VATICAN CITY - Team sports such as soccer can educate participants and spectators in important values, including self-sacrifice and respect for one's adversaries, Pope Benedict XVI said in a message to participants in the European Championships soccer tournament.

Group sporting events, he said, are "an important school for educating one in the meaning of respect for others -- including the opposing team -- the spirit of personal sacrifice for the good of the whole group," and in the importance of recognizing the talents and skills of each person on a team.

Published in International

MISSISSAUGA, ONT. - To connect and give back to their school’s founders, Grade 12 students at Holy Name of Mary College School travelled to Krakow, Poland, where the Felician Sisters have a strong community.

From April 25 to May 3, nine students from the Mississauga, Ont., school volunteered at three institutions run by the sisters,  soup kitchen, a kindergarten class and a home for the elderly.

“The sisters showed a really transparent joy and love in the name of Jesus,” said Jim McLevey, Grade 12 religion teacher and chaplain. “I was overwhelmed by them and it caught us off guard. The students were really overwhelmed by the beauty of what the sisters are doing and who they are.”

Published in Youth Speak News

MICHIGAN CITY, Ind. - The issues surrounding the preservation of long-established parishes and the preservation of ethnic traditions are not all that different.

During the awards dinner of the 23rd annual Polish American Priests Association convention in Michigan City April 19, Father Czeslaw Krysa of the Diocese of Buffalo, N.Y., talked about the challenges facing Polonia in America and the impact that challenge is having on the Catholic Church and ethnic neighborhoods.

Published in Features

MELROSE, ONT. - Ordinarily committed to a prayerful life of service to others, 46-year-old Fr. Andrew Kowalczyk has clearly had to step outside of his comfort zone this past year as he has endeavoured to make the work of the Michaelite Fathers better known. 

Kowalczyk is the provincial of the Canadian delegation of the Poland-based Congregation of St. Michael the Archangel and has been organizing the triple jubilee celebrations the order observes this year.

Published in Vatican

TORONTO - The Our Lady of Sorrows Chorale and Ecumenical choirs will lift their voices in song April 15 in a memorial concert for the 72nd anniversary of the Katyn Massacre and the second anniversary of the Smolensk tragedy in Poland.

“Music is a force that can bind people or tear them apart,” said Gordon Mansell, music director and organist for Our Lady of Sorrows parish and concert organizer. “It is a language that transcends all others and its meaning can forge close ties and bridge cultures. When great sorrow is experienced, it is the sighs of humanity that call our attention to action. 

Published in Arts News

WARSAW, Poland - A prominent victim of clerical sex abuse has rejected the Polish church's stance that it is following a zero-tolerance policy toward priests and offers moral support for victims.

Ewa Orlowska, whose book about her ordeal, "I Accused a Priest," was published in 2008, charged that the church is holding "victims up to ridicule" while "behaving as if nothing has happened."

Published in International

WARSAW, Poland - The spokesman for the Polish bishops' conference defended its handling of sexual abuse accusations against Catholic clergy as the bishops prepared to adopt guidelines on the issue.

"The church is the only institution in Poland systematically dealing with this -- no one else is," said Father Jozef Kloch, conference spokesman. "Although we're being used as a whipping boy, we know from data there's a much lower incidence of pedophilia among Catholic priests than clergy from other denominations, as well as teachers, home care employees, sports coaches and, unfortunately, parents and relatives."

Published in International