{mosimage}TORONTO - When one of her Grade 1 students didn’t bring a lunch to school one day, Hamilton, Ont., principal Dorothy Spence says she started thinking about whether other students also went hungry.

Spence called the six-year-old’s mother to ask why he didn’t bring a lunch and the angry mother’s response was that she expected the child to pack his own lunch.

The evolution of Heaven and Hell

{mosimage}In the 14th century the Italian writer and scholar Dante Alighieri wrote his famous poem, the “Divine Comedy,” in which he presented a Catholic vision of the Inferno, the Purgatorio and the Paradiso — Hell, Purgatory and Heaven. But the Christian doctrine of the afterlife did not start with Dante. It predates the poet by more than 2,000 years and has its roots in ancient Jewish thought.  

The Old Testament speaks of the deceased descending to a subterranean place of the dead called Sheol. Part of Sheol was reserved for the righteous, who found rest and comfort there; another part, however, was set aside for those who did not keep God’s Covenant. This dark side of Sheol was identified with Hell or Gehenna.  

School boards going green

{mosimage}TORONTO - Catholic school boards in Ontario and Alberta are going green.

At least 10 environmentally friendly schools are being planned within the next two years to accommodate new students, although concerns about declining enrolment are still on the horizon.

Voicing Catholic education concerns for 70 years

{mosimage}TORONTO - Parents need a provincial voice to speak up for Catholic education, says the president of the Ontario Association of Parents in Catholic Education.

And that, says Brian Evoy, is what the OAPCE has been doing on behalf of Catholic parents for the past seven decades. The organization celebrates its 70th anniversary next year.

Eucharistic procession a first at SFU

{mosimage}BURNABY, B.C. - Students, faculty, staff and visitors to Simon Fraser University (SFU) braved the light rain on a chilly Oct. 16 morning to make history for the university and the archdiocese of Vancouver.

Marking the centennial of the archdiocese, Archbishop Raymond Roussin made his first visit to the Burnaby campus to lead the very first eucharistic procession from the interfaith centre to the hub of the campus in the Academic Quadrangle. Singing hymns throughout the procession, the elaborate entourage included a Knights of Columbus colour guard, several altar servers with incense and candles and more than 80 Catholics eager to give witness to the faith.

The great Catholic leadership search

{mosimage}TORONTO - There’s a job opening at the University of St. Michael’s College. The college’s board of governors has tried to replace retired president Richard Alway before, but this time he’s really gone and the governors don’t have the option of extending Alway one more time.

There’s a similar story brewing at Ottawa’s bilingual Saint Paul University, where attempts to replace rector Fr. Dale Schlitt have foundered, again.

Rethinking papal infallibility

{mosimage}TORONTO - For 138 years the dogma of papal infallibility has inspired waves of harsh condemnation and deep suspicion from other Christians. The irony is that the church approved this teaching in the name of church unity.

Margaret O’Gara, president of the Catholic Theological Society of America and professor of systematic theology at the University of St. Michael’s College, has been thinking about papal infallibility more than 30 years. She thinks it’s time to rethink what the dogma means, and how Catholics put it into practice.

Virtues should trump values in character education

 {sidebar id=2}TORONTO - Catholic school programs on character development should focus on virtues instead of values, says a new document by the Ontario Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The August paper by the OCCB’s Education Commission led by Alexandria-Cornwall Bishop Paul Andre Durocher, entitled Character Development and the Virtuous Life, said a focus on virtues “helps us re-acquire a valuable concept in our tradition, compels us to recognize God’s role in the character development of our students and helps us focus on specific habits that foster and protect the freedoms to which we are called.”

The mighty fall... at the poor's expense

{mosimage}While global capitalism went into convulsions at the Wall Street end of Manhattan Island, Archbishop Celestino Migliore was at the midtown headquarters of the United Nations wondering about the economic fate of 1.4 billion people who live on less than a dollar a day.

“How are we able to find funds to save a broken financial system yet remain unable to find the resources necessary to invest in the development of all regions of the world, beginning with the most destitute?” Migliore, the Holy See’s representative at the United Nations, asked delegates to a high level meeting on the Millennium Development Goals Sept. 27.

Alberta boards deny access to HPV vaccine

{mosimage}CALGARY - Two Catholic school boards in Alberta have refused to allow an in-school vaccination to guard against a sexually transmitted disease that can cause cervical cancer.

In September Calgary Catholic District School and St. Thomas Aquinas school board, south of Edmonton,voted against making the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccination available in its schools.

Catholics schools threatened by hostile secularism, bishop says

{mosimage}OTTAWA - The threat to the existence of publicly funded Catholic schools in Ontario is a symptom of an even greater and growing hostility to religion in the public square, warns Bishop Paul-André Durocher.

“If we want to save our Catholic schools, what we have to save is the place of religion in Canadian society,” the bishop of Alexandria-Cornwall diocese said Sept. 28.