Arts

Concert funds tutors for at-risk students

Rosanna RiversoTORONTO - Just hitting that one, pure, crystal-clear note is hard enough. Hitting it all alone, without the help of supporting musicians, takes courage.

When Rosanna Riverso strides out in front of her audience at St. Paul’s Basilica Oct. 8 at 8 p.m. she will have the reassurance of piano, bass, guitar and percussion backing her up. But she will be singing on behalf of kids who don’t necessarily have any back-up.

Cardinal Newman's legacy strong today

Newman’s Unquiet GraveNewman’s Unquiet Grave: The Reluctant Saint by John Cornwell (Continuum Books, 256 pages, hardcover, $22.95).

Every book has an agenda, sometimes blatant, sometimes unintentional, but always present and needing to be judged at least partly on the question of whether it achieves its goal.

A new biography of John Henry Newman, published mere months before the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to England and Scotland, during which the Pope will beatify the 19th-century cardinal, thinker and theologian, is a natural subject for agenda detection.

The American should be better, but leaves audience disappointed

The AmericanGeorge Clooney is in a very bad mood in The American (Focus), playing a hired assassin who has soured on his profession and contemplates a better life. While this should be a gripping, fast-paced thriller worthy of the Jason Bourne franchise, the title character's depression and sheer lethargy keep the film's gears firmly in park, leaving the audience bewildered and disappointed.

Additionally, although the serious intent of the filmmakers is clear, scenes of graphic sexuality suggest a very restricted audience, while the treatment of Christian morality — via the presence of a far from exemplary, but nonetheless sympathetic Catholic priest — is unsatisfying and insubstantial.

Wisdom gained through journey into darkness

When Values CollideWhen Values Collide: The Catholic Church, Sexual Abuse and the Challenges of Leadership  by Joseph P. Chinnici, O.F.M. (Orbis Books, 236 pages, softcover, $26).

The horror of clerical sexual abuse rocking the Church around the globe is a decidedly multi-faceted phenomenon. Coming to understand and perhaps transcend exactly what the scandal means, it matters deeply which perspective you choose. Over the coming months and years there will be a wave of books available to everyone struggling to make sense of and move forward from the sensationalist detail that preoccupies much of the mainstream media. Joseph P. Chinnici’s When Values Collide is one of the first and it is a truly impressive starting point.

Bible inspiration for Chinese art exhibit

kk_acceptanceTORONTO - Katherina Kwan and Yvonne Cheng are not professional artists, they say, they are just ordinary people who want to explore their faith through art.

“The Eternal Wisdom — Tao,” an art exhibition running Aug. 21-26, is Kwan and Cheng’s chance to let others share in this exploration. The six-day event, held at the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Toronto, will showcase their Catholic Chinese art and calligraphy.

Frank Runyeon delivers Scripture the way it was meant to be

Frank RunyeonBRAMPTON, Ont. - In the time of Jesus’ ministry, people of all ages and walks of life would gather in seemingly ordinary places simply to hear Jesus speak.

In a “more modern and secular world that holds a media-driven mindset, ignoring or even rejecting the values Jesus taught,” Hollywood TV star Frank Runyeon shows no shame in his faith. Instead, he uses his talents and industry experience to spread the same message Jesus was preaching 2,000 years ago.

Icon course at Living Water College

Living Water CollegeA course on iconography is being offered this summer at Living Water College, a Christian liberal arts college in Derwent, Alta.

The program, which runs from July 18-30 will be taught by Frank C. Turner, the school’s director of fine arts, who studied for many years under Vladislav Andreyev, a contemporary master iconographer, and Fr. Gianluca Busi of Bologna, Italy.

Helping you come to grips with grief

Now What? A Practical Guide to Dealing with Aging, Illness and DyingNow What? A Practical Guide to Dealing with Aging, Illness and Dying by Sherri Auger and Barbara Wickens (Novalis, 160 pages, softcover, $19.95).

Barbara Wickens and Sheri Auger say they wish they had a reference tool when they were facing their parents’ illnesses and deaths.

Me too.

Brendan, a saint of adventure

BrendanBrendan: The Remarkable Life and Voyage of Brendan of Clonfert, One of the most Beloved Irish Saints by Morgan Llywelyn (New York, Tom Doherty Associates, 303 pages, $29.99.)

Saints stand out as great role models for youth and if they haven’t already added St. Brendan to their list of heroes, it’s probable they will after reading Brendan: The Remarkable Life and Voyage of Brendan of Clonfert, One of the most Beloved Irish Saints by Morgan Llywelyn.

Brendan is a telling tale of the legendary life of St. Brendan of Clonfert, or St. Brendan the Navigator, one of the greatest Irish saints. In reading the novel, the reader will develop a mental picture of who St. Brendan was — a man of great faith, knowledge and love for God.

Music helps singer find her inner peace

Singer Rosanna Riverso with Sony Recording artists The Priests. Riverso was a soloist at the show The Priests performed in December at Toronto’s St. Paul’s Basilica. TORONTO - During these uncertain times, Mississauga, Ont., singer-songwriter Rosanna Riverso wants to bring a Christian message of hope, peace and inspiration to all.

“I think we live in a very fast-paced society and even right now, today, are facing a lot of economic, social and spiritual strife,” Riverso told The Catholic Register.

To that end, Riverso has organized the Peace Concert Tour that will take place in three Catholic churches in Southern Ontario. The first concert is on June 6 at Oakville’s St. Matthew’s Catholic Church. The following concerts will be held at Hamilton’s St. Margaret Mary’s Catholic Church on Sept. 19 and Oct. 8 at Toronto’s St. Paul’s Basilica.

Play tries to bring redemption to the urban underside

A scene from The Ultimate Sacrifice, a Gospel musical opening at the Panasonic Theatre June 25.TORONTO - As an actor, Michelle Lopez is accustomed to a theatre ensemble circling to practise lines, but before joining the cast of The Ultimate Sacrifice she’d never encountered an entire theatre group gathering for a lively half-hour prayer before and after rehearsals.

Those sessions are just one reason Lopez calls her role in the Gospel musical a blessing.

Lorraine Williams' two vocations

Lorraine WilliamsMARKHAM, Ont. - If Marshall McLuhan says you ought to be on the left bank of the Seine writing, perhaps you should book a trip to Paris and buy a leather-bound notebook. But that’s not what Lorraine Williams did after her famous English professor told her he thought she might have a career as a writer.

Not that she didn’t appreciate McLuhan’s encouragement of her very young self as she sipped wine at a reception following graduation from Toronto’s University of St. Michael’s College in 1953.

Adding puzzling mystery to Jesus' story

The Good Man Jesus and The Scoundrel ChristThe Good Man Jesus and The Scoundrel Christ, by Philip Pullman (Knopf, 256 pages, hardcover, $27.)

Well-known authors have tried to retell the Jesus story in fictional form over the last few decades. Some, like C.S. Lewis in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, used a highly imaginative and metaphorical setting. Nikos Kazantzakis with his very earthy Jesus in The Last Temptation of Christ and Anne Rice with her recent and much more prosaic rendering in the Christ The Lord series both chose a literal retelling of the Gospel.