{mosimage}TORONTO - Mary Hatch is comfortably retired from a career in banking that saw her take on various managerial roles. Her kids are in university and starting careers. She lives in one of Toronto’s leafy old neighbourhoods where the houses sell for un-godly sums.

In the normal course of her day, or her year, Hatch’s life would never intersect with the life of a single mother who can’t afford a bath mat or towels or a microwave. In Hatch’s parish and neighbourhood mothers don’t fear Christmas because they have no chance of fulfilling Christmas wishes. In Hatch’s world standardized sheets for a crib,  a winter coat from Wal-Mart or winter boots are basics, not Christmas gifts.

25 years and growing for Marguerite Bourgeoys Centre

{mosimage}“It’s a very exciting time in our work,” said Margaret Smith, a nurse, Creighton Model System practitioner and the centre’s program director. “And we already have plans for future education programs in other areas of Ontario and Canada.”

As Toronto’s Marguerite Bourgeoys Centre is the largest of its kind in Canada, practitioners in London, Ont., and Calgary have asked the centre to provide the training program locally, which the Toronto centre hopes to do in 2010 and 2011.

Challenge to Morgentaler's Order of Canada dismissed

{mosimage}Order of Canada recipient Frank Chauvin has said thanks, but no thanks, to the country's highest civilian honour.

Chauvin will be returning his Order of Canada after a federal court judge dismissed his application on Nov. 24 challenging abortion doctor Henry Morgentaler's appointment to the order.

“The Order of Canada is nice and all, but give it to somebody who deserves it and wants it,” Chauvin told The Catholic Register from Windsor, Ont.

Chauvin said he and Morgentaler have a “different purpose in life.” The retired Windsor police detective said he is working towards helping orphaned girls through the Holy Name of Mary Food Fund, a charity he founded in Haiti 20 years ago, in stark contrast to Morgentaler's work which “takes lives” by providing abortion services to women.

Catholic groups applaud anti-child porn legislation

{mosimage}OTTAWA - REAL Women of Canada and the Catholic Civil Rights League are applauding the federal government’s efforts to curb child pornography on the Internet.

“The Conservative government apparently has a grasp of the horrors of child pornography and the fact that Canada has the second highest worldwide rate, behind the U.S., for hosting child-porn sites,” said a news release from REAL Women Nov. 25.

On Nov. 24, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson introduced Bill C-58, a third piece of legislation that would make it mandatory for Internet Service Providers to alert police of sites that link to child pornography and any tips they receive about sites they host. In June, he introduced two related bills: Bill C-46 that would require providers to give police the e-mail addresses and provider addresses of child porn viewers; Bill C-27 would require providers to create the technical ability for police to obtain information about clients.

Economy takes bite out of donations to charity


{mosimage}TORONTO - Catholic charities remain hopeful that donors will continue to open their hearts and wallets this holiday season, despite donations having fallen to their lowest level since 2005.

According to a Nov. 16 Statistics Canada report, Canadians donated $8.19 billion to charities in 2008, in the midst of the economic downturn, a 5.3-per-cent fall from the previous year. This was the lowest figure in four years when donations totalled $7.9 billion.


Lack of action on child poverty a 'national disgrace'

{mosimage}OTTAWA - The House of Commons passed a resolution Nov. 24 to eliminate child poverty, calling on the federal government to develop “an immediate plan to eliminate poverty in Canada for all.”

The motion — passed by the unanimous consent of the House leaders of the political parties — marked the 20th anniversary of the House’s unanimous resolution in 1989 to end child poverty in Canada by the year 2000.

Computers, cash aid Jane-Finch parish's community programs

{mosimage}TORONTO - Community stakeholders converged at St. Augustine of Canterbury Church Nov. 24 to celebrate a large donation to the parish’s planned Family Centre.

Peter Groccia, president of Precise Parklink, donated $4,000, 10 computers and 15 printers for the centre, which is currently under construction on church property and will provide a home to a multitude of community and after-school programs to help keep kids off the street after school and build community in the Jane and Finch area.

Village Mosaic a warm, friendly spot for seniors

{mosimage}TORONTO - Village Mosaic has become the newest hot spot for senior residents of a southern Etobicoke neighbourhood to connect and have fun.

The centre, run by the Sisters of St. Joseph, was officially opened in the fall and already receives up to 300 visits monthly.

“The centre is just so warm and friendly and it doesn’t matter what race or religion you have,” said June Piitz, a visitor who also teaches line dancing at Village Mosaic.

Providence's Adult Day Program a life saver

{mosimage}TORONTO - June Dickenson knows exactly what ails her and precisely what keeps her life on track.

“Alzheimer’s. I’ve had it for some time,” she told a visitor. “I couldn’t do without this guy.”

Dickenson’s guy is Norm, her husband of 56 years.

Oblates' influence still strong at Copernicus Lodge

{mosimage}TORONTO - Thirty years after the John Paul II Care Centre of Copernicus Lodge opened, the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate influence is still strong.

Tracy Kamino, executive director of Copernicus Lodge, said ties between the lodge and the Oblate priests continues. Despite now being a non-profit organization run by a board of directors, the board is continuing the Oblates’ legacy of caring for and looking after the needs of Toronto’s Polish community, though it is also open to non-Polish residents.

Religious leaders take Conservatives to task on 'bogus' refugees claim

{mosimage}A dozen bishops and faith leaders representing a clear majority of Canadian Christians, plus an organization representing Canadian Muslims, has accused Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney of fostering “hostility towards refugees” and fueling xenophobia.

A Nov. 12 letter from faith leaders to Prime Minister Stephen Harper takes issue with Kenney’s assertion that the refugee system has been slowed by “bogus” claims.