Blessed Mary MacKillopTORONTO - When Blessed Mary MacKillop is canonized Oct. 17 by Pope Benedict XVI, her life and good works will not only be commemorated in her homeland of Australia. Canadian relatives will celebrate the occasion with joy and prayer for a rebellious saint with family ties to Nova Scotia.

At the Holy Redeemer Convent in Sydney, N.S., a special Mass in honour of  Australia’s first saint will be attended by her distant cousin, Sr. Margaret MacKillop, of the Congregation of Notre Dame. MacKillop, 96, says she’s overjoyed to have a saint in the family.

St. Anthony's celebrates a century of worship

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St. Anthony’s parishToronto - The very first sermon ever preached at St. Anthony’s on Bloor Street West was about social justice.

“The dedicatory ritual completed, Mass was celebrated by Rev. Fr. Coyle of the Church of the Holy Family. Rev. Fr. Roach preached the sermon, pointing out the relationship of the Roman Catholic Church to the social and economic problems of the day,” wrote the Empire and Mail on Sept. 25, 1922.

Nuncio aims to fill offices that will empty over next few years

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Archbishop Pedro Lopez QuintanaOttawa - Canada’s new apostolic nuncio is looking for holy men to fill the many episcopal offices that will become vacant in the next few years, especially in Quebec.

Archbishop Pedro Lopez Quintana, who arrived in Canada last February,  said he is not looking for a person who can do everything, “because that is impossible.

“The bishop has to be first of all a holy man,” the archbishop said in an interview.  A bishop has to know how to work with advisors and collaborators.

Veterans Affairs reaches out to homeless vets

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Dion MacArthurTORONTO - Veterans Affairs has come to The Good Shepherd mission in downtown Toronto looking for vets. And they’re finding them.

In her first two weeks as the Veterans Affairs case worker at The Good Shepherd, Dion MacArthur had already identified 15 homeless vets ranging in age from mid-30s to mid-80s, having served Canada in missions from Afghanistan to the Second World War.

Church opposes industrial process of in vitro fertilization

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In Vitro FertilizationTORONTO - Vatican officials aren’t being churlish killjoys or displaying their fearful medieval mindset when they object to the Nobel committee giving the world’s most prestigious science prize to the inventor of in vitro fertilization, Fr. Joseph Tham told an audience of about 70 people in Toronto’s Holy Family parish Oct. 6.

“It’s difficult to explain to people, Catholics included, why IVF is wrong,” said Tham.

Before entering the priesthood, Tham became a medical doctor at the University of Toronto. He now teaches at Regina Apostolorum University’s school of bioethics in Rome.

Quebec bishops issue warning about euthanasia

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euthanasiaOttawa - Quebec’s Catholic bishops have cautioned members of the Quebec National Assembly to observe the law and to diligently prosecute cases involving euthanasia and assisted suicide.

In a brief to a commission holding public hearings on euthanasia and assisted suicide, the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Quebec (AECQ) reminded the Quebec National Assembly of its obligation to enforce the Criminal Code.

Pro-lifer slowing down

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Jack Barbara WillkeThe annual International Pro-life Conference is coming to Ottawa from Oct. 28 to 30, and it is likely to be one of pro-life advocate Jack Willke’s last international appearances.

Willke, president of both the International Right to Life Federation and Life Issues Institute, has been experiencing health problems of late.

“I’m past 85 now and I’ve just been hospitalized,” Wilke told The Catholic Register from his office in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Target johns in prostitution debate, urges MP

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Conservative MP Joy SmithOTTAWA - An Ontario court decision striking down three key prostitution laws shows the need for a national debate on the issue that includes looking at laws to prosecute johns, says Conservative MP Joy Smith, an expert on human trafficking.

Smith has urged her government to study Swedish laws which have tackled the problem by prosecuting the clients of prostitutes, the johns. Sweden reduced prostitution by 30-50 per cent from 1999-2004 and substantially cut the number of women trafficked into the country, she said.

Interim tag removed from Durham CFS director

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CFS DurhamCatholic Family Services of Durham found what it was looking for was already there. The family counselling agency dropped the word “acting” from Elizabeth Pierce’s title, making her the new executive director.

Pierce takes over an agency with a $1.3-million annual budget, 19 regular employees and three contract counsellors. Catholic Family Services of Durham deals with families from the eastern edge of Toronto to the Bowmanville area, and as far north as Port Perry. She has been with the agency for more than 14 years, mostly working as senior counselling program manager.

Padre Pio relics entrusted to church named in saint’s honour

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Padre Pio WoodbridgeWOODBRIDGE, Ont. - A humble Franciscan from a little town in southern Italy had them singing and dancing in the aisles in Woodbridge Sept. 23.

The overcapacity crowd that came out to greet three relics of St. Padre Pio and inaugurate a new church named after the 20th-century Italian saint broke out in frequent applause as Archbishop Thomas Collins baptized their new church.

Euthanasia forces target Quebec

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Margaret SomervilleOTTAWA - International pro-euthanasia forces see Quebec as a vulnerable beachhead for legalizing euthanasia in Canada and then spreading across North America, warns Margaret Somerville.

Somerville, founding director of McGill’s Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law, and others are keeping an eye on Quebec, where a legislative committee is holding public hearings on euthanasia.