{mosimage}OTTAWA - The Supreme Court of Canada has granted leave to the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada to intervene in a case that challenges whether Canada’s Assisted Human Reproduction Act will apply to all provinces.

The bishops want to ensure the act will protect human dignity surrounding procreation and related genetic research for the sake of the common good.

The act prohibits or limits such activities as human cloning, surrogacy, sex selection, the sale of human eggs or sperm, animal-human hybrids and in vitro fertilization while promoting health, safety and human dignity.

Toronto parish lays its hero to rest

{mosimage}TORONTO - They decorated his favourite jeep with white flowers, wore buttons emblazoned with his military photo and filled the church with Lebanese and Canadian flags to welcome home the latest fallen Canadian soldier, 22-year-old Marc Diab.

It wasn’t the homecoming that parishioners at Toronto’s Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Catholic Church had hoped for.

Friends and family were counting down the days when they would see Diab return to Canada. But on March 8 he was killed by a roadside bomb north of Kandahar, Afghanistan, a month before his expected return. Diab was the 112th soldier killed since Canada’s mission in Afghanistan began in 2002.

Archdiocese explores nun’s sainthood cause

{mosimage}TORONTO - The journey to possible sainthood for Sr. Carmelina Tarantino has begun.

A panel of theologians and historians, under the auspices of  the archdiocese of Toronto, has officially started an examination of the life of the Toronto nun to ascertain her candidacy for sainthood. The inquiry was to be opened at a Mass celebrated at St. Paschal Baylon Church March 16 by Archbishop Thomas Collins.

The archdiocese received approval to proceed — the nihil obstat — from the Vatican last September. An  examination of life is the first of four steps in the process to sainthood.

St. Cecelia's diversifies over past 100 years

{mosimage}TORONTO - Parishioners at St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church are enjoying a year-long celebration packed full of fund-raisers to commemorate the 100 years their church has been standing.

With more than 30 events planned events to keep the celebration alive, Fr. Joseph Pap Tran, who has been pastor for the past four years, said it’s an exciting and busy time.

“We have a Lenten retreat on March 29,” he said. “And the closing Mass in November will be presided over by Archbishop (Thomas) Collins.”

Religious, CWL join to fight human trafficking


{mosimage}OTTAWA - The Canadian Religious Conference and the Catholic Women’s League are supporting MP Joy Smith’s anti-human trafficking private member’s bill.

Bill C-268 would change the Criminal Code so those convicted of trafficking children under 18 would receive a mandatory minimum sentence of five years.


Aid preferences tied to trade interests

{mosimage}A sharp policy turn away from Africa and away from the poorest countries has the development community wondering whether Canada is now using its foreign aid budget to promote trade and its security interests rather than help poor communities.

“We’re looking at this with a bit of a questioning eye to understand the rationale,” Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace executive director Michael Casey said.

Crime prevention needed, not tougher sentences

{mosimage}TORONTO - Federal tough-on-crime legislation isn’t going to deter crime, won’t make communities safer and will divert millions of dollars away from crime prevention to build more jails and conduct more trials, said the Church Council on Justice and Corrections.

“It’s clear that you want to stop the gangs, that you want to make it safer for the community. Are these measures really going to make much difference?” asked Richard Haughian, who represents the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops on the board of the Church Council on Justice and Corrections .

Tamils seek intervention in civil war

{mosimage}TORONTO - Mass rape, forced abortions, hospital bombings and war crimes have been constant themes for the Tamil community as it has protested and prayed for international intervention in the civil war in Sri Lanka.

The most serious allegation against the Sri Lankan government found on signs at every Tamil rally is genocide. Tamil protesters have compared government attacks on Tamil civilians with the genocides in Darfur and Rwanda.

Ministry aims at maturing adults

{mosimage}“Ministry with Maturing Adults; 55+” has lifted the spirits of many parishioners at St. Mary’s parish in Barrie, Ont.

For the past year, Sr. Mary Rose Marrin of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Toronto has led a variety of programs in this unique ministry addressing the spiritual, physical and emotional needs of retirees and seniors. It is based on the Spiritual Gerontology and Lifelong Faith Formation course offered in St. Louis by Richard Johnson, author of Parish Ministry for Maturing Adults. Marrin has completed the course. 

“I’m very committed to it and I think it’s a need in our church,” Marrin said.

Sisters' outreach takes them to south Etobicoke

{mosimage}TORONTO - Thanks to the Sisters of St. Joseph, the elderly have a new venue for making social connections in southern Etobicoke.

The Sisters’ newest Fontbonne Ministry outreach program, Village Mosaic will welcome seniors in the community for a variety of social activities in the newly renovated 3,500-square-foot venue at 2794 Lakeshore Blvd.

“We want the seniors to help us develop programs for them rather than say ‘here we are and we’re going to do this,’ ” said Sr. Anne Marie Marrin, the director of Village Mosaic.

Working wonders, underground

{mosimage}TORONTO - Dozens of Catholic high school students from across the GTA will be lending a hand this month, trying to raise money for the 2009 ShareLife campaign.

On March 25, more than 50 students from four Toronto-area schools will head underground with a simple message for rush-hour commuters on Toronto’s subway system — You can work wonders. The message conveys a simple truth: every donation makes a difference.