{mosimage}The Canadian Council of Churches launched a letter into the shark tank of American debate over health care and saw some surprising ripples on the surface.

The Aug. 10 letter to the National Council of Churches, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the National Association of Evangelicals became the starting point for journalist David Waters' Aug. 29 "Under God" column in The Washington Post.

Sisters of St. Joseph welcome first new Sister in 12 years

{mosimage}TORONTO - It was the most unexpected place to find God’s love. But newly professed Sr. Nida Fe Chavez, CSJ, says her ministry at a women’s maximum security prison helped affirm her call to religious life.

“Some of them said they found God in prison, through the people who talked to them, listened to them and brought God’s word to them,” she told The Catholic Register.

Chavez, 49, was a novice at that time with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto and had been volunteering at a prison in Framingham, Mass.

Toronto bids farewell to Charlottetown-bound Grecco

{mosimage}TORONTO - Auxiliary Bishop Richard Grecco said his final goodbyes to the archdiocese of Toronto at a  Sept. 1 Mass as he prepares to accept his new appointment as bishop of Charlottetown.

His fellow bishops, parishioners, more than a hundred priests and deacons from across the diocese and staff from archdiocesan offices packed St. Paul’s Basilica to hear his homily of thanksgiving for time spent in Toronto, which centred on St. Paul’s message in the reading about encouragement.

Woodbridge parish shows its colours in tornado aftermath

{mosimage}WOODBRODGE, Ont. - Tornados ripped through houses, tore chunks of roof off St. Peter's Catholic Elementary School, heaved the school's air conditioning unit into a ravine, tossed a Chevy up against an electrical transformer in front of the school, spread roofing nails and glass over streets like confetti — but the crazy storm of Aug. 20 hasn't harmed the spirit of St. Peter's parish in Woodbridge.

It's not that St. Peter's isn't hard at work cleaning up the mess. Thirty-six of the most severely damaged homes plus the school are within parish boundaries. Twenty-six of those wrecked houses are the homes of registered St. Peter's parishioners.

Married Anglican convert ordained to priesthood in PEI

{mosimage}Married priests. Although it isn’t unheard of, it is still an anomaly in Canada. Less than a dozen exist across the country, with one new addition in Prince Edward Island this month.

On Aug. 9, Fr. Martin Carter was ordained at St. Dunstan’s Basilica in Charlottetown. Carter, 63, has been a resident of P.E.I. for 20 years. He converted to Catholicism in December 2005 before he began the road to Roman Catholic priesthood.

Medical association honours Sr. Nuala Kenny

Sr. Nuala Kenny, who has spent most of her life facing down what she calls the “de-moralization of modern medicine” in the context of advancing technology and commercialization, will receive the Canadian Medical Association ’s Dr. William Marsden Award for leadership in medical ethics.

Kenny is a pediatrician, a former professor of medicine and ethics at the University of Toronto, Queen’s University and Dalhousie University , and a one-time deputy minister of health of Nova Scotia. She founded Dalhousie’s department of bioethics and served on the ethics committees of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada , the Canadian Pediatric Society, the National Council for Bioethics in Human Research , the National Science Advisory Board and the National Forum on Health. She has been president of both the Canadian Pediatric Society and the Canadian Bioethics Society. She is an officer of the Order of Canada , was a founding member of the Governing Council of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research , one of the founders of the Governing Council of the Health Council of Canada and one of the founders of Canadian Doctors for Medicare .

Padre Pio helped parish through propane blast

{mosimage}TORONTO - A barbecue, held at St. Norbert’s Catholic Church Aug. 9 to mark the one-year anniversary of a massive propane explosion that rocked the surrounding Toronto neighbourhood was bittersweet.

“Even though people are (still) going through hard times, we have to consider ourselves lucky — in a way it could have been a lot worse,” said Tony Desanto, one of the barbecue organizers.

ShareLife comes up $500,000 short

{mosimage}TORONTO - Despite falling $500,000 shy of its goal during this year’s fund-raising campaign, ShareLife has pledged that charitable agencies will still receive the funding they need this year.

“The reality is we’re down (from last year), but given the economy and the way things are, we have still raised a significant amount of money,” said Arthur Peters, director of ShareLife, the charitable fund-raising arm of the archdiocese of Toronto.

Newly ordained priest opened up to truth through St. Faustina

{mosimage}TORONTO - As a 23-year-old, it wasn’t easy having to leave war-torn Lebanon to settle in Toronto. As he struggled to get a job and get over the culture shock, Fr. Mounir El-Rassi, who was ordained Aug. 15 at St. Michael’s Cathedral, said the challenges of a new life in Canada initially gave his faith a hard slap.

“I felt a spiritual darkness or desolation, and I thought I made the wrong decision coming to Canada,” said the now 42-year-old El-Rassi. “I was assessing everything and I was praying, but I was kind of in a dry mode.”

Toronto marks Hiroshima Day

{mosimage}TORONTO - It’s been 25 years since Pope John Paul II lit the eternal flame in Toronto’s Peace Garden, and every year the city’s Hiroshima Day Coalition magnifies that flame of hope and memory with an Aug. 6 commemoration of the first atom bomb used in war.

This year’s ceremony featured a Japanese lantern ceremony, which floated dozens of paper lanterns — each containing a single tea light lit from the eternal flame — across the water of the reflecting pool at Nathan Phillips Square.

Toronto couple's missionary experience cut short by Honduran coup

{mosimage}TORONTO - It was just after Sunday Mass when missionaries-in-training Maggie and Mark Banga learned about the military coup in Honduras.

Although it was an abrupt ending to their mission work, the Bangas say this experience has taught them invaluable lessons about missionary life.

The 30-year-old couple, parishioners at Toronto’s Newman Centre, had been volunteering with Mission Honduras International, a U.S.-based Catholic Franciscan charity in Comayagua, northwest of Honduras’ capital Tegucigalpa since April. The Bangas were teaching kids English and about computers at a local school. Maggie was also working with single mothers who were learning how to make and sell rosary bracelets The couple was scheduled to finish the placement in mid-July when the coup happened.