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.

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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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OTTAWA - The Holy Father may have moved to his summer residence at Castel Gandolfo, but that has not stopped announcements of new episcopal appointments as the Catholic Church in Canada enjoys the dog days of summer.

On July 16, the Pope also accepted the resignation of Keewatin-Le Pas Archbishop Sylvain Lavoie and appointed Fr. William Stang as apostolic administrator. Stang has been serving as vicar general and chancellor of Keewatin-Le Pas and confirmed that health reasons are the reason behind Lavoie's resignation.

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EDMONTON - Meghan Burnside has been painting proficiently for seven years — about as long as she has been able to speak more than a few words.

The 27-year-old Edmonton artist is autistic and for the first 18 years of her life barely uttered a word. But last month one of her paintings — The Sacred Heart of Jesus — went on display at City Hall after she won first prize in a competition sponsored by Grant MacEwan University.

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EDMONTON - On Feb. 18, Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins will become the first former archbishop of Edmonton to be installed as a cardinal. Collins is no longer “our man,” nor is he the “man” of the St. Paul diocese where his episcopal career began. Nevertheless, we feel some stake in the man and are glad to experience a little of the reflected glory of his appointment.

A little known fact, however, is that Collins will not be the first priest from this archdiocese to wear the red hat. That honour belongs to Cardinal James Charles MacGuigan, archbishop of Toronto from 1934 to 1971, who in 1946 became the first-ever English-speaking Canadian cardinal.

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EDMONTON - Carrying placards against abortion, about 20 people marched in front of Edmonton’s Law Courts Building Jan. 27 to mark the 24th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that threw out Canada’s abortion law.

“Twenty-four years ago, every (abortion) restriction in Canada was struck down by the Supreme Court,” lamented Edmonton Prolife spokesperson Karen Richert. “Abortion in Canada is wide open and is also paid for with your tax dollars.”

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EDMONTON - Catholics from Edmonton are elated to learn their former archbishop has been elevated to the College of Cardinals.

The announcement that Archbishop Thomas Collins, now archbishop of Toronto, will be a cardinal was made at the Vatican Jan. 6.

After serving as archbishop in St. Paul, Alta., Collins was the archbishop in Edmonton from June 1999 to January 2007.

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