{mosimage}TORONTO - Not long after the time of Christ, a mysterious, ancient community carefully placed rolled manuscripts in clay jars and stored them in caves that remained forgotten in the desert for two millennia.

It is widely believed the scrolls were written by a fringe religious group called Essenes, but there is no proof of that or, indeed, irrefutable proof that the Essenes actually existed.

Toronto's O’Connor House saved, for now

{mosimage}TORONTO - North York Community Council voted unanimously against an application by the Toronto District Catholic School Board to demolish the historic home of the late Senator Frank O’Connor.

The May 20 decision came as a relief to community members who have been raising money to restore the home, but as a setback to the board which is responsible for the old farm house.

Tridentine priests seek Toronto parish

{mosimage}TORONTO - A priestly fraternity dedicated to preservation of the pre-Vatican II Tridentine Mass is seeking permission to set up a parish in Toronto.

The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter has proposed to Archbishop Thomas Collins that the order would create a parish served by two priests offering all the sacraments according to the 1962 Missale Romanum. The Toronto personal parish would also serve as a base for the fraternity’s work in the dioceses of St. Catharines and London.

Coalition forms to defeat latest Canadian euthanasia bill

{mosimage}OTTAWA - Life-affirming groups are mounting an offensive against a Bloc Quebecois’ MP’s third attempt to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Francine Lalonde introduced her private members’ Bill C-384 to legalize euthanasia on May 13, the day before 12,300 Canadians came to Ottawa for the National March for Life. Her previous bills died when elections were called.

Catholic share the faith at Toronto's Yonge-Dundas Square

{mosimage}TORONTO - Nearly a thousand Catholics flooded Toronto's Dundas Square on May 17, rosaries in hand, heads bowed or arms raised for their most public event since World Youth Day 2002.

"It's hard to put into words," said Paul Klotz, a parishioner of St. Michael's Cathedral. "(Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins) showed us that in praying a little and reading a little you can learn so much more than by just reading the Bible (by itself)."

Food bank pleads for Toronto churches' support

{mosimage}TORONTO - There happens to be a recession going on and the Toronto Area Interfaith Council thinks the city’s churches, mosques, synagogues and temples ought to be doing something about it.

At the third annual TAIC breakfast with Toronto’s mayor, the interfaith council unveiled a program to encourage faith communities to collect food for food banks and to open pathways to employment, social services and housing through the 211 system.

Over 12,000 join National March for Life


OTTAWA - Despite driving rain and howling winds, the National March for Life May 12 drew more than 12,300 people — the largest crowd in its 11-year history.

Dubbed Exodus 2009, the March marked the 40th anniversary of the Omnibus Bill that decriminalized abortion in Canada, paving the way to abortion on demand.

On the steps to the Peace Tower, Quebec's Cardinal Marc Ouellet called upon Parliamentarians to address the juridical void that leaves abortion permissible right through nine months of pregnancy. He also called on all Canadians to build a culture of life that guards the family and welcomes human life. We are all responsible for the respect for human rights in our land, he said, especially the rights of the most fragile — infants in the womb, the elderly and the handicapped.

ShareLife well on its way to meet goal

{mosimage}TORONTO - After the second ShareLife Sunday May 2-3, the charitable fundraising arm of the Toronto archdiocese is halfway through its parish campaign and more than halfway to reaching its goal of $12 million.

So far, more than $7.1 million has been raised by Toronto parishes, said Arthur Peters, ShareLife’s executive director. He hopes to raise the remaining $5 million to effectively support those in need through its 33 charitable agencies.

Toronto Tamils seek stronger church voice in condemning Sri Lankan conflict

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.