Arts

Praising God in song

{mosimage}MISSISSAUGA, Ont. - The 19th International Festival of Religious Song in Mississauga will bring both professional and amateur performances to the stage in competitions this year.

The festival, originally started by members of the Polish Catholic community and promoted by Catholic Radio Toronto, is meant to encourage musical talent, especially for use in praising God. The new professional category this year will provide a place for more established Catholic musicians to compete, whereas everyone previously competed on the same level.

In community we find home

{mosimage}Beyond Homelessness: Christian Faith in a Culture of Displacement by Steven Bouma-Prediger and Brian J. Walsh (Wm.B. Eerdman’s Publishing, softcover, $27.99).

Stone by stone, as he laboured to build his summer house on Lake Geneva, the Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung came to recognize that home — with its design, rooms, windows, corners and doors — mirrored the human psyche, with all its needs, shadows and spiritual longings. Home is foundational to individual identity and therefore acknowledged as one of our universal human rights.

Gratitude keeps our society human

{mosimage}TORONTO - Margaret Visser is much too civilized to tell about the incident which sparked her new book, The Gift of Thanks: The Roots, Persistence and Paradoxical Meanings of a Social Ritual.

“There is a story, but I’m not telling it because it’s so horrible,” she told The Catholic Register.

Creation through Franciscan eyes

{mosimage}Care for Creation: A Franciscan Spirituality of the Earth by Ilia Delio, O.S.F, Keith Douglas Warner, O.F.M., and Pamela Wood (St. Anthony Messenger Press, 226 pages, softcover, $18.95).

This book made me nervous, but also had me excited. My Franciscan community has studied and reflected on cosmic theology and eco-spirituality this past year in preparation for our general chapter this month. Through it all, there was for me a need to maintain a sound doctrinal understanding of our faith as Roman Catholic religious.

Salt+Light documents cardinal's struggle

The compelling story of a charismatic Vietnamese church leader imprisoned for 13 years has evolved into documentary form.

In Road of Hope: The Spiritual Journey of Cardinal Nguyen Van Thuan, Salt + Light Television writer/director David Naglieri unfolds the gripping events that surrounded the cardinal’s life using vivid photos, rare archival footage and interviews with friends and family.

New college to combine arts with spirituality

{mosimage}Living Water College brands itself as the only school of its kind in North America, offering an education combining faith, reason and the arts.

While it plans to officially open its doors next summer, Jeff Gardner, the college’s director of development, said the college is being bombarded with calls from interested students around the world.

Seeing beyond Africa’s problems

{mosimage}African Saints, African Stories: 40 Holy Men and Women by Camille Lewis Brown (St. Anthony Messenger Press, 145 pages, softcover, $14.95).

With good reason, the continent of Africa is often at the centre of Catholic debates pertaining to world affairs and global politics. The haunting shadows of the Rwanda genocide and present realities in places like Darfur and Congo are a constant challenge to the Christian conscience and test the boundaries of our own charity.

Art for AIDS

{mosimage}LONDON, Ont. - When Ontario high school kids get an art lesson from internationally collected, veteran professional artist Hendrikus Bervoets they don’t learn about form, colour, composition and balance.

“We deal with all kinds of social justice issues,” Boervoets told The Catholic Register as he was setting up a new gallery for student work in downtown London, Ont.

Monks corner 'soul' music market

{mosimage}TORONTO - They shoot hoops, surf the Internet and sing Gregorian chants. And they count Pope Benedict XVI as one of their fans.

You could say this group of Austrian monks isn’t your average musical sensation. Their CD Chant: Music for the Soul has rocked the charts in Canada and around the world. During the first month of its Canadian debut in July, the CD ranked second behind Josh Grobin in the Nielsen Canadian SoundScan joint classical cross-over chart. And at one point, it even surpassed pop music powerhouses like Madonna and Amy Winehouse on Britain’s top 10 list.

Salt+Light takes top TV station award

TORONTO - Canada’s Salt+Light Television has won a 2008 Gabriel Award from the U.S. Catholic Academy for Communication Arts Professionals, which cited the network’s “value-centred view of society and humanity.”

Dialogue is one way

{mosimage}Feminist Theology with a Canadian Accent, edited by Mary Ann Beavis, Elaine Guillemin and Barbara Pell (Novalis, softcover, 444 pages, $34.95).

With the Catholic Church refusing to ordain women or even entertain the idea, feminists and the church have entered into a longstanding non-meeting of the minds. Because of this deadlock, dialogue has turned to monologue, a sad reality reflected in the pages of Feminist Theology with a Canadian Accent, a collection of 19 essays by Canadian feminist theologians and scholars.

Fr. Joe offers a cautionary tale to would-be missionaries

{mosimage}The Gospel of Father Joe: Revolutions and Revelations in the Slums of Bangkok by Greg Barrett (Jossey-Bass, 336 pages, hardcover, $28.99 list)

The missionary tradition in the Catholic Church is centuries old. Missionaries left their own homelands to do good works and spread Christianity in far away places — most notably Africa, Asia and Latin American countries. Not all missionaries went to the poorer countries of the Third World. They figure prominently in colonial history in the North as well. In our country, missionaries had quite an impact on aboriginal peoples, as we were recently reminded during Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s apology to residential school survivors.

Movie tackles doubt, hope, despair and faith without sentimentality

{mosimage}It's not often that an explicitly Christian movie, indeed an explicitly Catholic one, escapes the toxic treacle of sentimentality and nostalgia or the pompous pedantry of polemics. Henry Poole is Here tackles miracles, faith, hope, doubt, despair and the difference Christ makes in real lives with straightforward honesty, intelligence and heart.

It's a good movie.