{mosimage}QUEBEC CITY  - When people pause and question the purpose of their lives, they "yearn for a spiritual answer," said Slovakian Cardinal Jozef Tomko at the opening Mass of the 49th International Eucharistic Congress.

You’ll know they are pilgrims by their backpacks

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The 49th International Eucharistic Congress underway in Quebec City is a monumental feat of organization. About 11,000 pilgrims have registered for the event. The main venue is the Expo Cité grounds, a vast conglomeration of buildings and grounds that are geared for big events like the annual agricultural exhibition. It is vast enough to accommodate the huge traffic in buses, taxis and crowds on foot.

Apology opens door to new relations with First Nations

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{mosimage}OTTAWA - With an apology from the Government of Canada to former students of Indian residential schools, the nation has opened itself up to forging a new relationship with its First Nations people, said Archbishop Gerard Pettipas.

“This is saying we want a new relationship with our First Nations people,” said the Grouard-McLennan archbishop, who represented the 50 Catholic entities — dioceses and religious orders — involved in the 2006 Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, a $2.2 billion package that has dispensed “common experience payments” averaging $25,000 to every student. The Catholic entities are expected to contribute $80 million of the $120 million the churches agreed to pay, both  in cash and in counselling, rehabilitation and reconciliation services.

Canadians keen to support Vatican Museums

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{mosimage}TORONTO - In his first visit to Canada, Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, president of the pontifical commission for Vatican City State, thanked Canadians for their financial support of Vatican City art and artifacts.

He joined the Canadian chapter of the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums and Canadian church officials in Toronto for a reception at the home of members Peter and Lydia Sharpe June 10.

Congress is a countersign to quick-fix world

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Quebec Cardinal Marc Ouellet said he hopes pilgrims to the 49th International Eucharistic Congress will be prepared “to receive and to give.”

The cardinal told Catholic News Service his message to pilgrims arriving in Quebec City for the June 15-22 event was: “Open your hearts. Open your arms. We welcome you wholeheartedly.”

Teopoli Camp an experience

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Your children can attend a camp this summer, or they can have an experience — the Teopoli Summer Experience.

Poland recognizes Toronto priest for efforts during fall of communists

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{mosimage}TORONTO - After the communist regime in Poland instituted martial law in 1981, Fr. Antoni Mendrela collaborated with other church and government officials in Canada to help out beleaguered Poles in two ways — by raising money to fund the Catholic University of Lublin, and getting Canadian parishes to sponsor emigrating Poles.

For this, he was awarded Poland’s Officer’s Cross for Service. The award was presented to Mendrela in the name of Polish President Lech Kaczynskiat at the Catholic University of Lublin in January.

Religious vocation more important than ever

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{mosimage}QUEBEC CITY - Though religious congregations are passing through a difficult time in Canada, “our vocation as religious is more important than ever before,” Dominican Father Timothy Radcliffe told leaders of Canadian religious congregations here.

The internationally renowned speaker and author spoke to 400 leaders of religious congregations from across Canada at the June 5-9 general assembly of the Canadian Religious Conference (CRC). The assembly also chose a new executive, with Dominican Father Yvon Pomerleau as president, Ursuline Sister Anne Lewans as vice-president and Marianhill Missionary Father Alain Rodrigue as secretary-treasurer.

Quebec's spiritual void its biggest problem

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Quebec Cardinal Marc Ouellet, who last year sparked controversy with his remarks about religion in Quebec society, said Catholics “need some more militance” to reaffirm “the values of our Catholic tradition in Quebec.”

Continued generosity needed for Holy Land

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Cardinal John Foley, grand master of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre, has urged a group of North American members of one of the Catholic Church’s oldest chivalric orders to be generous in their help to the inhabitants of the Holy Land.

Nine ordained to permanent diaconate

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{mosimage}TORONTO - As Jesus was asked by the Father to live a life of service, so too have the nine men ordained to the permanent diaconate May 31 been asked to dedicate their lives to serving the Lord.