News/Canada

The diocese of Peterborough’s seventh annual Way of the Cross will take place on Good Friday. Above, an actor portraying Jesus carries the Cross surrounded by Roman soldiers during a previous walk.Peterborough, Ont. - The faith of Catholic youth in Peterborough, Ont., will be out in the open during Good Friday’s seventh annual Way of the Cross on April 22 with a re-enactment of Christ’s Passion.

“It’s a way of evangelizing in a unique way,” said Mary Helen Moes, program manager for youth for the diocese of Peterborough and director of this year’s re-enactment.

“They’re certainly not pushing their faith on top of anybody. They’re just demonstrating their faith in a very public way and I don’t think there’s many opportunities for that any more.”

Run by the diocese of Peterborough’s Vocations, Evangelization and Youth Office, the Way of the Cross has about 100 youth participating this year, up from the 30 participants of seven years ago when it originated, said Moes.

‘Culture of death’ is not the way to solve problems

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Dr. Francois Primeau, a Quebec psychiatrist, said the request for euthanasia can result from underlying psychiatric conditions.TORONTO - In the face of cultural pressure to accept abortion, contraception and euthanasia, Catholic doctors can respond by affirming the inherent human dignity of the person and appealing to human reason in explaining the “culture of life,” Catholic experts said at the third annual conference of the Canadian Federation of Catholic Physicians’ Societies.

This year’s gathering was organized by the St. Joseph Moscati Catholic Doctors Guild and held at Toronto’s University of St. Michael’s College April 8-10.

“If we allow abortion, suicide and euthanasia, the ‘culture of death’ means death is a way to solve problems,” Prof. Janet Smith, the Father Michael J. McGivney Chair of Life Ethics at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit and consultor to the Pontifical Institute of the Family, told more than 120 doctors and medical students in her keynote speech.  

Churches want poverty reduction as number one issue in election

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Karen HamiltonThe number one demand churches are making from campaigning federal politicians is a concrete plan to reduce and end poverty in Canada.

The Canadian Council of Churches reiterated the ecumenical priority in a letter to all the national party leaders March 31.

"The issue of poverty, certainly our Scriptures call us to that over and over and over again," Canadian Council of Churches general secretary Rev. Dr. Karen Hamilton told The Catholic Register.

The eight priority issues listed in the CCC letter largely repeat the priorities laid out last year by international faith leaders gathered in Winnipeg just before the G20 Summit in Toronto.

New principal a St. Mike's U. lifer

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Domenico PietropaoloTORONTO - Domenico Pietropaolo has been appointed the new principal at Toronto’s University of St. Michael’s College. His five-year term is effective July 1.

“St. Michael’s already has a very distinguished history of scholar- ship and students,” Pietropaolo told The Catholic Register. “And I hope to be able to continue to develop that further to help the St. Michael’s community reach a higher level of excellence than they already enjoy.”

Pietropaolo said he’s very pleased to be taking on the position.

“For me, I’ve never really left the college,” he said. “I’ve always been a member of it. I was a student there and I have been teaching on the campus of St. Michael’s College for many years.”

D&P partners praise Canadian generosity

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Gatineau Archbishop Roger Ebacher displays gifts from Sr. Clare Garcillano, a missionary in East Timor and a D&P partner.OTTAWA - A delegation with members from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia, East Timor and Sierra Leone have embarked on a tour of Ontario and Quebec cities to tell Canadian Catholics how much their nations have benefited from Canadian generosity.

Among them was the president of the National Episcopal Conference of Congo, Tshumbe Bishop Nicolas Djomo, who spoke of the work the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (D&P) has done in his country.

“Development and Peace has been helping us a lot,” said Djomo, who spoke of the work the Canadian bishops’ development agency did first in addressing emergency needs in the aftermath of the country’s civil war, and now in helping the central African nation address justice and human rights, fair elections and concerns over mining.

London offers invitation to Confession

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London Bishop Ronald Fabbro discusses Confession: A Roman Catholic App with Shelley Isabelle. The diocese was to give out 500 copies of the app as part of its April 6 Confession campaign. (Photo by Mark Adkinson)When the diocese of London says their doors are always open, they’re not kidding. At least that was the case on April 6 when more than 120 parishes across Southwestern Ontario participated in the dioceses Confession Campaign.

“It’s an invitation to people that the doors are open for them to come back to the sacrament of Confession,” London Bishop Ronald Fabbro told The Catholic Register.

The campaign was modelled after the “Light is On for You” campaign that originated in the archdiocese of Washington and has since spread across the United States, said Mark Adkinson, director of communications for the London diocese.

The American campaign runs Confessions on a particular day for a couple hours every week throughout Lent.

John Paul II remembered in stamp exhibit

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Anthony Sales among the 160 frames of his Philatelic Tribute to Pope John Paul II (Photo by Deborah Gyapong)OTTAWA - Anthony Sales’ childhood passion for stamp collecting has become a “Philatelic Tribute to Pope John Paul II” that tells an astonishing story of the “pilgrim pope” in stamps from nations around the world.

“He was really loved,” said Sales, who lives in Richmond, B.C. “He was a man people were just attracted to.”

