Michael Swan, The Catholic Register

Michael Swan, The Catholic Register

Michael is Associate Editor of The Catholic Register.

He is an award-winning writer and photographer and holds a Master of Arts degree from New York University.

Follow him on Twitter @MmmSwan, or click here to email him.

Bed bugsTORONTO - Aaron Lewis loves to see the smile on the faces of people when he’s done steaming and vacuuming their apartments. He knows that what he does helps people sleep a little easier.

“We make their life a bit more joyful,” he said.

Lewis forms part of a Good Shepherd CARES crew that prepares apartments for pesticide treatments that eliminate bed bugs and cockroaches. Without the intense and detailed cleaning they provide — steaming, vacuuming, overturning tables, chairs and beds and sealing up openings around phone jacks, cable and electrical outlets, laundering all the clothes and sheets, etc. — the mere application of chemicals won’t eliminate the pests.

Getting all that cleaning done for somebody who can’t do it by themselves makes Lewis feel proud and satisfied with a job well done.
CaravaggioTORONTO - There is no cause for sainthood for Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. The painter who gave birth to baroque art was a scoundrel.  

A brilliant virtuoso with a paintbrush, Caravaggio was dangerous with a sword. He paraded about Rome with his weapon at his side and brawled frequently. In 1606 he killed a man. He was himself dead in 1610 at the age of 38.

But no one can claim to understand Caravaggio without understanding his religious world, the spirituality of his times and theological currents coursing through the Church during the Counter Reformation.

More saintly men have painted much less compelling theology than Caravaggio.
Lois WilsonTORONTO - If Scripture is a guide, the measure of Canada as a Christian country may be the nation’s immigration and refugee policies, the Very Rev. Lois Wilson told a couple dozen people gathered at the University of Toronto’s Newman Centre chapel Feb. 1.

Wilson was lecturing as part of the Jesuit-sponsored Naming the Holy series at the Newman Centre. Under the title “Who is my neighbour? Immigration, citizenship and refugees,” Wilson pointed out how “the alien, the orphan and the widow” are “just all over the Scriptures.”

Old Testament law regarding treatment of aliens, orphans and widows establishes the importance of the individual in Western culture and law, said Wilson. In the New Testament Jesus Himself is an outsider who scandalously communicates with other outsiders — Samaritans, women, lepers, etc.

St. John BibleTORONTO - You don’t often get to see a Wicked Bible. There aren’t many of them left. That’s because King Charles I ordered them all burned.

The Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library of the University of Toronto has a Wicked Bible on display until June 3, along with dozens of other rare and fascinating Bibles.

The 1631 Wicked Bible contained perhaps the most famous typo in the history of the English language. In Exodus 22:14 a compositor left out the word “not,” leaving the commandment to read, “Thou shalt commit adultery.”

But there’s much more than giggles to the exhibition “Great and Manifold: A Celebration of the Bible in English.” The Bibles on display span just over a millennium, ranging from an 11th century Greek New Testament from Constantinople bearing the name “Torontoensis” to an illuminated Book of Psalms in English produced over the last decade by calligraphers and artists under the direction of Benedictine monks in Collegeville, Minnesota.

Pinned to the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, “Great and Manifold” is a compact epic journey through the history of English language, politics, spirituality and culture as it relates to this one book.

Walter KellyTORONTO - Sgt. Ryan Russell didn’t go to church on Sunday, and despite his Catholic baptism had no fixed address as a Christian. But he wore a St. Michael’s medallion and kept a copy of the Policeman’s Prayer in his hat.

With that, Toronto Police Service head chaplain Walter Kelly knew Ryan’s funeral should proclaim the Gospel and comfort the bereaved with Christian hope.

Sgt. Russell’s mother, Linda, helped Kelly decide to base his funeral sermon on the Sermon on the Mount, culminating in the Golden Rule. She told Kelly, “Yeah, that’s it. From a child on, he was always a giver — always sensitive to other people ahead of himself.”

