{mosimage}TORONTO - Catholics in the archdiocese of Toronto have responded overwhelmingly to the destructive January quake in Haiti, raising more than $1.1 million in just three weeks.

As of Feb. 2, the tally included donations made by schools, parishes and personal donations to ShareLife, the fundraising arm of the archdiocese.

Olympics must not provide human trafficking opportunities, bishops say

{mosimage}OTTAWA - Concerned by reports that the Vancouver Winter Olympics could provide an ideal climate for human trafficking, Canada’s Catholic bishops have issued a pastoral letter denouncing a dehumanizing crime that, says the United Nations, affects 2.5 million people worldwide.

The Jan. 26 letter, signed by members of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (CCCB) Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace, said major sporting events often see “systems put in place to satisfy the demand for paid sex” and “this is likely to be the case during the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver.”

Bishop Lahey's next court date set for April 9

{mosimage}OTTAWA - Bishop Raymond Lahey's next court date on charges of possession and importation of child pornography has been set for April 9.

The former bishop of Antigonish, N.S., did not appear in court Feb. 3 when one of his lawyers arranged for the new court date. He is unlikely to appear in court on April 9 either, according to his lawyer Michael Edelson.

Toronto Christians called to solidarity with Haiti

{mosimage}TORONTO- Less than a month after a devastating earthquake flattened the city of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Christian leaders in Toronto rallied the faithful to continue praying and supporting those touched by the disaster.

In light of the powerful Jan. 12 earthquake, and the many violent aftershocks the country has suffered, Archbishop Thomas Collins called on Christians attending an ecumenical prayer service for the people of Haiti Feb. 1 to respond in solidarity.

St. Francis de Sales parish turns 150

{mosimage}AJAX, Ont. - It was a day of song and multicultural dance, along with prayers for earthquake-ravaged Haiti, as parishioners celebrated the 150th anniversary of St. Francis de Sales Church.

Long-time parishioner Rita Jatoe says the parish community is a “very loving, caring family.” Wearing a traditional West African dress, Jatoe read a prayer petition in her African dialect and cut the celebratory cake after the noon-time Mass on Jan. 24, the Feast of St. Francis de Sales.

Calgary bishop comes to defence of lay pastor

{mosimage}OTTAWA - Revenue Canada is “way out of line” and could be setting a worrisome precedent by revoking the charitable status of a church run by an activist lay pastor, said Calgary Bishop Fred Henry.

The Glory Christian Fellowship ran afoul of Revenue Canada due to the activities of its lay pastor, Artur Pawlowski. In December, the church received a letter from Dian Prodenov of Revenue Canada informing the fellowship its charitable status was revoked because “members of the Board of Directors espouse strong negative views about sensitive and controversial issues, which may also be viewed as political, such as abortion, homosexuality, divorce, etc.”

Montreal Haitians seek loosened immigration rules

{mosimage}With Montreal being home to the largest population of Haitians in Canada, the archdiocese of Montreal’s response to the Haiti earthquake has been four-fold.

First was Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte’s immediate call to prayer and action on the very day of the Jan. 12 humanitarian catastrophe. Next was the support and active promotion of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace’s fundraising campaign, which in two weeks had raised almost $2 million.

Sri Lankan teen finally united with Toronto family

{mosimage}TORONTO - With an assist from the United Nations, the Archdiocese of Toronto has sprung a 14-year-old refugee from a three-year bureaucratic purgatory of waiting for the government of Canada to act.

Within days of receiving a letter from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the Canadian visa post in Accra, Ghana recognized Piratheeprajh SriVijayarajarajan, who had fled the civil war in Sri Lanka, as an urgent case and a week later had him on a plane to join family in Toronto. For four months Citizenship and Immigration officials at the Canadian embassy in Accra had insisted the boy refugee living alone in the West African city did not qualify for special treatment.

Authentic faith will lead to Christian unity, says Archbishop Collins


TORONTO - With Haiti yet to emerge from the rubble, Christians didn't have to think hard to come up with a reason to pray hard and pray together at the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity ecumenical prayer service Jan. 24.

"We're called to reach out to assist those who suffer and to pray together (for the people of Haiti)," declared Archbishop Thomas Collins in his sermon at Timothy Eaton Memorial Church, part of the ecumenical grouping of mid-town Toronto churches called the "Churches on the Hill." Along with two Anglican and five Protestant churches, the Yonge and St. Clair neighbourhood churches include Holy Rosary and Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Churches.


Scandals tar good bishops and priests


The arrest last fall of Bishop Raymond Lahey has refocused attention on sexual abuse within the Catholic Church. The Catholic Register examines the issue in this special report.

OTTAWA (CCN) — Investigative journalist Michael Harris has seen a “tremendous policy change” in the Catholic Church since he broke the story of sexual and physical abuse at the Mount Cashel orphanage in the late 1980s.
“There has been a true response to the real problem instead of musical parishes, private deals and checkbook dispensations,” said the author of Unholy Orders: Tragedy at Mount Cashel. “I have a good feeling that the next generation of Catholic priests will not be in this position.”

Cardinal Ambrozic turns 80

{mosimage}TORONTO - Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic, archbishop of Toronto from 1990 to 2007, turns 80 Jan. 27.

Ambrozic, a resident at Providence Healthcare in Scarborough, has always valued his privacy and no public celebrations are planned for his birthday. The 5:30 p.m. Mass at St. Michael’s Cathedral on Jan. 27 will be offered for the intentions of the Cardinal.