Carolyn Girard, The Catholic Register

Carolyn Girard, The Catholic Register

{mosimage}TORONTO - With Caring Matters, the company she founded seven years ago, Sherri Auger aims to help the aging population in the same way she helped her own parents. She works as a consultant to aging parents or their children for decision making and estate planning in preparation for illness and death.

About a year before she founded the Toronto-based company, which now has another three employees, Auger was faced with the sudden need to place her father in long-term care after her mother, his primary care-giver, became ill and passed away.
{mosimage}TORONTO - As St. John’s Catholic church in the Beaches celebrates its 100th anniversary, it is also rediscovering its youth.

Where the parish’s Sunday morning catechesis used to see 10-15 children, lifelong parishioner Deacon Gerry Godsoe said there are now more than 45. But as it moves forward in its reinvigorated state, the parish’s dynamic history is not forgotten.
{mosimage}TORONTO - In response to increasing numbers of refugees seeking a home and to centralize the efforts of agencies working to help them, the archdiocese of Toronto will launch the Office for Refugees Jan. 1.

This new pastoral ministry office will be located at Catholic Crosscultural Services (CCS), an agency funded by Catholic Charities. CCS has more than 50 years of experience serving immigrants and refugees belonging to a diverse range of religious and cultural backgrounds.

{mosimage}TORONTO - Toronto’s Fairmont Royal York Hotel is no stranger to old-fashioned Christmas giving, but gives it a modern twist.

Instead of giving away wrapped gifts, the hotel will be offering a free place to stay for people visiting hospitalized family members or for people from outside of the city who need daily medical treatment. The “Room at the Inn” program offers patients at St. Michael’s Hospital, Casey House Hospice or Hospice Toronto the opportunity of staying for up to as many as seven nights. So unlike Mary and Joseph in the Christmas story, those selected will have a pretty cosy refuge.

{mosimage}TORONTO - Missionary work seldom evokes the thought of spiritual direction at a seminary, yet that is exactly what Fr. Locky Flanagan is preparing to do in Malawi in the new year.

The Spiritan priest from Ireland has served two stints as a missionary in the southern African country, both in the early 1980s and then again in 2000 — a total of 10 years. When he wasn’t serving in Malawi, Flanagan was based here in Toronto. But his recent decision to spend at least the next six months again in Malawi to spiritually guide the seminarians has also extended to a desire to help out financially.

{mosimage}TORONTO - He may not be the Christmas angel but St. Michael has spent many Christmases with patients’ loved ones during the holidays at St. Michael’s Hospital in downtown Toronto.

The full-sized marble statue of the angel has been sitting in the hospital’s Victoria Street entrance since 1997. Before that it quietly guarded the older Bond Street entrance after its rescue from a second-hand store on Queen Street some time in the late 1890s by members of the hospital’s founders, the Sisters of St. Joseph.

{mosimage}TORONTO - As January comes to a close, five Iraqi children and their father continue to marvel over God’s providence for them after a month of living at the Spiritans ’ newly opened Brottier refugee house in Toronto.

Forced to leave Iraq because of death threats from Shia Muslims more than two years ago, the family separated, leaving the passport-less mother and three youngest children, now aged six, eight and 12, with a brother in another town, while the father and his two teenage sons, now 15 and 17, took refuge in Syria to secure an apartment with financial assistance from the United Nations. Meanwhile, the father continued trying to get the other half of his family passports so they could cross the border.

KofC.jpgTORONTO - Philip Walke remembers the day Toronto’s first subway cars ran. At 75 years of age, he has seen plenty of Toronto’s history, but also that of the Knights of Columbus’ Toronto Council 1388, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.

Many of these highlights for people living in the city of Toronto were also closely linked to the Knights, Walke said.

Currently acting as the council’s public relations director, Walke once worked on the Knights of Columbus Ontario state council as administrative assistant, sending out media releases. Although he started out on a Scarborough council, he later moved and joined the original Toronto council, the first council established in Toronto and the 11th in Ontario.

Sisters of LifeTORONTO - The Sisters of Life have spent the past year-and-a-half discerning their role in Canadian society. Now, they will be teaming up with parishioners across the Toronto archdiocese to assist pregnant women in need.

The religious order, founded in New York in 1991, first established a Canadian presence in August 2007. Like other orders, the sisters take the traditional vows of poverty, chastity and obedience but take a fourth vow to “protect and enhance the sacredness of human life.” Most of the sisters are young, between the ages of 28 and 45. The age range for postulants in formation in New York is 22-32.

{mosimage}TORONTO - The need for foster care parents fluctuates with time and location, but financial hardships in Canada could result in a much greater demand for help, according to children’s aid societies in Toronto.

“There’s a shortage of foster homes in general,” said Bervin Garraway, supervisor of foster care development for Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto . “We have not seen (a huge drop) but anticipate there will be.”