mission festTORONTO - For some Catholics, attending lively non-denominational events presents an opportunity to share in a common faith in Christ and cross the wearisome Protestant-Catholic divide. At the same time, it’s also a chance to remind others of what Roman Catholicism has to offer — which can have both positive and challenging results depending on the delivery.

Elizabeth Wodham of Sarnia, Ont., considers herself an active Catholic, participating as a eucharistic minister and in other aspects of parish life. But to her, missions are an important part of evangelization and she laments the fact that nothing Catholic promotes the missions as much as MissionFest, a non-denominational event which features an exhibit tent for missionary organizations. The 15th annual MissionFest took place in Toronto April 16-18.

Toronto to host Chinese Catholic conference

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Chinese Catholic conferenceTORONTO - Toronto will be hosting the 30th North America Chinese Catholic Clergy, Religious and Laity Convention on the challenges facing Chinese Catholics next month.

The June 25 to 28 conference “Chinese Catholics living in a changing multi-ethnic society” is being hosted by the Chinese Pastoral Council of the Archdiocese of Toronto. The council is made up of the four Chinese Catholic parishes in the archdiocese.

Funding cuts threaten Montreal Catholic newspaper's future

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Catholic TimesMontreal’s only English-language Catholic newspaper will cease monthly publication immediately and may close entirely next year due to funding cuts.

Catholic Times Editor Eric Durocher told The Catholic Register it’s been an “extremely difficult year” managing the paper after being hit with a $30,000 cut in funding from Pillars Trust Fund, which provides about half of the newspaper’s operating capital.

Meagan Bebenek's legacy is not forgotten

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meagans walkTORONTO - It’s been nine years since Toronto’s Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School community lost Meagan Bebenek.

But the five-year-old junior kindergarten student has left a lasting legacy which was commemorated in the April 27 “Circle of Angels with Hope,” an annual event started after Meagan’s death from brain cancer.

Doctors fear abortion flip flop at G8

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G8Catholic physicians fear that Canada will succumb to pressure from G8 leaders to include abortion in its maternal health care plan for the Third World.

“I bet that will happen if it gets on the table (at the G8 Summit in June in Huntsville, Ont.)” said Dr. Robert Walley, executive director of MaterCare International.

Walley said his greatest concern, if abortion creeps in, is  that it will affect the criteria for obtaining funding. He said the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) has repeatedly rejected MaterCare’s request for funding solely on the basis of services he does not provide.

Rae won't let abortion go away

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Bob RaeOTTAWA - An  event to promote health care for women and children in developing nations was hijacked by Bob Rae’s abortion views when he insisted on raising the controversial issue that even his own party failed to support in a recent Commons vote.

Speaking to a coalition of nine major non-governmental organizations on May 4, Rae first lauded initiatives to provide basic health care for women and children, but then said he must remain consistent by bringing up “reproductive and sexual health” and a “woman’s right to choose.”

Toronto archdiocese's abuse protocol committee ready to get to work

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Fr. Brian CloughTORONTO - From a clinical psychologist who treats and researches sex abusers to a social worker who has spent 22 years protecting children in the child welfare system, the archdiocese of Toronto now has a team ready to thoroughly review its policies in cases of priestly sex abuse.

“I’ve asked people to come to the first meeting (during the second week of May) with their suggestions and difficulties and so on,” said archdiocese of Toronto judicial vicar Fr. Brian Clough. “They’re bringing different backgrounds and different viewpoints and we’re going to have to listen.”

KAIROS reapplies for CIDA funding

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Mary CorkeryWith a $100,000 lifeline from the United Church of Canada, Canada’s ecumenical justice coalition KAIROS has until fall to either restart its international programs with new federal funding or reshape itself as a smaller, more domestically focussed organization.

KAIROS has reapplied to the Canadian International Development Agency to restore some of the funding that was cut off Nov. 30. At the time CIDA officials claimed KAIROS’ regular five-year funding agreement was rejected because the church-based group’s international program no longer fit CIDA priorities. However, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney told a conference in Jerusalem his government had cut KAIROS funding because it supported anti-Semitism.

School gives 'life-changing' lessons on St. Maximilian Kolbe

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 Franciscan Father Lucjan KrolikowskiThe story of St. Maximilian Kolbe, a Polish priest martyred in a Nazi death camp, is being stamped on the memories of more than 100 students and their teachers from the school named after him through hands-on visits to Poland, New York City and contact with Holocaust survivors.

St. Maximilian Kolbe Catholic Secondary School in Aurora, Ont., opened its doors to students in September, and celebrated its official grand opening with special guests and a solemn blessing by Toronto Auxiliary Bishop Vincent Nguyen April 28.

Northern bishop Chatlain takes time to learn aboriginal reality

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Mackenzie-Fort Smith Bishop Murray ChatlainTORONTO - Serving in Canada’s northern mission dioceses requires a “call within a call,” says 47-year-old Mackenzie-Fort Smith Bishop Murray Chatlain.

Chatlain, who took charge of the diocese two years ago, was in Toronto April 21 to speak about its needs at the annual Tastes of Heaven gala dinner hosted by Catholic Missions In Canada.

Chatlain said the approach of the Church in the north has significantly changed. The Church promotes the use of aboriginal culture and language rather than trying to eradicate it like some priests and religious had done in the past. This requires clergy and lay missionaries to understand what they’re getting into.

Sr. June Dwyer a YWCA 'Woman of Distinction'

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Sr. June DwyerTORONTO - For the past 15 years, Sr. June Dwyer, 72, has been helping women escape the cycle of addiction and violence at Nazareth House, a transitional home in downtown Toronto for women and their newborns.

But the Sister of St. Joseph couldn’t believe her ears when she learned she would receive the YWCA Toronto Woman of Distinction Award for Health and Healing on May 12 for doing her job.