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.

October 10, 2008

Remembering St. Francis

{mosimage}TORONTO - Franciscans have been remembering the death of St. Francis for nearly 900 years, and it’s still a family affair, said Franciscans of all kinds who gathered at St. Bonaventure Church in Toronto for the Transitus Oct. 3.

Celebrated by Franciscans around the world on the eve of the Feast of St. Francis, the Transitus liturgy re-enacts and remembers St. Francis’ passing from this world.
{mosimage}TORONTO - If people of faith are serious about peace, they ought to be serious enough to read, understand and promote the United Nations’ doctrine for promoting peace in the post-9/11 world, retired senator and former United Church moderator Lois Wilson told an interfaith gathering at the University of Toronto Oct. 7.

“We have social and political responsibilities,” Wilson insisted to a small group that included imams, rabbis, priests, ministers and scholars of world religions gathered for a conference on “Religions’ Role in Keeping Peace: Responses to A Common Word Between Us and You.”
{mosimage}TORONTO - Women’s work is good work, it’s the work of faith and sometimes it involves power tools.

More than 30 women of all faiths came together to do one of the toughest, dirtiest jobs in house construction at a Habitat for Humanity site in the Beaches neighbourhood of Toronto Oct. 16. They put up vapour barriers and drywall in six units on Kingston Road near Main Street.
{mosimage}TORONTO - While bishop after bishop at the recently wrapped up Synod of Bishops on Scripture has decried the state of preaching in the church, Dominican Sister Mary Catherine Hilkert argues church leaders are ignoring a potential gold mine of superior preaching.

At the annual Dominican Family Justice Seminar at the University of Toronto’s Newman Centre Chapel, Hilkert said bishops should commission lay people to preach at parish Masses. A former president of the Catholic Theological Society of America, Hilkert led a small group in two days of discussion about the charism of preaching and how it is exercised in the church Oct. 17-18. It was the ninth annual Dominican Justice Seminar in Toronto.
{mosimage}TORONTO - James Douglas calls himself one of the Good Shepherd Centre’s success stories, and it’s hard to argue with the man.

More than three years ago he arrived in Toronto with too much money in his wallet and a thirst much deeper than his pockets. The money was from an insurance settlement. He had left Los Angeles looking for a connection with his family, hoping for a new start. What he found was the downtown bars and soon realized just trading Toronto for Los Angeles wasn’t going to change his life. He had been drinking long enough to know it was the one constant.
{mosimage}TORONTO - Poverty ought to motivate Christians to decisive action in good times and bad, 1,700 diners heard from politicians and prelates at the 29th annual Cardinal's Dinner in Toronto, Oct. 30.

It was the night before Halloween, but the speakers were betting that donors might already be spooked.
{mosimage}TORONTO - It’s been three years since Jim Loney narrowly escaped from Baghdad with his life. He marked the occasion with a book launch Nov. 26 which gathered dozens of people who had prayed and worked for his release.

Kidnappers held Loney and three other members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams captive four months, until an international military operation sprang them March 23, 2006. By then one of the four captives, American Tom Fox, had been killed by the Swords of Righteousness Brigade, a previously unknown group.

{mosimage}TORONTO - While the bitter politics of confrontation between mainly Jewish supporters of Israel and mainly Palestinian supporters of Hamas continued to play out in demonstrations in Toronto, Christians, Jews and Muslims came together at the Noor Cultural Centre to pray for peace Jan. 9.

Rabbis and imams were on the same page praying for the children, the innocent and even the fighters, as well as for a speedy and just solution to the Gaza conflict which erupted just after Christmas and has claimed about 1,000 lives, mostly Palestinians.

{mosimage}TORONTO - As millions converged on Washington to see Barack Obama swear the oath of office and begin a new chapter in black history Jan. 20, schools and parishes in Toronto were preparing for a month of celebrations to commemorate African-Canadian contributions to Canada and the world.

Even if Black History Month or African Heritage Month are annual events with a history stretching back to the 1920s in the United States, the inauguration of the first black president of the United States makes this year special.

{mosimage}TORONTO - After two days of protest that brought as many as 45,000 Tamils out into the streets of Toronto Jan. 30-31, the Tamils were ready to pray.

As the 26-year-old civil war in Sri Lanka enters a new and dangerous showdown, Toronto’s 100,000-plus Tamil community is in distress over the fate of civilians trapped in the fighting and a government offensive against Tamil communities they call “genocide.”