{mosimage}OTTAWA - Canada’s bishops are urging Catholics to prepare for the upcoming battle against euthanasia and assisted suicide.

“Euthanasia and assisted suicide are the antithesis to what should be at the heart of human civilization — trust, respect, concern and solidarity, based on reverence for all human life,” Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops president Archbishop James Weisgerber wrote in a July 17 letter to fellow bishops across Canada.

New visa rules affect Mexican Canadian parishes

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{mosimage}TORONTO - It was supposed to be a summer reunion for Rosa Flores and five of her friends from Mexico.

But the St. Anthony’s Church parishioner says Canada’s new visa rules mean her friends won’t be coming to visit her in Toronto this August.

On July 14, the Canadian government imposed new visa requirements for Mexican and Czech citizens to deal with a heavy caseload of refugee claims by visitors from the two countries. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said imposing these new rules is necessary to guard against fraudulent immigration claims.

Archdiocese of Toronto puts leash on Development and Peace funding

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{mosimage}TORONTO - In response to controversy over the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace partners in Mexico, the archdiocese of Toronto is putting D&P on a funding leash and calling for a comprehensive review of the Catholic aid organization.

Archbishop Thomas Collins announced in a July 23 statement that the archdiocese will “set aside” $1.125 million this year from ShareLife to be available to D&P on a case-by-case basis solely for projects run by organizations that are endorsed by local bishops. That is the same amount as 2008, but last year’s funds were allocated directly to D&P’s general revenues to be dispersed as they saw fit.  

ShareLife expects to reach $12-million goal

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{mosimage}TORONTO - The Canadian economy has tumbled this year but it hasn’t taken ShareLife down with it.

Heading into the final week of the annual campaign to raise essential funding for a host of charitable agencies, ShareLife organizers are heartened that parish donations are on par with last year.  There were fears the recession might cut into donations.

Toronto church's loss is PEI's gain

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Leaving behind the largest city in Canada, Toronto Auxiliary Bishop Richard Grecco will soon join Catholics on the east coast as the new leader for the Charlottetown diocese.

Grecco made his very first visit to the island in mid-July, with much anticipation for his Sept. 21 inauguration.

Oshawa summer camp honours its fallen hero

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{mosimage}OSHAWA, Ont. - For nine-year-old Noelle Irani, the joys of summer camp with Our Lady of Lebanon Church have been about friends, swimming and roasting marshmallows near the campfire.

But this year, amid the games, laughter in the pool and soccer balls in the air, the usual sounds and sights of summer have also been accompanied by moments of silence and tears of remembrance for fallen trooper Marc Diab.

Diab had been the camp leader for the last five years. He was scheduled to return home after a six-month tour of duty with the Canadian army in Afghanistan. But three weeks before his arrival, the 22-year-old was killed by a roadside bomb in Kandahar on March 8.

Bishop Albert LeGatt appointed archbishop for Saint-Boniface

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{mosimage}SAINT-BONIFACE, Man. — Bishop Albert LeGatt has been appointed the new archbishop of the archdiocese of Saint-Boniface.

LeGatt, who was bishop of Saskatoon when the appointment by Pope Benedict XVI was announced July 2, takes over from Archbishop Emilius Goulet. The Pope also accepted the resignation of Goulet, 76, who had been running the archdiocese for more than one year beyond the mandatory age of retirement for bishops.

Adults can learn peacekeeping from kids

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{mosimage}TORONTO - The day peace-building became a professional goal for Dr. Sara Schleien, she was watching a soccer game at a leadership camp for teens from countries engulfed in conflict.

It took a minute for the reality of the moment to sink in, she said — a boy from Egypt had scored a winning goal and his teammates, from Israel, Gaza, Egypt, Afghanistan and India ran up to him, picked him up and twirled him around.

Ordinary life makes us holy

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Ordinary holiness is the gift of Opus Dei to the church, Archbishop Thomas Collins told an overflowing assembly at Our Lady of Sorrows on the feast of Opus Dei founder St. Josemaria Escriva.

"It is in that sublime simplicity of ordinary life, in the business of our world, that we are called to holiness," said Collins in his June 26 homily at the west end Toronto parish.

Bishop Grecco to lead Charlottetown diocese

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Toronto Auxiliary Bishop Richard Grecco bishop of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

At the same time the Pope accepted the resignation of Bishop Vernon Fougere, Charlottetown’s bishop since 1992, for reasons of health.

“I am humbled by the announcement of the Holy Father and look forward with great joy to serving the people of the diocese of Charlottetown," said Grecco of  the July 11 announcement. "I send my thoughts and prayers to all those on Prince Edward Island and look forward to joining their community shortly.”

Stephen Harper communion controversy upstages G8 coverage

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{mosimage}ROME  - Did Prime Minister Stephen Harper consume communion at the Catholic funeral of former Governor General Romeo LeBlanc on July 3? Or did he put it in his pocket as anonymous YouTube film of the funeral alleges?

Those were the questions that consumed journalists who followed Harper to the 2009 G-8 Summit in L’Aquila while colleagues at home tracked down the story.