{mosimage}Material, economic poverty is certainly not a blessing. Yet it is often those who are poor economically who are more trusting in God, more generous in sharing with others and more hopeful in the future. Although material riches are meant to help us, so often they burden us with false hopes, turning our eyes away from the needs of others and making us less confident in the power and graciousness of God. Even worse, material riches can blind us from seeing how the worst forms of poverty are not lack of wealth or possessions, but lack of dignity, acceptance and love.

Nuns inducted into Order of Canada

{mosimage}OTTAWA - Two nuns, the founder of the Reform Party and the first Reform Party MP were inducted into the Order of Canada at a Rideau Hall ceremony Dec. 12.

They chose to receive Canada’s highest civilian honour, despite the controversy over abortionist Henry Morgentaler’s appointment last July 1 that has led about a dozen Canadians, including Montreal Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte , to return their awards. Earlier this month  the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate — Assumption Province returned the Order of Canada honouring two of its deceased members.

Report calls for increase in welfare rates

{mosimage}TORONTO  - One way to stimulate the economy, according to some poverty advocacy groups, would be to increase welfare rates.

Clarence Lochhead, executive director of the Vanier Institute of the Family , said as politicians and economists consider ways of dealing with the economic crisis, they should take a look at increasing social assistance payments.

Rwandan genocide survivor's speaking tour threatened

{mosimage}TORONTO - A Rwandan genocide survivor who has been denied entry into Canada is launching a final appeal so that she will be able to speak about reconciliation at aboriginal reserves in Manitoba and Ontario.

Having exhausted all of her options for a visitor's visa, Patricie Mukundiyukuri, 24, has now applied for a minister's permit, also known as a temporary resident permit.

Marian shrine attracts devoted following

{mosimage}TORONTO - Some call it a place of miracles. For Ukrainian Catholic priest Fr. Basil Cembalista, OSBM, the Marian Monument of Gratitude is also a place of prayer and thanksgiving.

Little known outside its circle of devoted visitors, the Marian shrine which Cembalista built has steadily drawn crowds and interest from many Roman Catholic groups.

Peaceful unity in captive's book

{mosimage}TORONTO - It’s been three years since Jim Loney narrowly escaped from Baghdad with his life. He marked the occasion with a book launch Nov. 26 which gathered dozens of people who had prayed and worked for his release.

Kidnappers held Loney and three other members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams captive four months, until an international military operation sprang them March 23, 2006. By then one of the four captives, American Tom Fox, had been killed by the Swords of Righteousness Brigade, a previously unknown group.

There's room at (Royal York) inn

{mosimage}TORONTO - Toronto’s Fairmont Royal York Hotel is no stranger to old-fashioned Christmas giving, but gives it a modern twist.

Instead of giving away wrapped gifts, the hotel will be offering a free place to stay for people visiting hospitalized family members or for people from outside of the city who need daily medical treatment. The “Room at the Inn” program offers patients at St. Michael’s Hospital, Casey House Hospice or Hospice Toronto the opportunity of staying for up to as many as seven nights. So unlike Mary and Joseph in the Christmas story, those selected will have a pretty cosy refuge.

Economic stimulus can be found in Catholic social doctrine

{mosimage}OTTAWA - As Ottawa contemplates how to respond to the economic crisis, Catholic social teaching offers some guidance, but not enough to shape a consensus even among Catholic thinkers.

“The issue of how much fiscal stimulus the Canadian economy requires right now is very much a matter of prudential judgment,” said Richard Bastien, Catholic Civil Rights League National Capital director, who spent 31 years as an economist advising the Department of Finance.

Novalis gets a new English-language director

{mosimage}MONTREAL - Bayard Canada has appointed Joseph Sinasac to the newly created position of Publishing Director for Novalis, Canada's leading publisher of religious books and resources.

Sinasac, currently Publisher and Editor of The Catholic Register, will oversee the English-language division of Novalis from its Toronto office, including editorial, sales and marketing departments.

Oblate province returns Orders of Canada to protest Morgentaler award

{mosimage}TORONTO - In a protest against the award of the Order of Canada to abortion doctor Henry Morgentaler, a community of priests has returned its orders given to two well-known colleagues.

The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate — Assumption Province announced Dec. 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, that they were returning the awards given to Frs. Anthony Sylla and Michael Smith.

Ontario religious step up poverty-reduction demand

{mosimage}TORONTO - The people who started Ontario’s first free hospitals, ran the orphanages and founded schools that were once a ticket out of poverty are appealing to the government and people of Ontario to take up their fight and get serious about poverty reduction.

Thirty Ontario religious orders, representing hundreds of Sisters, Fathers and Friars, are publishing an open letter to the government and people of Ontario. The letter urges them to set hard targets for poverty reduction and enshrine them in law.