{mosimage}TORONTO - A month before her first birthday, Katherine Mary Allen will travel to Ottawa with her parents to attend her first National March for Life.

Her mother, Tanya Granic Allen, says it’s important to bring her daughter on the five-hour trek from Toronto to the pro-life rally on Parliament Hill May 14, the 40th anniversary of an omnibus bill passed in 1969 by Pierre Trudeau’s Liberal government that legalized abortion in Canada.

RCIA grads take leap of faith

{mosimage}TORONTO - Instead of putting her faith in the markets, newly baptized Catholic Julia Oung says she’s rediscovered her faith in God.

Losing all of her life savings last year led to a dark period in Oung’s life. The Toronto accountant didn’t anticipate the economic downturn that would wipe out her pension. 

But amid her worries and tears, Oung says she was drawn to the Catholic Church.

Religion has a role in secular society

{mosimage}TORONTO - Religions and religious people need to claim their right to contribute to society in both words and actions, Archbishop Thomas Collins told an audience of Jews and Christians gathered for the 23rd annual Neighbourhood Interfaith Group dinner April 23.

In the north Toronto synagogue of the Adath Israel Congregation, Collins urged Christians and Jews not to accept a marginal role in secular society.

“We are citizens and have more than earned our right to contribute to the democratic conversation,” the Toronto archbishop said.

Canada's mission territory a beacon of hope

{mosimage}TORONTO - His diocese is bigger than France and it has more moose and caribou than people. Yet Whitehorse Bishop Gary Gordon will drive his pickup truck thousands of kilometres to visit more than 20 parishes and mission churches that dot northern British Columbia and the Yukon with enthusiasm.

He says the faithful congregations, some as small as four people, are worth the effort, but without question need the financial help given to them every year by Catholic Missions In Canada .

Major cutbacks at social justice agency KAIROS

{mosimage}TORONTO - The ecumenical social justice agency KAIROS is dumping five of its 27 employees and trimming its programs to focus on two areas of work.

Staff cuts were triggered by falling revenues from foundations and churches hit hard by last fall’s stock market collapse, said KAIROS executive director Mary Corkery. But even without the dip in investment income KAIROS would have had to eventually trim its expenses, she said.

“It’s a long-term problem. It’s a structural problem,” Corkery said.

Canadian Bishops’ intervention heard on reproduction act

{mosimage}OTTAWA - The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has joined the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada to intervene in a Supreme Court challenge of the Assisted Human Reproduction Act.

The challenge was launched by the Attorney General of Quebec and is supported by the provinces of New Brunswick, Saskatchewan and Alberta. The challenge was heard at the court April 24.

The legislation was enacted in 2004.

Greater need brings cutbacks to Toronto shelter

{mosimage}TORONTO - The Good Shepherd Centre has cancelled lunch and dinner under pressure from another big jump in homeless and near-homeless people on its doorstep. From now on the centre will serve one meal a day between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.

The new serving hours are not a cutback, but rather an attempt to serve more meals to more clients in response to a crush of new needs.

Good Shepherd Ministries executive director Br. David Lynch of the Little Brothers of the Good Shepherd isn’t sure he can attribute a 25-per-cent increase in demand for meals to the deteriorating economy. He finds more immediate and concrete reasons for the lengthening lineup outside the Good Shepherd’s Queen Street East door.

Catholics to take over Toronto's Dundas Square

{mosimage}TORONTO - When St. Paul spoke in the Areopagus, he proclaimed to the Athenians that the “unknown God” they honoured with an altar was in fact the Lord Jesus Christ.

It is this biblical passage that the archbishop of Toronto will present to the public in a prayerful meditation at the heart of the city — beside the bustling Eaton Centre in Dundas Square at Yonge and Dundas Streets May 17. The event caps off the church's year-long celebration of St. Paul.

Celebrating a legacy of inclusion in North York

{mosimage}TORONTO - A committee that laid the blueprints for race and ethnicity policies across the city and province 30 years ago will be honoured May 7 at the North York Civic Centre.

A memorial wall designed in the council chamber will feature a tribute to the original members who served North York’s Committee on Community and Race Relations, including Fr. Massey Lombardi, pastor of St. Wilfred’s parish in northwest Toronto. Lombardi, one time director of the office of social action office for the archdiocese of Toronto, was to speak about the committee’s contribution to public institutions of the Greater Toronto Area like the Catholic school boards and beyond.

Canadian Foodgrains Bank sets record

{mosimage}A Canadian ecumenical agency working with subsistence farmers who face drought and starvation in rural Tanzania is enjoying record-breaking support, despite the recession.

The Canadian Foodgrains Bank raised $12.4 million in cash and crops in 2008-2009, $4 million more than its previous record.

“It was quite a remarkable year,” said Foodgrains executive director Jim Cornelius.

St. John’s Bible a masterpiece for the 21st century

{mosimage}TORONTO - Five-hundred years ago it seemed the Gutenberg revolution had shut down the scriptoriums for good. Since the advent of printing presses there was no more need for Benedictine monks to labour over parchment with quills and inks.
Today there are 500-million copies of the Bible sold every year. In English alone there are dozens of translations. The Bible is available for free on the Internet, but  there are also high-priced, leather-bound editions with copious notes, maps and timelines.
What would be the point of producing a hand-written Bible on parchment in seven volumes — at a cost of nearly $6 million?