EDMONTON – Priests wear collars, friars wear habits, and the Cross Bearers, well, they wear black leather vests.

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EDMONTON – Archbishop Richard Smith doesn’t know if Pope Francis is coming to Canada but he is convinced the Pope has been deeply affected by the testimonies of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

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REGINA – Few people are as polarizing in Canadian society today as is Omar Khadr, the Canadian child soldier who spent most of his teen years and early 20s imprisoned in the notorious Guantanamo Bay prison reserved for the Islamic terrorists the United States deems the greatest threat to the nation.

Published in Canada
September 29, 2016

A call to serve

When he received an unexpected call in June and learned Pope Francis planned to make him a bishop, Fr. Robert Kasun figured someone had made a big mistake. Those doubts endured right up to his Sept. 12 ordination in Edmonton.

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EDMONTON – Call Basilian Father Bob Kasun a most reluctant bishop.

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EDMONTON – A smiling St. Joseph's College employee poked her head around Danica Wolitski's door and said, "We've got another family with three children."

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EDMONTON – The gang at EnviroClean Drycleaners in downtown Fort McMurray sticks together.

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EDMONTON – Pope Francis has added his name to the list of people offering prayers for Canadians affected by the massive wildfires that have led to the evacuation of Fort McMurray.

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ST. PAUL, ALTA. – Neighbouring dioceses are stepping up to help the thousands who have been displaced by the catastrophic wildfire threatening the very existence of Fort McMurray, Alta.

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As firefighters continue the fight to save Fort McMurray from a wildfire that is threatening to consume the entire northern Alberta city, it is feared that St. Paul Church is one of the city’s structures that has been lost to flames.

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EDMONTON – The spectre of assisted suicide is leading aging people to "fear an institution that should be the last thing they should ever fear — a hospital," said Edmonton Archbishop Richard Smith.

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VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis has formally approved the Canadian delegates to October's world Synod of Bishops on the family.

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EDMONTON - With a wide smile on his face, Cardinal Thomas Collins cut the red ribbon declaring the new Cardinal Collins High School Academic Centre officially open. 

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EDMONTON  - Matthew Hysell became deaf after contracting spinal meningitis when he was 18 months old. He lives in a mostly silent world, but those who know Hysell describe him as a good listener, someone who pays attention to their concerns.

Published in Canada

EDMONTON - The Catholic Women’s League of Canada, in partnership with the Sisters of Service of Toronto, is setting up a $1-million private charitable foundation to train women in leadership in the Church and in society.

As part of their legacy, the Sisters of Service are giving $500,000 to begin the foundation which will train about 24 women a year.

The CWL has vowed to match the Sisters’ donation. At its 92nd annual national convention in Edmonton, the CWL voted to take $100,000 from its treasury to get the foundation rolling and to raise the remaining $400,000 from donations across Canada.

Outgoing national president Velma Harasen made the announcement at a news conference Aug. 15, just hours before she completed her two-year term.

“We feel there is a real need to speak up for our Christian values and therefore be out there in the community, on school boards, on hospital boards, on parish councils and in society at large,” she said.

“This will hopefully help our women be a little more empowered to speak up and feel a bit more confident to do that. So with the blessing of the convention, we will proceed with this charitable foundation.”

The CWL has worked in partnership with the Sisters of Service since the 1920s. Today, only 20 Sisters of Service remain in Canada and the youngest is 78. The congregation was established to help meet the spiritual and social needs of immigrants settling in rural areas of the Canadian Prairies.

“So they are planning for their future when they are no longer with us,” said Harasen.

A board of directors will run the foundation, which will be incorporated and therefore able to ask for donations and issue tax receipts, noted president Betty Anne Brown Davidson of Wellington, Ont., who took over the reins of the CWL following the news conference.

“The foundation will be separate from the league and will have a totally separate board,” she said. It should be up and running in about a year.

At the convention, delegates also approved a resolution urging the federal government “to strongly enforce the criminalization of the purchase of sexual services.” Also approved was a resolution urging the government to provide for an extra 15 weeks of Employment Insurance benefits for adoptive mothers.  

The convention also approved two motions to send letters to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and opposition parties on social justice issues.  One letter opposes the federal government’s funding cuts to faith-based development agencies; the other expresses concern about poor living conditions on First Nations reserves.

The Aug. 15 closing Mass at St. Joseph’s Basilica was offered for the repose of the soul of Fr. Joseph Christenson, spiritual advisor for the CWL in Halifax-Yarmouth. Christenson died suddenly while attending the convention.

(Western Catholic Reporter)

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Charles Lewis: The papal office deserves a defence 

"I believed that criticism of the papacy was a sport for non-Catholics or perhaps disgruntled Catholics who were always at odds with Church teachings. Then a few things happened," Charles Lewis writes.

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