Features/Features

{mosimage}TORONTO - Tensions on Canadian university campuses have intensified this year as pro-life clubs continued fighting for status while others were denied funding.

Yet, while only half a dozen of the 40 or more pro-life clubs on campuses across Canada have butted heads with their student unions, many are worried that the silencing of pro-life speech has expanded to a threat against freedom of speech in general.

Trustees call for changes in special ed funding

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TORONTO - The underfunding of programs for special education and high needs students as well as “short-lived” declining enrolment grants are serious concerns for many Catholic school boards, says the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association.

In a Nov. 18 financial brief to Ontario Education Minister Kathleen Wynne, the association said while special education grants total almost $2.1 billion, many school boards “continue to express serious concerns about the ongoing gap between the cost of current programs and services for students and special needs and current funding levels.”

OECTA targets bullying

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Bullying should be labelled a workplace hazard to make schools safer, says a proposal made to provincial legislators by the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association.

But the proposal isn’t suggesting that Catholic schools are more dangerous than any other workplace, said Elaine MacNeil, president of OECTA.

Calgary Pro-life defies university

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{mosimage}CALGARY - Despite being threatened with arrest, suspension and even expulsion by school officials, members of Campus Pro-life at the University of Calgary erected the controversial Genocide Awareness Project display outside the university on Nov. 26 and 27.  

The university’s stance against the controversial display was that the GAP display “would likely trigger acts of violence” and that by refusing to comply with the university, the pro-life group was trespassing on private property, said lawyer Paul Beke in a letter to CPL. The GAP campaign shows graphic images of the results of abortion, as well as pictures of the development of a fetus.

At a Nov. 26 press conference, Leah Hallman, president of CPL, said: “Arrest us, charge us, expel us, do what you want with these bodies of ours, but for every pro-lifer who suffers for the cause, perhaps, just perhaps, another life will be born into this world.”

Preparing for the coming of Christ

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{mosimage}TORONTO - With Christmas approaching, it’s important not to lose sight of the preparation that should come beforehand — and this doesn’t just mean picking out the right presents and decorations.

Fr. Vito Marziliano, pastor at All Saints parish in Toronto’s west end, has tried to make the Advent season really one of spiritual preparation for his parishioners by offering workshops to help them prepare their spiritual “inn” for Christ.

No charges pending against Catholic trustees

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Ontario's education minister says a 15-day police review into Toronto Catholic school trustee expenditures concluded that no trustees will face criminal charges.

Kathleen Wynne told The Catholic Register she's satisfied with the amount of time it took police to review trustees' expenses, which were released in a Nov. 12 audit report by Ernst & Young.

Market meltdown less harsh on social investments

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{mosimage}TORONTO - The September apocalypse on Wall Street and Bay Street is no surprise to religiously and socially motivated investors, who are now contemplating their place in the post-meltdown economy.

“Socially responsible investing is going to be very well positioned coming out of this crisis,” said Jantzi Social Index founder Michael Jantzi.

Parents fight to save Arrowsmith program

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{mosimage}TORONTO - A pioneering $1-million program which has helped students correct their learning disabilities could soon fall under the budget axe at the Toronto Catholic District School Board, some parents with children in the program fear.

Evette and Clint Harder say they fear that the board will drop the Arrowsmith program at seven Toronto Catholic schools. Their eight-year-old daughter, Paige, is one of about 65 students enrolled in the program.

The gift of the incarnate Jesus

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{mosimage}The church gives us four Sundays to get ready for the enfleshment of God. Four weeks is just enough to get organized for the office parties, gift exchanges, good cheer with good friends, family gatherings, etc. But it is impossible to be ready for God among us, God here and now, God in history — God as a concrete, physical reality. There is no strategy, no program, no scheme that will make such a thing easily acceptable or even understandable. Faith is a gift.

The nature of the gift is a clear sense of Christ and profound communion with reality.

Senior volunteers give back to community

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{mosimage}TORONTO - The Notre Dame Cathedral parish in Ottawa may have 460 volunteers, young and old, but that doesn’t mean there is never a void to fill.

Alannah Lennon has been volunteering at the cathedral with her husband Stan for about 12 years now. As retirees, they find it’s easier to be involved in parish life, from attending daily Mass to helping out, because their time is more flexible.

EcoSchools puts learning into action

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PICKERING, Ont. - Surrounded by her classmates, nine-year-old Zeina Abu-Jurja recites some of her “environmental pet peeves.”

One pet peeve, she said, is when the television is on even if no one is watching because it’s an energy waster.