{mosimage}Asking the federal government to develop a poverty reduction plan is just asking them to do their job, according to Citizens for Public Justice executive director Joe Gunn.

Gunn’s ecumenical social justice organization, along with a dozen other church, union and social action organizations have launched Dignity For All: The Campaign for a Poverty-Free Canada . The campaign aims to get the public and all federal political parties talking about a realistic plan for reducing Canada’s 10.8 per cent poverty rate.

Canadian churches seek federal tar sands plan

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{mosimage}EDMONTON - Canadian Church leaders are preparing to bring the voice of Christian faith to bear on controversies surrounding the Alberta tar sands.

Following meetings May 21-27 with people who work and live in northern Alberta, church leaders intend to lobby the federal government for tighter environmental regulation of the huge and controversial source of energy.

Toronto archdiocese reorganizes faith formation programs

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Help for parishes is on its way as the archdiocese of Toronto reorganizes how it delivers faith formation programs.

Over the summer the archdiocesan curia will meld its Catholic Office of Religious Education and its Office of Lay Ministry, Chaplaincy, Parish Social Ministry and Stewardship into a single office to support parishes, Archbishop Thomas Collins announced May 25.

Fr. Tataryn journeys with St. Demetrius parish every step of the way

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{mosimage}TORONTO - As a Ukrainian Catholic community gathered to celebrate 50 years of Fr. John Tataryn’s priesthood, they did so with some kilts and bagpipes added into the mix of performances.

Tataryn, although of Ukrainian descent, grew up in Sydney, N.S., a town he said was diverse, with many religions and cultures. But if you didn’t listen to the bagpipes, he said, quoting his father with a laugh, “you didn’t have any culture.”

Indian deacons find universal church in Toronto

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Becoming a deacon is more than a way station on the road to priesthood for Vijai Amirtharaj and Jinto Mathew.

“It’s an important stage of our formation and our lives so far. It’s a stage when we are integrated into church ministry,” Amirtharaj said. “It’s part of the whole journey. It’s mystery.”

“It’s not my mission, but it’s the mission of the church,” adds Mathew.

Toronto Tamils raising funds to aid displaced at home

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{mosimage}TORONTO - As 10,000 Tamils gathered on University Avenue to mourn their unknown dead with a candlelit vigil, the Tamil Catholic Community of Toronto swung into action to launch a campaign to raise $100,000 to help hundreds of thousands of internally displaced refugees scattered in government-run "welfare centres. "At the same time the Canadian Jesuits International have launched their own campaign to raise $100,000 for Tamil refugees. And the Canadian Council of Churches is demanding that Canada pressure Sri Lanka to allow open and free access to refugee camps for aid workers and the press.

Jude Aloysius of the Tamil Catholic Community believes all kinds of Canadians will get behind efforts to help refugees in Sri Lanka.

"This is outside the political forum," Aloysius said. "Canadians are very much in tune and they are very passionate about helping people who are in need."


Canadian Council of Churches lays groundwork for G8 Summit response

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{mosimage}The Canadian Council of Churches added some new, Catholic blood at mid-May meetings in Ottawa and began to set the stage for the 2010 G8 meeting of the world's largest economies at the Deerhurst Inn in Huntsville, Ont.

The council admitted the Ukrainian Catholic Church as a full member and elected a new executive which includes a Roman Catholic bishop as vice president. The council now consists of 23 national churches representing 85 per cent of Canada's Christians.


Dead Sea Scrolls help understand biblical texts

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Not long after the time of Christ, a mysterious, ancient community carefully placed rolled manuscripts in clay jars and stored them in caves that remained forgotten in the desert for two millennia.

It is widely believed the scrolls were written by a fringe religious group called Essenes, but there is no proof of that or, indeed, irrefutable proof that the Essenes actually existed.

Toronto's O’Connor House saved, for now

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{mosimage}TORONTO - North York Community Council voted unanimously against an application by the Toronto District Catholic School Board to demolish the historic home of the late Senator Frank O’Connor.

The May 20 decision came as a relief to community members who have been raising money to restore the home, but as a setback to the board which is responsible for the old farm house.

Tridentine priests seek Toronto parish

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{mosimage}TORONTO - A priestly fraternity dedicated to preservation of the pre-Vatican II Tridentine Mass is seeking permission to set up a parish in Toronto.

The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter has proposed to Archbishop Thomas Collins that the order would create a parish served by two priests offering all the sacraments according to the 1962 Missale Romanum. The Toronto personal parish would also serve as a base for the fraternity’s work in the dioceses of St. Catharines and London.


Coalition forms to defeat latest Canadian euthanasia bill

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{mosimage}OTTAWA - Life-affirming groups are mounting an offensive against a Bloc Quebecois’ MP’s third attempt to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Francine Lalonde introduced her private members’ Bill C-384 to legalize euthanasia on May 13, the day before 12,300 Canadians came to Ottawa for the National March for Life. Her previous bills died when elections were called.