Close to 13,000 police, firefighters and EMS workers crowded the Toronto Convention Centre for Sgt. Russell’s funeral Jan. 18. Hundreds of citizens lined the streets as police marched down University Avenue. The police came from across the country to pay tribute to the 35-year-old officer killed Jan. 12 by a stolen snow plow. His death leaves a grieving wife and a two-year-old son.
TORONTO - We can't have unity without penance, or conversion, or forgiveness, or the Holy Spirit, Auxiliary Bishop William McGrattan told about 200 people gathered for Evensong at Toronto's St. James Anglican Cathedral Jan. 23.

The traditional Anglican version of the evening and night prayers of the Divine Office included music from the 16th through the 20th centuries by the Choir of St. James Cathedral and members of the St. Michael's Choir School. Prayers were offered by representatives of the Catholic Eastern rite churches, Protestant churches, Orthodox churches and Anglicans.

TORONTO - Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins will meet with abuse victims and lead a penitential service in the course of a two-week visit to the archdiocese of Cashel and Emly in Ireland.

Collins’ apostolic visit to Ireland, which began Jan. 13, was mandated by Pope Benedict XVI’s March 19, 2010 pastoral letter to the Catholics of Ireland. Along with Collins’ visit to Cashel and Emly, Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, S.J., has visited the archdiocese of Tuam, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, archbishop emeritus of Westminster, England, will visit Armagh and Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley is visiting Dublin. The program of apostolic visitation to Ireland also includes a trip by New York’s Archbishop Timothy Dolan to Ireland’s seminaries, and a delegation of religious visiting the religious orders.

Collins will lead a penitential service in the Cathedral of the Assumption in Thurles on Jan. 16 at 3 p.m. Thurles is about an hour-and-a-half drive west of Dublin.
 
All of the apostolic visitors to Ireland will meet with victims, with a particular emphasis on meeting individuals and families.

TORONTO - Toronto’s Catholic Copts are just as worried as their Orthodox brethren about Internet threats of an Al Qaeda operation in North America.

The much larger Coptic Orthodox community has initiated meetings with police to discuss security in the wake of a New Year’s Eve bombing in Alexandria, Egypt, that killed 21 and wounded about 100. Fr. Bishoy Y Anis of Toronto’s Holy Family Coptic Catholic Church, however, is just as worried about the safety of the 250 to 300 families in his Catholic parish.

“Now I don’t think there is empty talk,” Bishoy told The Catholic Register. “They talked before in Alexandria and they did it. They talked in Iraq and they did it. They talked in Nigeria and they did it.”

Though the archdiocese of Toronto has yet to receive a request for additional security from the Coptic parish (without a bishop of its own, Toronto’s Catholic Copts fall under the authority of the Roman rite archbishop), it plans to provide Holy Family with whatever security may be necessary.
TORONTO

Toronto’s Catholic Copts are just as worried as their Orthodox brethren about Internet threats of an Al Qaeda operation in North America.

The much larger Coptic Orthodox community has initiated meetings with police to discuss security in the wake of a New Year’s Eve bombing in Alexandria, Egypt, that killed 21 and wounded about 100. Fr. Bishoy Y Anis of Toronto’s Holy Family Coptic Catholic Church, however, is just as worried about the safety of the 250 to 300 families in his Catholic parish.
TORONTO - Toronto agencies that teach new immigrants English and help them find their first job in Canada will be forced to close their doors or significantly curtail services to accommodate a $53-million nationwide cut in funding, say local Liberal MPs.

This could mean churches and other community groups may have to take up the slack and provide these services on an ad hoc, volunteer basis, Toronto Liberal MP Gerard Kennedy told The Catholic Register.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney told the CBC cuts to Toronto settlement agencies are necessary because Toronto is now receiving fewer immigrants, as the share of immigrants landing in the western and Atlantic provinces increases.