Sisters of LifeTORONTO - After nearly three years of getting to know Toronto, the Sisters of Life will celebrate their newly opened Sisters of Life Centre with a special Mass and social gathering on June 12.

Visitors to the celebration will get to tour the new centre, formerly the rectory of St. Catherine of Siena parish. Renovations began last fall and the centre contains two parlours on the first floor for meeting with visitors, a kitchen and dining room, and on the second floor a chapel and six offices equipped with phones and computers for the Sisters to connect pregnant women in need with volunteers and important services.

Victims of abuse from years gone by caught in a grey zone

child abuse survivorIn the criminal justice system there are more grey areas than black and white, particularly when it comes to 20- and 30-year-old sex crimes.

When an adult tells church officials that as a child he or she was abused in the church, the internal process these days is pretty clear. But what about the police?

When Fr. George Smith was accused this May of inappropriately touching a young person while working in Deer Lake, Nfld., between 1986 and 1991 he was immediately suspended from his duties as a parish priest in Prince Edward Island. An internal investigation was launched in the diocese of Corner Brook and Labrador. Police, however, were left out of the picture.

Teen pregnancies down by a third, study says

teen motherTORONTO - Increased use of birth control and improved sex education in schools may be keys to a 10-year decline in Canada’s teen birth and abortion rate, according to a new study by the Sex Information and Education Council of Canada.

Canada’s teen birth and abortion rate fell by 36.9 per cent from 1996 to 2006, said the study published in the Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality. The study used Statistics Canada figures. The United States saw a drop of 25 per cent compared to 4.75 for England and Wales and a 19.1-per-cent jump for Sweden, according to the study.

Opposition attacks 'anti-Christian bigotry'

Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe OTTAWA - Recent attacks by federal politicians on Opus Dei have raised concerns about efforts to drive Christians out of public life.

A number of Opposition politicians accused Opus Dei of being “fundamentalist,” right wing and “creepy” and having an undue influence on the Tory government, attacks that began after Msgr. Fred Dolan, Vicar for Opus Dei in Canada, spoke at a May 26 luncheon at the Parliamentary restaurant for MPs, Senators and Parliament Hill staff.

Canadian archbishops among apostolic visitors to Ireland


OTTAWA - Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins and Ottawa's Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, S.J., are among nine church leaders who will join an apostolic visit to Ireland to help the Irish Church reeling from a sexual abuse crisis.

“It’s a common practice when there is a problem or a struggle or a difficulty of any kind for the Holy See to have a visitation,” said Collins.


Toronto diaconate grows by 16

Toronto Auxiliary Bishop Vincent Nguyen, Vicar of Deacons, presented the Book of Gospels to each newly ordained deacon at the May 29 ordination ceremony at St. Michael's Cathedral. TORONTO - Deacon Rudy Ovcjak says being in a hospital room and sharing the hope and love of God to patients, like a woman whose faith was shaken while battling an illness, has provided an excellent training ground for his new ministry.

Ovcjak, 47, was ordained with 15 other men as a deacon for the archdiocese of Toronto on May 29 at St. Michael’s Cathedral. More than 500 people were in attendance at the packed cathedral to witness the ordination by Toronto Auxiliary Bishop Vincent Nguyen, the archdiocese's Vicar of Deacons.

PEI priest suspended

P.E.I. Bishop Richard GreccoAn allegation of abuse in Newfoundland has triggered the immediate suspension of a priest in Prince Edward Island.

P.E.I. Bishop Richard Grecco suspended Fr. George Smith from pastoral duties at St. Malachy’s Church in Kinkora, P.E.I. within 24 hours of learning of the allegation against Smith in the diocese of Corner Brook and Labrador.

Vigil supports American soldier

Jeremy Hinzman, the first American soldier to claim refugee status in Canada rather than serve in Iraq, at a prayer vigil in Toronto with his daughter Meghan, before his March 25 hearing before the Federal Court. As Jeremy Hinzman faced final judgment on whether Canada would keep him, Parliament began debate on a bill that would force the government to respect the conscience of U.S. soldiers like Hinzman who fled to Canada rather than fight in Iraq.

The Federal Court of Appeal has reserved judgment on legal issues underpinning Hinzman’s application for humanitarian and compassionate leave to remain in Canada despite a 2008 deportation order. The court’s decision on Hinzman’s case could take months.

Diabetic volunteers need threatens health care study

diabetes testA St. Michael’s Hospital doctor and researcher trying to save millions of Canadians from an early death, blindness and organ failure can’t rustle up enough volunteers to complete a study.

Dr. David Jenkins needs 400 people with type two diabetes — the kind people normally get over the age of 45, but is increasingly showing up among overweight young people. After months of advertising, Jenkins has recruited fewer than 70 volunteers to take on special diets and monitor their health.

Jesus crosses from Quebec to Ontario

Catholic clergy and young adults paused to adore the Blessed Sacrament on Parliament Hill May 23, during a eucharistic procession that began in Gatineau-Hull and ended at Ottawa’s Notre-Dame Cathedral.OTTAWA - A eucharistic procession across the Ottawa River to Parliament Hill May 22 provided a sign of the spread of a new youth movement’s from Quebec to the rest of Canada.

The Pentecost Eve procession crowned the May 21-24 Youth Summit/Montée Jeunesse here.  The summits began in the years leading up to the 2008 International Eucharistic Congress in Quebec City as a way of harnessing youth creativity and energy.  Now the Summits continue as a fruit of the congress.  The Ottawa summit was the sixth and the first held outside of Quebec.

Lawsuit seeks answers in infant’s death

Barbara Farlow holds her baby Annie, who died at 12 weeks old in 2005. Farlow and her husband are suing Toronto’s Sick Kids’ Hospital over the infant’s death. TORONTO - Annie Farlow would have turned five on May 25. She died in 2005, 80 days after being born with a congenital genetic disorder called Trisomy 13.

Five years later, Annie’s parents are still fighting to get answers about how their baby died.

Tim and Barbara Farlow, the parents of nine children, filed suit in small claims court against Toronto’s Sick Kids Hospital in 2007. It has since become a medical malpractice lawsuit that was transferred to Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice last September.