Sales brought his collection to Ottawa April 1-4, which straddled the sixth anniversary of John Paul’s death, and only a month before John Paul’s beatification in Rome May 2, a circumstance Sales described as “providential.”

The exhibit had originally been slated for last October, and was moved to April before the beatification was announced.

Sales described the late pope as “a man from Galilee” because when he spoke, Sales was reminded of accounts of St. Paul in Acts speaking to the people.

New refugee policy condemned for lacking compassion

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Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason KenneyChanges to Canada's refugee system are being denounced  by the sponsorship community as a cap on compassion and generosity.

A February letter from Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney  to churches and non-profits that sponsor refugees revealed plans to limit the number of refugees Canadians would be allowed to sponsor under the Private Sponsorship of Refugees program. Kenney calls it a "different kind of stewardship." The government is also unilaterally altering its contracts with Sponsorship Agreement Holders, ending all agreements as of Dec. 31, 2011.

"Putting a cap on the number of refugee applications can mean putting a limit on the generosity of Canadians," said Canadian Council for Refugees director Janet Dench.

Canadian Catholics will begin using new English Missal translation by Advent

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OTTAWA - Canadian Catholics will begin using the new English translation of the Roman missal on the first Sunday of Advent, Nov. 27.

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) made the announcement April 4, after receiving recognitio for all sections of the revised missal for use in Canada.

"The news of the recognitio is a great day for the Canadian Church and for the future of our Catholic worship here," said Ottawa Archbishop Prendergast, a member of the Vox Clara, a committee appointed by the Holy See to give advice on the translation as it was voted upon by bishops’ conferences in the English-speaking world.

Prendergast noted other English-speaking countries will also introduce the new missal this Advent. Since so many Canadians travel regularly to and from the United States, he predicted not starting at the same time would have resulted in "liturgical chaos."

"Given all the work that went into this and all the consultation around the world with bishops and their advisors, I believe this is a consensus document and an extraordinary achievement, despite the naysayers," he said. "Our people will love it, though it will take some time to adjust to the new formulas. People will need to be patient with their priests as they adjust to a new style of liturgical prayer."

The bishops' National Liturgy Office director Fr. Bill Burke also believes the response will be positive. He has been holding workshops around the country since last summer and finds 90 per cent of participants appreciate the new translation once they have heard the prayers proclaimed by someone familiar with them, and "much of the angst was diffused," he said.

Burke blamed the blogosphere for contributing to negative impressions from both the left and the right.

"My hope is that the new translation will help us recover a sense of the majesty and awe of the Roman rite and of the importance of beautiful language to praise, glorify and petition the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ," said Prendergast. "The 1974 version of the liturgy was an impressive accomplishment, but its hurried preparation and a less-than-adequate translation principle for worship left much to be desired.

"My prayer is that the occasion of the new translation will help us recover some of the riches we have been missing: biblical imagery, the angelic hosts, the great spiritual patrimony of earlier ages in the ancient prayers."

CCCB Publications will soon release Celebrate and Song, a resource that contains three newly composed Mass settings and chants. It also includes the parts of the Mass spoken by the people.

The liturgy office will soon launch texts and power-point slides for local-level workshops on the theology of the Eucharist, the process of translation and revision and on the history of the Eucharist at www.nlo.cccb.ca.

In August DVDs produced in collaboration with Salt + Light TV will provide a two-hour presentation "on the theological emphases of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal," according to the CCCB release, and an hour-long teaching DVD on "the structure of the Mass and the meaning of each part of the Mass."

In September, the liturgy office will release CDs of a cantor singing about a dozen of the new prefaces to help priests who may not be able to read music to sing them if they wish.

Ottawa archdiocese cancels Mexican priest's visit over abortion concerns

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Fr. Luis Arriaga, director of the of the Miguel Pro Centre for Human Rights, will no longer visit Ottawa.OTTAWA - Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, S.J. cancelled the weekend speaking engagements of a Mexican priest amid allegations that the priest's human rights organization was allied with groups that promote decriminalizing abortion.

Fr. Luis Arriaga, director of the of the Miguel Pro Centre for Human Rights, was to visit several churches and meet with Ottawa priests and parish representatives of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace to highlight D&P's overseas work.

Last week a photograph was published online that showed Arrigia receiving an award alongside members of a Mexican pro-choic organization. Prendergast met with Arriaga upon the priest's arrival in Ottawa and, following a discussion with him and D&P representatives, cancelled Arriaga's appearances.

Gay-straight alliances turn into ‘lightning rod’ of controversy

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TCDSB trustee, John Del GrandeTORONTO - Demands from the NDP’s education critic that the Ontario government force Catholic schools to accept gay-straight alliances are off base because Catholic schools already have government-approved equity programs for students, regardless of their sexual orientation, according to Catholic education groups.

Nancy Kirby, president of the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association, rejected the NDP’s assertion that gay-straight alliances should be the exclusive support group in all Ontario schools for students with same-sex attractions. Catholic schools have always promoted non-discrimination in the classroom and have supports in place for students with same-sex attractions, she said.

Following a decision by the principal at Mississauga’s St. Joseph Catholic High School to disallow a gay-straight alliance, NDP MPP Rosario Marchese said Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty should compel Catholic school boards to establish GSAs in order to conform with the government’s equity policy.