, but also change the perception of Irish culture abroad, which it will now do in Canada through partners based in Toronto.

“It’s important because there’s a large connection between Northern Ireland and Canada, especially in Ontario,” said Dr. Tim Campbell, the centre’s director in Downpatrick, Northern Ireland.

Campbell said there are too many pre-conceived notions abroad about Northern Ireland and hopes the centre can help people to understand that Irish culture and St. Patrick’s legacy aren’t about shamrocks and green beer.

Sharon DiCecco, the centre’s Toronto chapter director, discovered the centre online while researching St. Patrick for one of her “Community in Concert” programs on Toronto’s HMWN Radio Maria last year. She started a “Young Friends of St. Patrick” club at Our Lady of Peace parish where  she meets monthly with a group of children ages four-10, teaching them about the different saints and engaging them in charity projects. She also connected 26 children in her parish who were preparing for their First Communion with first communicants in Downpatrick, where she visited in May.

{mosimage}TORONTO-While Salvadoreans took the week of March 22-28 to reflect and honour the life of a hero and martyr, so too do they continue to wonder if they will ever see an example like his ever again.

Thirty years ago, Toronto area resident Rodolfo Molina witnessed firsthand the murder of San Salvador’s most revered Catholic, Archbishop Oscar Romero. Molina, among the congregation of Mass-goers in San Salvador, watched Romero fall to the ground as he was celebrating communion, shot dead by an assassin March 24, 1980.

Romero was known and widely respected by Salvadoreans for openly speaking out against the terrorizing and oppressive regime that ruled El Salvador. For many Latino Catholics, he was also someone who brought the Gospels to life in the context of social justice and relevance to political issues of the day.

“Many of us here knew him personally, and lived that terrible experience (of seeing him killed),” said Molina, in Spanish. “But why do we love him so much? First of all because never had we encountered an archbishop for whom peace was so clear in his messages and who was also accessible to the people.”

{mosimage}TORONTO - After an airport delay caused by suspicion and confusion that he was going to a “gang conference,” American priest Fr. Gregory Boyle, S.J., joined a group of speakers March 24 in Toronto at the 2010 Canada-U.S. Gang Summit.

The summit, sponsored by Hincks-Dellcrest Centre and Astwood Strategy Corporations, brought together North America’s top gang experts to share their knowledge and experiences in street gang prevention, reduction, intervention and re-integration.