Features

{mosimage}TORONTO - A new $10-million performing arts centre is scheduled to open at St. Michael’s College School next year.

School president Fr. Joseph Redican, C.S.B., said the 440-seat theatre would be a state-of-the-art facility and will support the school’s drama and theatre arts program. It will also serve as a venue for concerts, public speaking and debates. And the centre will have a display space for the school’s visual arts program and will be the site of lectures and conferences.

Native parish honours past

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{mosimage}WINNIPEG - It is a cold Sunday morning at a small Catholic church in a working-class neighbourhood of Winnipeg.

The Eucharistic Prayer has just ended, and the priest is holding the body and blood of Christ above the altar. When the drum beat begins, it pounds like a human heart. A woman sings in Ojibway.

Reaching out to urban aboriginals

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{mosimage}OTTAWA - Like incense, the white smoke of smouldering sweetgrass, cedar, sage and tobacco rises from a seashell as a small group of church-goers pray in the four cardinal directions, giving thanks to the Creator. As Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, S.J. , celebrates Mass, he does so in front of a wall papered with the view of a forest. 

This scene — where aboriginal Catholics in Ottawa welcomed Prendergast to celebrate Mass at the Kateri Native Ministry office — was certainly not the first time Catholicism and native spirituality have intertwined. But it is a growing reality in cities like Ottawa and Toronto where the population of First Nations, Metis and Inuit people is growing.

Confronting evil at St. Jerome's

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{mosimage}Dr. Evil has a secret, and he’s itching to tell.

For eight years, Prof. David Seljak has been teaching one of the most popular courses at St. Jerome’s University at the University of Waterloo . The course is often called Evil 101 . Ever since late in the summer of 2000 when Seljak covered campus lamp posts and bulletin boards with posters advertising “Evil” in 240 point Arial Bold type, the religious studies professor has been able to attract as many as 1,000 students a year to his course. He often has to turn students away because he simply can’t fit any more into the lecture hall.

Sr. Anderson takes helm at St. Mike's

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{mosimage}TORONTO - The University of St. Michael’s College has appointed Sr. Anne Anderson, C.S.J., as its first female president. The Sister of St. Joseph of Hamilton had been interim president from July of last year until the present.

A press release issued Jan. 13 said the decision had been recommended by the college collegium at a special meeting the day before and was confirmed by Fr. Ken Decker, superior general of the Basilian Fathers, who founded the university. The new president’s five-year term will be effective retroactive to July.

Sr. Anderson takes helm at St. Mike's

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{mosimage}TORONTO - The University of St. Michael’s College has appointed Sr. Anne Anderson, C.S.J., as its first female president. The Sister of St. Joseph of Hamilton had been interim president from July of last year until the present.

A press release issued Jan. 13 said the decision had been recommended by the college collegium at a special meeting the day before and was confirmed by Fr. Ken Decker, superior general of the Basilian Fathers, who founded the university. The new president’s five-year term will be effective retroactive to July.

Loretto Sisters meet needs of their community for 400 years

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{mosimage}TORONTO - The Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary , commonly known as the Loretto Sisters, continues to serve the needy in a variety of ministries as the worldwide order celebrates its 400th anniversary this year.

While the order’s early years during the Protestant Reformation were rough at best, its introduction to Canada nearly 250 years later also met with some dramatic obstacles. Five sisters, sent to Toronto from Ireland in 1847 to teach Irish immigrants, landed in the midst of a deadly typhus outbreak which took the life of Toronto’s Bishop Michael Power just weeks after their arrival. Within the year, a few of the sisters had passed away themselves, unprepared for the harsh Canadian winter. However, the survivors were later joined by more sisters from Ireland, and today the order here still counts as many as 100 religious sisters, mostly based in Toronto and Guelph, but also present in Saskatchewan, who strive to emulate the charisms of their foundress, Mary Ward.

Mary, the model of motherhood

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{mosimage}Christmas centres on the Nativity, the birth of Christ who came into the world to save us from our sins. There would be no birth, of course, if there were no mother. As the poet Coventry Pattmore has remarked, Mary is  “Our only Saviour from an abstract Christ.” 

If there is a secondary message that Christmas brings, yet one that is still intimately tied to the first, it is the motherhood of Mary which, in turn, serves as the model for all motherhood. This message takes on greater significance in an age in which motherhood, in many instances, is routinely eviscerated into a  “choice.”

Some biotech advances playing God, Vatican says

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{mosimage}VATICAN CITY - A new Vatican document warned that certain recent developments in stem-cell research, gene therapy and embryonic experimentation violate moral principles and reflect an attempt by man to “take the place of his Creator.”

The latest advances raise serious questions of moral complicity for researchers and other biotech professionals, who have a duty to refuse to use biological material obtained by unethical means, the document said.

School boards choose 2009 leaders

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Most Ontario Catholic school boards have chosen their leaders to guide them into the next year, with one notable exception.

The Toronto Catholic District School Board, which has been under a provincial government-appointed supervisor since a controversy erupted over trustee spending last year, has postponed its board elections until January.