The new Basilian Superior General, Rev. George T. Smith, C.S.B.TORONTO - Offering a message of hope to Basilians is the most important job for Fr. George Smith, the newly elected leader of the Congregation of St. Basil.

The 49-year-old Smith was chosen by 58 delegates at the order’s July 4-16 general chapter in Rochester, N.Y., to lead the Basilians for the next four years.

“My first feelings were feelings of uncertainty; I wondered if I had the wisdom or experience that was necessary for this kind of leadership,” said Smith. “But I grew accustomed to the idea that with the prayers of my brothers, I could respond to this new call in a way that would be helpful.”

Women’s gifts essential to ending abuse crisis, says Sr. Kenny

Sr. Nuala KennyOTTAWA - Catholic women must use their gifts to address the systemic problems that have led to the Church’s global sexual abuse crisis, said Sr. Nuala Kenny.

The retired pediatrician and Sister of Charity brought this message to the Catholic Women’s League’s (CWL) 90th national convention here Aug. 9. The CWL met in Ottawa from Aug. 7-11.

“As long as we think clergy sex abuse is the individual sin of an individual offender or the individual sin of mismanagement on the part of bishops, we are not going to learn about why,” Kenny told 600 delegates packing a downtown hotel ballroom.

Canada’s bishops in favour of mandatory long-form census

2011 censusOTTAWA - Canada’s Catholic bishops have joined the chorus urging the federal government to reconsider its plan to abolish the mandatory long-form census.

“A great deal of this information, based on data gathered by Statistics Canada, is most helpful to all faith groups,” said Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) president Bishop Pierre Morissette in a letter to Industry Minister Tony Clement.

Seasonal workers made to feel at home

Seasonal workerMONTREAL - Thousands of agricultural workers from abroad have come and gone with the growing seasons since the 1970s, unnoticed by most Canadians. But a Spanish Mass that drew nearly 2,000 people to St. Joseph’s Oratory Basilica July 18 was evidence that, for a few faith-filled Quebecers, seasonal workers are as important to the community as their neighbours.

“It’s easy to develop a friendship with them. They’re just so respectful,” Louise Guinois said. Guinois is a former farm owner from St. Remi, Que., and organizer of the annual pilgrimage to the Oratory.

Anglicans take historic steps toward unity

Archbishop John HepworthSURREY, B.C. - At the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada’s triennial synod July 12-16, bishops, clergy and lay delegates from across Canada passed a resolution to endorse the March 12 letter its bishops sent to the Holy See seeking an Anglican ordinariate in Canada.

The synod also passed a resolution enabling the bishop and the provincial council to make all adjustments to the diocese’s canonical legislation for the formation of the ordinariate.

The ordinariates will allow Anglicans who accept the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Petrine Ministry to become Catholics while retaining their Anglican liturgy and other aspects of their patrimony.

Christian unity, Jerusalem peace linked for Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

There is no difference between praying for peace in Jerusalem and praying for Christian unity, according to the authors of prayers for next January’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

The 102nd Week of Prayer for Christian Unity will be celebrated Jan. 16 to 22 in Canada.

For the first time the ecumenical team that chose the theme and accompanying prayers for the week-long event is drawn from the churches of Jerusalem — the mother church for all Christians and the city that first witnessed the Resurrection.

Homeless left in the cold when it comes to getting medical help

homelessTORONTO - Canada's universal health care system is pretty universal — except if you're homeless, according to a St. Michael's Hospital study.

One in six homeless people in Toronto, 17 per cent, say they need care for a medical condition and haven't been able to get it. Homeless women with dependent children have almost twice as much trouble getting to see a doctor as mothers generally do in Toronto, said the study by Dr. Stephen Hwang of the Centre for Research on Inner City Health at Toronto's St. Michael's Hospital. The study will be published in the August edition of the American Journal of Public Health.

Lack of census data will hurt Catholic entities

Canada 2011 CensusTORONTO - Making the long form of the 2011 census voluntary has got Catholic schools, social service agencies and Toronto archdiocesan administrators worried.

Religious affiliation, language spoken at home, immigration status, marital status and a great deal more is recorded on the long form of the Statistics Canada census, which in the past was sent out to 20 per cent of the population and had to be filled out or the recipient was penalized. Religious affiliation is one of a few categories recorded only every other census, once every 10 years.

Ouellet’s impact on Quebec a work in progress

Cardinal Marc OuelletOTTAWA - History has yet to determine the legacy Cardinal Marc Ouellet has left Quebec, say those who know him.

But his longtime friends reveal a much different picture than the mainstream media’s depiction of a man ambitious for the papacy, a hardliner out of touch with Quebec and a harsh “ayatollah” who will be remembered for opposing abortion.

Chalice honoured as one of Canada's best charities

ChaliceFrom its origins in the basement of a church in Springhill, N.S., to receiving the top rating among Canadian international aid organizations from MoneySense financial magazine, Catholic charity Chalice has come a long way in sharing Christ with those in need.

The Charity 100, a study released online through MoneySense in June, was designed to provide Canadians with an accurate picture of the top 100 charities in the country. Grouping organizations by category, such as health services, hospital foundations or environment, the study ranked each charity under a variety of criteria.

There's a new app for the new Mass

Mass appTORONTO - The new Roman Missal is coming to an iPhone near you.

The new iPhone application is called the “The New Mass: The New Translation” and was released on July 7. The application allows cellphone users who have an iPhone or iPod device to download the missal for 99-cents and then read it on their screen.