{mosimage}MONTREAL - Just two days after the announcement of Brother André’s canonization, St. Joseph’s Oratory had no lack of pilgrims filing past his tomb.

One young woman, who would not reveal her name, stopped and prayed at the various stations depicting St. Joseph’s life, leading up to Brother André’s crypt.

“I come often because I’m a believer and it’s renewing,” she said.

Encountering God in the lab

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{mosimage}One of the myths of our age declares that there is a war between the traditions of science and religion. Those who promote this myth assert that the conflict between science and religion is a necessary consequence of the fundamental incompatibility of these two systems.

The stakes of this conflict are heightened by claims that only science has the power to lead the world into a future that is rational, just and sustainable. While acknowledging the concern shown by people of faith for the marginalized of the world, the warriors of science accuse the religious of being dangerously ideological and distracted by vague concepts of the afterlife where the righteous will gain release from trials of this world.

The ugly truth of Canada's First Nations teen suicide

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{mosimage}Stretched thinner and thinner across Canada’s North, the church is losing touch with First Nations communities as First Nations communities lose touch with hope. Another wave of teen suicides in the James Bay region has left church leaders wondering how they can offer hope to young aboriginals when they have so little contact with them.

“It used to be that the churches had a real big involvement in the communities,” said Bishop Vincent Cadieux, bishop of the Moosonee and Hearst dioceses. “That’s less and less now.”

The challenge of parenting in a consumer culture

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{mosimage}TORONTO - When Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare 2 entered her teenage son’s vocabulary this year, Mary hit the panic button. First, she didn’t like that “all his friends” were playing this game with a mature rating, and second, she worried about the impact a controversial terrorist mission within the game might have on his developing mind. The arguments began.

“I didn’t know what to do,” said Mary, who’s name has been changed for this story. “My son is a great kid, he does really well in school and he just wants to play the game to unwind.”

Rich, educated not necessarily less active in religion

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{mosimage}TORONTO - A good education and a good job are no barrier to believing in a personal God, according to a University of Toronto sociologist.

But the American-born professor also warns that a close association between conservative, reactionary politics and religion is driving better educated Americans away from church, what Scott Schieman calls “the Sarah Palin effect.”

Ontario French Catholic school board forced to compensate Raelians for religious discrimination

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cscfnlogoOTTAWA - A French Catholic school board in Northern Ontario has been ordered to compensate three members of a controversial religious group after an Ontario Human Rights Tribunal found the board guilty of discrimination.

On Dec. 15, the tribunal ordered the Conseil Scolaire Catholique Franco-Nord to pay unspecified compensation to Daniel, Michel and Sylvie Chabot, siblings who belong to the Raelian Movement and who operate the Academy of Pleasurology and Emotional Intelligence (APEI).

Teachers’ unions, natives propose school initiative to combat racism

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OECTA logoTORONTO - The head of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association is calling for a popular aboriginal play to tour Southern Ontario schools to teach students about tackling racism.

James Ryan joined Sam Hammond, president of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario, and Isadore Day, Regional Grand Chief for Lake Huron Region and representative of the Union of Ontario Indians, in proposing an aboriginal education initiative that combats cultural stereotypes about First Nations students.

Equity policy won't trample Catholic rights

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Teacher pupilsTORONTO - Ontario Catholic schools will not be required under the province’s controversial equity and inclusive education strategy to maintain gay support clubs, according to a ministry spokesman.

Gary Wheeler said in an e-mail that the province’s new equity policy, which has sparked concern from Ontario bishops and Catholic educators, has “flexibility” that will permit Catholic boards to operate “within the context of denominational rights of Roman Catholics.”

Catholic student UN delegates hear they must work for justice

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Jenny Cafiso TORONTO - Promoting the option for the poor and working for justice go hand-in-hand with the Gospel values that students are learning at Catholic schools, says Jenny Cafiso, director of Canadian Jesuits International.

And the United Nations, a forum of diverse nations, beliefs and ideas, is precisely the place where Catholics should be making their voices heard on behalf of the marginalized, she said.

Moustaches for Movember at St. Mike's College School

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movemberTORONTO - Jamie Dowell will be growing a moustache this month. But vanity has nothing to do with it.

Dowell, a Grade 12 student at St. Michael’s College School in Toronto, is taking part in the school’s inaugural Movember campaign — a global initiative where men grow moustaches and raise money to increase awareness and funds for prostate cancer.

“Prostate cancer will probably affect at least someone we know in our lives and, being men, it’s something that we should have a basic knowledge about and support it in every way we can,” said Dowell.

Schools must be safe havens for all

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Chris D'SouzaMISSISSAUGA, Ont. - With hate crimes on the rise in Canada, implementing the province's new inclusive education policy comes at critical time when schools must be “safe havens” for all students, regardless of race, religion or sexual orientation, says educator Chris D'Souza.

D'Souza spoke at an Oct. 22 workshop at the “When Faith Meets Pedagogy” conference on “Reaffirming our vocation to Catholic education and commitment in the service of students.”

D'Souza has been in 27 Ontario cities over the past nine months speaking about the government's new equity and inclusive education policy.