TROMSO, Norway - Norway’s Catholic parish of Var Frue Kirke (The Church of Our Lady) in Tromso may well be the most northerly Catholic church and most northerly Catholic cathedral in the world. It’s located 400 kilometres inside the Arctic Circle, at a latitude of almost 70 degrees, similar to Siberia. (There’s a Catholic mission house in the Canadian hamlet of Arctic Bay, Nunavut, at a latitude of over 73 degrees, but technically it’s not a church).

Catholic principals honoured


{mosimage}TORONTO - Among the 33 principals chosen for this year’s Canada’s Outstanding Principals Award were four Catholics from across Ontario.

Let aboriginal reconciliation, healing begin


{mosimage}TORONTO - The Catholic Church’s historic mission to the native people of Canada is a big issue, and getting bigger. For the first time Statistics Canada reports there are more than one million Canadians who claim native ancestry. The aboriginal population grew 45 per cent between 1996 and 2006 — six times the growth in the Canadian population as a whole.

Paying more to save the environment


{mosimage}TORONTO - There’s more to the modern practice of capitalism than squeezing costs to watch the bottom line grow, according to the company that sells some of the most expensive electricity in Canada.

Toronto-based Bullfrog Power has hundreds of business customers in Ontario and Alberta willing to spend three cents per kilowatt hour more for electricity than average rates. That’s a 25- to 30-per-cent increase in their electricity bill.

Pro-life group denied status at Thunder Bay university


{mosimage}THUNDER BAY, Ont. - Lakehead University Life Support was officially denied club status on campus on Jan. 10.

That decision, made by the university’s student union, was based on a poster campaign which some students found offensive.

100 years in search of Christian unity


{mosimage}If you pray for something for 100 years you might find the prayer refines itself in the light of new realities, and then perhaps the prayer itself deepens your understanding and broadens your horizon.

Dufferin-Peel board adopts no-sweat policy


{mosimage}MISSISSAUGA, Ont. - There will be no more sweating it old school in Catholic schools west of Toronto. The Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board has passed a no-sweat policy for school uniforms, team jerseys and employee clothing.

Lourdes and its message of hope


{mosimage}Editor’s note: To mark the 150th anniversary of Mary’s appearance to St. Bernadette Soubirous near Lourdes, France, Pope Benedict XVI has authorized a special indulgence to encourage renewed holiness. Pilgrims visiting the Massabielle grotto, where Mary appeared to St. Bernadette, can receive the indulgence during the Lourdes jubilee year, which runs from Dec. 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, until Dec. 8, 2008. Pilgrims who visit any public sanctuary, shrine or other worthy place dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes may receive the indulgence Feb. 2-11. Feb. 11 is the day the first of 18 apparitions occurred and is the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. Feb. 2 is the feast of the Presentation of the Lord. The following is a reflection on the deeper meaning of the great shrine at Lourdes.

There are few pilgrimage places on Earth where one can experience the mystery of the cross and the meaning of redemptive suffering at the heart of the Christian life. Lourdes is one of those places.

Golden Compass banned


{mosimage}Despite a recommendation from its own review committee that The Golden Compass continue to be available to students in Grade 7 and above, the Halton Catholic District School Board has banned the book from all its libraries.

2007 in review



  • Vatican spokesperson Fr. Federico Lombardi criticizes the execution of Iraq’s deposed leader, Saddam Hussein, saying it could ignite more violence in the wartorn nation.

  • The Ontario Court of Appeal accords equal rights to three parents in a child custody case — the biological parents and the mother’s lesbian partner. The Alliance for Marriage and Family says the ruling is the latest step to redefine traditional understandings of family.

  • Kingston Archbishop Anthony Meagher dies after his courageous four-year battle against cancer. Bishops, clergy and Catholics heap praise and admiration upon Archbishop Meagher after hearing the news.

  • The federal government announces $270 million in funding over the next two years for the fight against homelessness, the Supporting Communities Partnership Initiative, as well as $256 million for repairs to housing for low-income earners and the disabled.


Dad’s favourite Christmas


{mosimage}Christmas does not bring out the best in the popular press. Every December we have to slog through articles about the commercialization of Christmas, sly digs against Christians and tips on how to avoid the tyranny of the Christian Christmas. Then, when we move to the Life sections, we see colour photographs of gift ideas, beginning at $100. Worse, though, are the articles of the alternative press accusing Christmas of miserable memories of unhappy families or impoverished childhoods. Snide remarks are made at the expense of the happy.