Arthur Peters, executive director of ShareLifeTORONTO - ShareLife executive director Arthur Peters wants the fundraising arm of the archdiocese of Toronto more involved in efforts to encourage charitable giving with tax breaks on donations.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance has heard submissions from the charitable sector for years on ways to boost Canadian charitable giving. Peters would like to see lobbying by the charitable sector be more successful.

Linda Gibbons' court challenge hits a roadblock

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Linda Gibbons

TORONTO   - The ongoing legal battles of pro-life activist Linda Gibbons received a setback at a Sept. 2 hearing when a judge ruled the case against her did not breach her Charter rights and that her lawyer was not entitled to view nine-year-old documents held by the crown attorney.

Gibbons’ next court date was set for Sept. 30.

Lawyer Daniel Santoro said he was disappointed with the decisions but withheld further comment until after having a chance to review the judge’s detailed ruling, expected to be released during the week of Sept. 7.

International development minister contradicts Canada's abortion policy

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Bev OdaThe Conservative minister in charge of Canada’s international development assistance seems to be singing from a different hymn book than her Conservative colleagues on funding abortions in poor countries.

The tune is leading some pro-lifers to call for Prime Minister Stephen Harper to dismiss International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda from the federal cabinet.

Tamil refugee boy adjusting to life in Canada

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Piratheeprajh VijayarajarajanBRAMPTON, ONT. - Eight months after teenaged Tamil refugee Piratheeprajh Vijayarajarajan arrived in Canada he’s taken on the look of a broad-shouldered young athlete — a contributor to his Brampton cricket club. But the young man is still painfully shy, unsure of his English, wary of strangers.

He’s grateful for the reception he’s had in Canada, and hopes the 492 Tamils who recently arrived in British Columbia aboard the MV Sun Sea will have a similar opportunity to take up their lives again.

Catholic Family Services seeing an increase in hardship

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Debt doomTORONTO - A growing number of Canadian families are finding themselves on the losing end of the global financial meltdown.

At Catholic Family Services of Peel and Dufferin, counsellors have seen a 177-per-cent increase in the number of clients whose finances have fallen apart. In 2009-2010 the agency saw a 173-per-cent increase in couples and individuals at its door because of unemployment, housing or related issues.

Toronto marathon to aid Hope for Children

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Marathon TorontoTORONTO - The end result for Erin O’Brien, a runner in this year’s Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, is giving kids a chance in life.

As one of 200 runners who will be raising funds for the Hope For Children Foundation, O’Brien will be supporting underprivileged children and youth in poor conditions or foster care. Hope For Children, the fundraising arm of the Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto (CCAS), is one of three featured charities in the Waterfront Marathon. In its fourth year of involvement with the race, CCAS hopes to enlist 200 runners like O’Brien to raise a total of $50,000.

Nigerian bishop offers his priests to universal Church

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Bishop John OkoyeTORONTO - There is a seminary with 1,100 men studying for the priesthood. Each year that one seminary turns out a graduating class of hundreds ready for ordination. Since it began with just six students in 1924, this seminary has produced more than 4,000 priests.

Though it may sound like fantasy to any North American Catholic who has visited the echoing halls of their own somewhat less populated seminaries, Bigard Memorial Seminary is a real place. And one of its former rectors believes it should be a resource for the entire Catholic Church, not only for the Metropolitan See of Onitsha in Eastern Nigeria.

Holy books to be allowed at citizenship ceremonies

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Catholic Biblical Association logoOTTAWA - Groups will soon be allowed to distribute holy books at Canadian citizenship ceremonies.

“We’re going to send a directive to all Citizenship and Immigration (CIC) staff who process applications, instructing them if religious groups apply to sit in the back and have copies of holy books, they are entitled to do so,” said Alykhan Velshi, a spokesman for CIC Minister Jason Kenney.

The previous government had banned groups from giving away holy books in 2004, Velshi said.

Pro-lifer Linda Gibbons takes protest fight to highest court

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Linda Gibbon

TORONTO - Jailed pro-life protester Linda Gibbons is seeking to have a 16-year-old “temporary” court injunction overturned by the Supreme Court of Canada.

Gibbons’ lawyer, Daniel Santoro, said the blanket injunction against pro-life protesters is an “abuse” and criminal charges arising from the injunction are  “unconstitutional.”

Santoro told The Catholic Register he submitted an application for a hearing to the Supreme Court on Gibbons’ behalf on Aug. 23. The Court has yet to respond.

Cross-border dioceses unite in honouring Mother Teresa

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Peace BridgeThe Peace Bridge connecting Canada and the United States at Niagara Falls was lit up on Aug. 26 in honour of the centenary of Mother Teresa’s birth. But it also represented a coming together of cross-border dioceses, said Kevin Keenan, director of communications with the diocese of Buffalo.

Illuminated in blue and white, the colours of Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity, the Peace Bridge initiative was a result of efforts of Buffalo Bishop Edward U. Kmiec and Msgr. Wayne Kirkpatrick, administrator of the diocese of St. Catharines, Ont.

Basilian priest charged with abuse dating back to 1972

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child abuseThe Basilian Fathers are encouraging any possible victims of sexual abuse by Fr. Kenneth O’Keefe to come forward.

O’Keefe was charged Aug. 11 with one count of indecent assault stemming from his contact with a teenaged boy at St. Pius X High School in Ottawa in 1972. But if there are other victims or other unreported incidents to be dealt with, the Basilians want to hear about them and will work with police and the court system to see justice is done, said Basilian spokesman Fr. Tom Rosica.