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Published in Canada

Missed our coverage of Pope Francis' trip to Fatima for the 100th anniversary of the Marian apparitions? Click here to check them out.

Published in Features

Students at St. Augustine School in Regina were abuzz in the fall of 1960 when we learned a priest was coming who would reveal a secret message from the Virgin Mary.

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NEW YORK CITY, N.Y. – One day before the May 13 celebration marking the 100th anniversary of the Fatima apparitions, a statue of Our Lady of Fatima will be visiting the United Nations.

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WARSAW, Poland – As preparations get underway for this year's 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, the country's small Catholic Church is keeping a low profile.

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TORONOTO – For Michael McGouran, attending the 100th anniversary of Toronto’s St. Monica Catholic School this month is much more than a pleasant trip down memory lane.

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MONTREAL – As the 100th anniversary approaches of the death of “Good Fr. Frédéric,” Franciscans are rallying to have Pope Francis finally declare Frederic Janssoone a saint.

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TORONTO - A century ago, the faces of Irish immigrants dominated the congregation at St. Ann’s parish.

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Some called it “The Great War.” Others called it “The War to End All Wars.” History proves it was neither.

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BERLIN - As the world marks the 100th anniversary of the First World War, Germany's Catholic bishops urged efforts to overcome "destructive self- interest" and acknowledged the shared guilt of churches for the conflict, which left 16 million dead.

Published in International

TORONTO - Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Toronto has begun celebrations of its 100th anniversary.

The organization functions as an umbrella charity for Catholic social service agencies in the province of Ontario. In it’s inaugural year the charitable organization funded eight agencies, a number that has since grown to 29 serving about 250,000 people.

“We make a real positive difference in the lives of people,” said Michael Fullan, Catholic Charities’ executive director for the past 19 years. “Often when there isn’t hope we help to re-instill that ... hope.”

These agencies include Providence Healthcare, Covenant House Toronto and Natural Family Planning Association. Among those who benefit from these agencies are impoverished youth, the elderly and those suffering from illness ranging from disabilities to substance abuse issues.

“Those most at risk of falling through the cracks of the service agencies is typically where the Catholic agencies have been responding,” said Fullan. “(They’re) the most vulnerable in society.”

Currently Catholic Charities injects about $8.5 million into the province’s social service network. While most of the money comes from ShareLife, Fullan said a lot of outside funding comes as a result of Catholic Charities’ contributions.

“Our funding is like a catalyst to attracting other funding,” he said. “Governments and other funders recognize the contributions that the Catholic agencies make.”

During his speech at the 33rd Annual Cardinal’s Dinner on Oct. 11, Toronto’s Cardinal Thomas Collins made a point of acknowledging the milestone year for the organization started a century ago by then Archbishop Neil McNeil.

“When it comes to helping others, whether it is those suffering from a natural disaster across the ocean, or those closer to home, faith-based organizations are the first in and last out,” said Collins, adding that centenary celebrations will culminate with a special Mass next September.

Collins praised both the agencies supported by Catholic Charities and parishioners whose donations make the agencies’ work possible.

But Catholic Charities is more than a money allocator.

“Catholic Charities historically had a direct contribution to the development of the present universal health care system in this country,” said Fullan. “That’s something that we should be very proud of.”

That kind of government lobbying continues today, although the area of attention has shifted. Catholic Charities is currently attempting to have the government address child poverty, affordable housing and social service funding.

“We’re trying on the systematic level to make changes that need to happen,” said Fullan. “We’re making some people expendable in our culture and there’s something very wrong with that.”

What the next 100 years will look like for Catholic Charities is unclear to Fullan. What he does know is that demands will change, as always, and Catholic Charities will respond, as always.

Published in Canada: Toronto-GTA