{mosimage}OTTAWA - The biggest challenge the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace faces is “growing the movement,” says its new national council chair.

Demographics are changing and the Catholic population is “aging and diminishing,” said Pat Hogan, who was elected in December.

Champagne takes over Edmundston, N.B. diocese

{mosimage}OTTAWA - Halifax Auxiliary Bishop Claude Champagne, 61, has had a life-long passion for the Catholic Church’s mission and the New Evangelization — words Pope John Paul II used to describe evangelization equipped to meet the challenges of the modern world.

Champagne’s passion may be a reason why Pope Benedict XVI appointed him bishop of Edmundston, N.B. , Jan. 5 after accepting the resignation of Bishop Francois Thibodeau, 69, for health reasons.

All life is to be welcomed

{mosimage}TORONTO - Long-time pro-life activist Jim Hughes says bringing four of his young grandchildren to the annual Mass for the Unborn teaches them an important lesson about human dignity.

“They have to see that children in the womb are the same as children who are not and they need to be protected,” the national president of Campaign Life Coalition Canada told The Catholic Register following the Dec. 28 Mass at St. Michael’s Cathedral which drew more than 500 people.

Newfoundland diocese settles abuse claim

{mosimage}The Corner Brook and Labrador diocese in Newfoundland has cut a cheque for $13 million and turned the page on a sexual abuse case that drove the diocese into bankruptcy.

The final payment to almost 40 men who had been abused as boys by a priest in several rural parishes was about $2 million less than originally envisioned in the settlement between victims and the diocese. But it avoided further court proceedings that would have delayed payment and eaten up the settlement in legal costs, said Bishop Doug Crosby.

Pledge for life sought

{mosimage}The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition and Physicians for Compassionate Care (PCC) in Oregon have teamed up to create an online campaign to allow people — physicians especially — to pledge their ethical regard for life.

Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition in Canada , said the pledge is not intended to bind anyone to a set of principles, but offer them encouragement and support for their ethical choices.

D&P taps east coast for new president


{mosimage}MONTREAL - The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace has turned to Newfoundland to find a new president of its national council.

Pat Hogan of St. John’s has been elected as the new president, according to a Dec. 16 news release from the organization’s head office in Montreal. At one-time a teacher in Zambia with CUSO, Hogan joined Development and Peace in 1996 and served as chair of the St. John’s diocesan council and as a member of the education committee prior to being elected to the national council in 2004.

Chac gears up for challenging year

{mosimage}OTTAWA - The Catholic Health Association of Canada (CHAC) is strengthening its team to address looming ethical and policy challenges.

The CHAC has appointed medical ethics educator Sr. Nuala Kenny as an ethics and policy advisor for 2009.

Economic stress taking toll on mental health

{mosimage}TORONTO  - The country's economic woes are causing more Canadians to seek counselling in recent months, says the Canadian Mental Health Association .

Catholic Family Services of Toronto — one of several agencies across the country at the frontlines in helping people cope with individual or family breakdowns during the economic crisis — has seen the number of people seeking counselling increase, especially as people are faced with holiday and post-holiday stress.

CCCB Christmas message: Be aware of the shepherds in our midst

{mosimage}Material, economic poverty is certainly not a blessing. Yet it is often those who are poor economically who are more trusting in God, more generous in sharing with others and more hopeful in the future. Although material riches are meant to help us, so often they burden us with false hopes, turning our eyes away from the needs of others and making us less confident in the power and graciousness of God. Even worse, material riches can blind us from seeing how the worst forms of poverty are not lack of wealth or possessions, but lack of dignity, acceptance and love.

Nuns inducted into Order of Canada

{mosimage}OTTAWA - Two nuns, the founder of the Reform Party and the first Reform Party MP were inducted into the Order of Canada at a Rideau Hall ceremony Dec. 12.

They chose to receive Canada’s highest civilian honour, despite the controversy over abortionist Henry Morgentaler’s appointment last July 1 that has led about a dozen Canadians, including Montreal Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte , to return their awards. Earlier this month  the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate — Assumption Province returned the Order of Canada honouring two of its deceased members.

Report calls for increase in welfare rates

{mosimage}TORONTO  - One way to stimulate the economy, according to some poverty advocacy groups, would be to increase welfare rates.

Clarence Lochhead, executive director of the Vanier Institute of the Family , said as politicians and economists consider ways of dealing with the economic crisis, they should take a look at increasing social assistance payments.