Arts

Finding grace in the meal

Paula ButturiniTORONTO - For Paula Butturini, 15 years of continuous tragedies were countered by moments of unexpected grace and solace found in the rituals of preparing and sharing food around the dinner table.

In her book Keeping the Feast: One Couple’s Story of Love, Food and Healing in Italy, published this year by Riverhead Books, Butturini bounces the reader between a series of brutal, gut-wrenching events and peaceful, heartwarming stories that centre around food and fellowship — a gripping story of perseverance and hope.

Cambridge artist's monstrance a gift to Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI accepts a monstranceWhen he was designing a monstrance around the idea of the Holy Trinity a decade go, sculptor Achim Klaas never thought he would be presenting it to the Pope.

But that’s exactly what happened April 21 when Klaas, 59, met Pope Benedict XVI and gave him the monstrance as a gift just days after the official celebration of the Pope’s five-year pontificate.

The Richard family’s love of music, each other, shines on CD

The Richard family`Some jokingly call them the Catholic Von Trapp Family. And there are similarities as Mary and Louis Richard, with their children Nicole, 21, Cecile, 18, Catherine, 15, Daniel, 13, and Anna, 10, do sing together as a family.

The Richards recently produced a CD of their own religious music — composed, arranged, performed and sung by the entire family.

Documentary shows Canadian connection in Peruvian mining conflict

Devil's OperationThe tale of a priest, the devil, a mine and the mine’s private army has hit the Toronto Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival just as Canada is debating whether it should give taxpayer money and government services to mining companies with poor human rights and environmental records outside Canada.

The Devil Operation
, produced and directed by Canadian filmmaker and journalist Stephanie Boyd, adds to a list of recent documentaries that feature a Canadian connection, mining, human rights violations and environmental disaster, including Return to El Salvador, the story of how a protester against a Canadian mine turned up dead, and Under the Rich Earth which explores the use of private paramilitary squads by Canadian mining companies in Ecuador.

Music a big part of Fr. Robbie McDougall's ministry

Fr. Robbie McDougallWhile attending Mass at St. Michael’s Cathedral in Toronto nearly 40 years ago, a renowned concert pianist discovered how he could better use his musical talents for God.

Thirteen years later he would be ordained to the priesthood and for the past 21 years has been leading scores of people across Canada in retreats, parish missions, workshops and Christian concerts.

Fr. Robbie McDougall is a priest based in the Manitoba archdiocese of St. Boniface. He founded a ministry more than 20 years ago to combine his love for sacred music and evangelization.

Convent stay helps shape angel novel

Danielle TrussoniTORONTO - For 132 years, the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration of La Crosse, Wisconsin, have upheld an unbroken practice of perpetual adoration before the Blessed Sacrament.

This Catholic tradition is the unlikely inspiration for acclaimed author Danielle Trussoni’s new action-packed thriller and novel-turned-Hollywood movie Angelology.

Plain and simple, killing is wrong

{mosimage}Autobiography of an Execution, by David R. Dow (Twelve, 320 pages, hard cover, $29.99.)

David Dow may not believe in God, but he does believe in justice, love and compassion — and he certainly has a conscience. A death penalty lawyer, he works in Texas for a non-profit organization that attempts to save inmates from capital punishment.

Dow does not try to save the prisoners because he feels for them personally. In fact, he dislikes most of his clients. But, as he makes very clear, they do not deserve to die, and certainly not through a biased, racist and classist criminal justice system.

A poor man's biblical view of economics

{mosimage}Jesus and Money: A guide for Times of Financial Crisis by Ben Witherington III (Brazos Press, soft cover, 192 pages, $21.99)

Ben Witherington knows Scripture and he might know money, but when he brings the two together he falls short of talking sense.

Witherington brings biblical teaching on money to bear on the current economic crisis in Jesus and Money. Witherington is a well-published Evangelical biblical scholar whose works cover a wide range of scholarly debates, presenting them in accessible ways for lay Christian audiences. In this book, however, Witherington presents an incomplete view of biblical texts on wealth and oversteps the bounds of his expertise as he applies these texts to today’s economy.

This incompleteness is ironic, as Witherington explicitly stakes out his position as a “canonical” approach to the Scriptures. That is, he insists Christians may not pick and choose parts of Scripture that appeal to them while ignoring others. This is precisely the problem with his primary target throughout the book: advocates of the “health and wealth” or “prosperity” Gospel who focus on texts which seem to suggest that material wealth is a sign of God’s blessing.

Salt+Light opens a Rome bureau

TORONTO - The Canadian Catholic television network opened a bureau based in Vatican City on March 19. It is a joint effort of Catholic News Service, the Knights of Columbus, H2O News and Salt + Light.

“Topics of interest to the church and to the world’s faithful pose problems for journalists who are often on deadline, face limits on space and worry about tackling topics deemed taboo,” said Fr. Thomas Rosica, CEO of Salt + Light. “We hope our efforts in Rome will help people read beyond the headlines.”

A seraphic look at the single life

{mosimage}TORONTO - Determined to stay faithful to Catholic teachings and still enjoy the single life, Catholic Register columnist Dorothy Cummings McLean started a blog at the age of 35 on how to be single and stay seraphic.

A selection of those blog posts from her last year of studies at Boston College are now featured in Seraphic Singles: How I Learned to stop Worrying and Love the Single Life, released by Novalis in March.

Regis College's new homes welcomes its first art show

{mosimage}TORONTO - Artist Catherine Crowe stood quietly, contemplating three of fellow painter Galina Oussatcheva's icons hanging in the lobby of Regis College, and then pronounced, "These are spectacular."

In front of another stretch of wall Jesuit scholastic Trevor Scott was inspecting sculptor Farhad Nargol-O'Neill's 14 compressed and complex stations of the cross, and was very pleased.

Repo Men shows how capitalism is a part of us

{mosimage}A certain kind of reviewer, many of them working for the religious press, is going to object to Repo Men because of all the blood and swearing. As if morality consisted of a list of banned words and bodily fluids.

Catholics know morality has nothing to do with purity codes or legalisms. When legalists (sometimes Pharisees and sometimes Scribes) confronted Jesus over purity issues (ceremonial washing before meals), His response was derisive.

Artist Galina Oussatchevafaith enlightened through iconography

{mosimage}TORONTO - There’s an art to looking at eternity, but figuring that out wasn’t easy for 29-year-old Russian-Canadian iconographer Galina Oussatcheva.

Oussatcheva grew up in communist and post-communist Moscow at a time when Russian society was still phobic about religion and as secularized and post-Christian as any capital in Western Europe. She first saw Russian icon painting when she was 10 years old, on a class trip to the Cathedral of the Dormition of Mary in the Kremlin.