{mosimage}BRAMPTON, Ont. - Whether it was rewarding altar servers with wrestling tickets at Maple Leaf Gardens, covering unpaid heating bills for a struggling family or offering a sympathetic ear to someone whose marriage was breaking down, parishioners at the historic St. Mary’s Church in Brampton, Ont., say it’s stories like these which highlight the spirit of friendship and stewardship between its pastors and the community for a century.

The parish will mark its 100th anniversary Sept. 19 with a Mass and reception. Pastor Fr. James Cherickal will be joined by nine other priests to concelebrate the anniversary Mass with Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins.

Freedomsite.org wins free speech case

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{mosimage}OTTAWA - Catholics who fight for freedom of speech and of religion are applauding a tribunal decision that declared the Canadian Human Rights Act censorship provision unconstitutional.

On Sept. 2, Canadian Human Rights Tribunal member Athanasios Hadjis concluded Section 13(1) and some other portions of the act are “inconsistent with s. 2(b) of the charter, which guarantees the freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression.” Section 13(1) says that material “likely to expose” various enumerated groups to hatred and contempt contravenes the act. There is no defense for truth or intent since the act merely looks at the effects on vulnerable minorities, even if there is no proof any damage has occurred.

Canadian Jesuit named expert for African Synod

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{mosimage}A Canadian Jesuit based in Nairobi, Kenya, has been appointed one of about 30 experts who will assist bishops at Synod of Bishops for Africa at the Vatican Oct. 4-25.

Fr. Michael Czerny founded the African Jesuit AIDS Network in 2002 as a way to help Jesuits in Africa work on the problem of AIDS. His appointment as “adiutor secretarii specialis” to the second Synod of Bishops on Africa will require him to step away from running AJAN at least temporarily.

Canadian Council of Churches wades into U.S. health care debate

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{mosimage}The Canadian Council of Churches launched a letter into the shark tank of American debate over health care and saw some surprising ripples on the surface.

The Aug. 10 letter to the National Council of Churches, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the National Association of Evangelicals became the starting point for journalist David Waters' Aug. 29 "Under God" column in The Washington Post.

Sisters of St. Joseph welcome first new Sister in 12 years

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{mosimage}TORONTO - It was the most unexpected place to find God’s love. But newly professed Sr. Nida Fe Chavez, CSJ, says her ministry at a women’s maximum security prison helped affirm her call to religious life.

“Some of them said they found God in prison, through the people who talked to them, listened to them and brought God’s word to them,” she told The Catholic Register.

Chavez, 49, was a novice at that time with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto and had been volunteering at a prison in Framingham, Mass.

Toronto bids farewell to Charlottetown-bound Grecco

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Auxiliary Bishop Richard Grecco said his final goodbyes to the archdiocese of Toronto at a  Sept. 1 Mass as he prepares to accept his new appointment as bishop of Charlottetown.

His fellow bishops, parishioners, more than a hundred priests and deacons from across the diocese and staff from archdiocesan offices packed St. Paul’s Basilica to hear his homily of thanksgiving for time spent in Toronto, which centred on St. Paul’s message in the reading about encouragement.

Woodbridge parish shows its colours in tornado aftermath

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{mosimage}WOODBRODGE, Ont. - Tornados ripped through houses, tore chunks of roof off St. Peter's Catholic Elementary School, heaved the school's air conditioning unit into a ravine, tossed a Chevy up against an electrical transformer in front of the school, spread roofing nails and glass over streets like confetti — but the crazy storm of Aug. 20 hasn't harmed the spirit of St. Peter's parish in Woodbridge.

It's not that St. Peter's isn't hard at work cleaning up the mess. Thirty-six of the most severely damaged homes plus the school are within parish boundaries. Twenty-six of those wrecked houses are the homes of registered St. Peter's parishioners.

Married Anglican convert ordained to priesthood in PEI

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{mosimage}Married priests. Although it isn’t unheard of, it is still an anomaly in Canada. Less than a dozen exist across the country, with one new addition in Prince Edward Island this month.

On Aug. 9, Fr. Martin Carter was ordained at St. Dunstan’s Basilica in Charlottetown. Carter, 63, has been a resident of P.E.I. for 20 years. He converted to Catholicism in December 2005 before he began the road to Roman Catholic priesthood.

Medical association honours Sr. Nuala Kenny

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Sr. Nuala Kenny, who has spent most of her life facing down what she calls the “de-moralization of modern medicine” in the context of advancing technology and commercialization, will receive the Canadian Medical Association ’s Dr. William Marsden Award for leadership in medical ethics.

Kenny is a pediatrician, a former professor of medicine and ethics at the University of Toronto, Queen’s University and Dalhousie University , and a one-time deputy minister of health of Nova Scotia. She founded Dalhousie’s department of bioethics and served on the ethics committees of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada , the Canadian Pediatric Society, the National Council for Bioethics in Human Research , the National Science Advisory Board and the National Forum on Health. She has been president of both the Canadian Pediatric Society and the Canadian Bioethics Society. She is an officer of the Order of Canada , was a founding member of the Governing Council of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research , one of the founders of the Governing Council of the Health Council of Canada and one of the founders of Canadian Doctors for Medicare .

Padre Pio helped parish through propane blast

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{mosimage}TORONTO - A barbecue, held at St. Norbert’s Catholic Church Aug. 9 to mark the one-year anniversary of a massive propane explosion that rocked the surrounding Toronto neighbourhood was bittersweet.

“Even though people are (still) going through hard times, we have to consider ourselves lucky — in a way it could have been a lot worse,” said Tony Desanto, one of the barbecue organizers.

ShareLife comes up $500,000 short

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Despite falling $500,000 shy of its goal during this year’s fund-raising campaign, ShareLife has pledged that charitable agencies will still receive the funding they need this year.

“The reality is we’re down (from last year), but given the economy and the way things are, we have still raised a significant amount of money,” said Arthur Peters, director of ShareLife, the charitable fund-raising arm of the archdiocese of Toronto.