Arts

Film remembers beloved son, soldier Marc Diab

Trooper Marc DiabTORONTO - He was a beloved son, youth leader and Canadian soldier who wore his faith and patriotism proudly as he served in Afghanistan.

So much so that a rosary was found inside the helmet he wore that was recovered after the roadside blast that took his life last year.

On Remembrance Day, the story of Trooper Marc Diab will serve as an “active remembrance” of the sacrifice of all Canadian soldiers, says the director of a new documentary about Diab and the impact of his death upon his family.

Fr. Lewis aims to connect Scripture with people in the pews

Father Scott LewisTORONTO - Members of the Holy Rosary parish choir in Burlington, Ont., really need Jesuit Father Scott Lewis’s new book, if only to clear the clutter of old programs piling up at home.

Music director Vicky Chen has been reprinting Lewis’s weekly Catholic Register column about the Sunday readings on the back of her weekly music programs for years. A former student in Lewis’s Scripture classes at Regis College, Chen feels the column gives choir members a context for the hymns and songs they sing Sunday mornings.

Young singer to debut new pro-life song

Carly TaylorMilton, Ont. - At the age of 14, Carly Taylor already had her self-titled country music album in stores. At 16, she is now preparing for the release of her second album, Delirious. And on Nov. 5, Taylor will be debuting a new pro-life song at Halton Pro-Life’s 2010 Respect Life Fundraising Banquet in Oakville, Ont.  

“It’s actually a song that my sister wrote,” said Taylor, a Grade 11 student at Milton, Ont.’s Bishop Reding High School. “I’m very excited to sing it.”

Suffering, death, survival, history and fiction interwined

The Queen of UnforgettingThe Queen of Unforgetting by Sylvia Maultash Warsh (Cormorant Books Inc., 284 pages, $21).

The Queen of Unforgetting is a masterfully written book, with an engaging protagonist and a thought-provoking exploration of the themes of suffering, death and survival. It is well worth the read.

As the child of Holocaust survivors, Sylvia Maultash Warsh grew up listening to her mother’s stories of fleeing from the Nazis in Poland and surviving the horrors of the labour camps. These stories sparked Warsh’s interest in history — an interest that has shaped her fiction. To date, she has written three well-received historical mystery novels. In her fourth novel, The Queen of Unforgetting, she departs from the mystery genre with great success.

Only justice will bring Mideast peace

Jerusalem TestamentJerusalem Testament by Melanie A. May (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 190 pages, softcover, $24.99).

Ecumenical statements can be dry. Words of consensus crafted by many minds, from many different traditions, are thoughtful, often insightful, but can lack the emotion that comes from one voice. Not so in Jerusalem Testament, a compilation of 20 years of statements from Palestinian Christian leaders. Their emotion is palpable.

As the narrative winds through the events of the Holy Land between 1988 and 2008, and progress towards peace rises and falls, an array of feelings come through: anguish at the lives destroyed, joy at glimmers of possibility, frustration at calls unanswered, determination to persevere. What also comes through is a sense of steadfast hope, a firm and deep faith in the child Jesus, who was born in the Bethlehem of their struggle.

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.