TORONTO - Toronto’s large Tamil Catholic community is grateful for the $600,000 the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace has sent to Caritas Sri Lanka, but wants the church in Canada to do more.

The Jaffna-based arm of Caritas, the international Catholic relief organization, will use the Development and Peace money to aid at least 170,000 internally displaced refugees in government-run camps. Many Toronto Tamils have family trapped in the camps in wartorn Sri Lanka and are asking for more spiritual and material solidarity from the church in Canada.

Toronto ordains seven new priests


TORONTO - Friends and family packed St. Michael’s Cathedral May 9 to support, pray for and celebrate with the seven men ordained to the priesthood to serve the archdiocese of Toronto.

“All together we as a people of God, we pray to all the angels and saints that God’s blessings be upon them, that they be good and faithful priests,” Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins said during his homily. “It is a moment of total surrender to the Lord and that is what the priesthood is meant to be. It is to say ‘here I am Lord, I’ve come to do your will.’ ”

Canadian bishops on board for National March for Life


OTTAWA - This year’s National March for Life to Parliament Hill on May 14 will see an unprecedented number of Catholic bishops taking part.

“It’s a wonderful occasion,” said Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, who has invited other bishops to attend.

Prendergast attended the March for the first time last spring.

Social investments hold steady

{mosimage}TORONTO - Before stock markets around the world crashed in September 2008, $609.23 billion  in Canada was invested with an eye on protecting the environment, treating workers and communities fairly and running the company openly.

Socially responsible investing principles captured 19.9 per cent of more than $3 trillion invested in Canada, according to the second biannual Canadian Socially Responsible Investment Review. While total SRI investments climbed 21 per cent between mid-2006 and June 2008, the ethically invested market share remained steady at just under 20 per cent.

Pro-life cause up against Canadian law


{mosimage}TORONTO - Pro-life lawyer Geoff Cauchi thinks it’s a good thing Canada has no law on abortion.

“It’s easier to get people motivated, to get them involved, when you show them, ‘Look, there’s no law; people could have an abortion right up to birth.’ They get shocked and they’re motivated,” said Cauchi, who is on the boards of Alliance for Life Ontario and Life Canada .

In Cauchi’s view the worst thing would be the sort of abortion law England and most European countries have — legal, funded abortion up to 26 weeks, with some legal restrictions on the relatively few late-term abortions.

Canadian youth take charge at March for Life

{mosimage}At the annual March for Life in Ottawa hundreds, if not thousands, of youth from across the country gather to show their pro-life support. The May 14 march was to be no exception, with nearly 900 youth registered by the end of April for the March’s youth conference the following day.

It was unknown how many youth would join forces this year to simply be a part of the crowd making their way peacefully through downtown Ottawa. But Yoli Singson, an organizer with Campaign Life Coalition , told The Catholic Register that, increasingly, youth make up a large part of the thousands of participants.

Thousands to March for Life in Ottawa

{mosimage}TORONTO - A month before her first birthday, Katherine Mary Allen will travel to Ottawa with her parents to attend her first National March for Life.

Her mother, Tanya Granic Allen, says it’s important to bring her daughter on the five-hour trek from Toronto to the pro-life rally on Parliament Hill May 14, the 40th anniversary of an omnibus bill passed in 1969 by Pierre Trudeau’s Liberal government that legalized abortion in Canada.

RCIA grads take leap of faith

{mosimage}TORONTO - Instead of putting her faith in the markets, newly baptized Catholic Julia Oung says she’s rediscovered her faith in God.

Losing all of her life savings last year led to a dark period in Oung’s life. The Toronto accountant didn’t anticipate the economic downturn that would wipe out her pension. 

But amid her worries and tears, Oung says she was drawn to the Catholic Church.

Religion has a role in secular society

{mosimage}TORONTO - Religions and religious people need to claim their right to contribute to society in both words and actions, Archbishop Thomas Collins told an audience of Jews and Christians gathered for the 23rd annual Neighbourhood Interfaith Group dinner April 23.

In the north Toronto synagogue of the Adath Israel Congregation, Collins urged Christians and Jews not to accept a marginal role in secular society.

“We are citizens and have more than earned our right to contribute to the democratic conversation,” the Toronto archbishop said.

Canada's mission territory a beacon of hope

{mosimage}TORONTO - His diocese is bigger than France and it has more moose and caribou than people. Yet Whitehorse Bishop Gary Gordon will drive his pickup truck thousands of kilometres to visit more than 20 parishes and mission churches that dot northern British Columbia and the Yukon with enthusiasm.

He says the faithful congregations, some as small as four people, are worth the effort, but without question need the financial help given to them every year by Catholic Missions In Canada .

Major cutbacks at social justice agency KAIROS

{mosimage}TORONTO - The ecumenical social justice agency KAIROS is dumping five of its 27 employees and trimming its programs to focus on two areas of work.

Staff cuts were triggered by falling revenues from foundations and churches hit hard by last fall’s stock market collapse, said KAIROS executive director Mary Corkery. But even without the dip in investment income KAIROS would have had to eventually trim its expenses, she said.

“It’s a long-term problem. It’s a structural problem,” Corkery said.