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.

{mosimage}TORONTO - There are more than 400,000 priests in the world, and that number has been slowly rising since 2000, according to the Vatican yearbook Annuario Pontificio. But do such big numbers relieve the anxiety of Catholics in North America and Europe who see an aging and dwindling priesthood manning the altars?
With more than 100 men in Toronto currently studying for the priesthood, perhaps local Catholics have become too used to gloomy forecasts.
{mosimage}TORONTO - The Good Shepherd Centre has cancelled lunch and dinner under pressure from another big jump in homeless and near-homeless people on its doorstep. From now on the centre will serve one meal a day between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.

The new serving hours are not a cutback, but rather an attempt to serve more meals to more clients in response to a crush of new needs.

Good Shepherd Ministries executive director Br. David Lynch of the Little Brothers of the Good Shepherd isn’t sure he can attribute a 25-per-cent increase in demand for meals to the deteriorating economy. He finds more immediate and concrete reasons for the lengthening lineup outside the Good Shepherd’s Queen Street East door.


{mosimage}TORONTO - Five-hundred years ago it seemed the Gutenberg revolution had shut down the scriptoriums for good. Since the advent of printing presses there was no more need for Benedictine monks to labour over parchment with quills and inks.
 
Today there are 500-million copies of the Bible sold every year. In English alone there are dozens of translations. The Bible is available for free on the Internet, but  there are also high-priced, leather-bound editions with copious notes, maps and timelines.
What would be the point of producing a hand-written Bible on parchment in seven volumes — at a cost of nearly $6 million?
 
{mosimage}TORONTO - Religions and religious people need to claim their right to contribute to society in both words and actions, Archbishop Thomas Collins told an audience of Jews and Christians gathered for the 23rd annual Neighbourhood Interfaith Group dinner April 23.

In the north Toronto synagogue of the Adath Israel Congregation, Collins urged Christians and Jews not to accept a marginal role in secular society.

“We are citizens and have more than earned our right to contribute to the democratic conversation,” the Toronto archbishop said.


TORONTO - Toronto’s large Tamil Catholic community is grateful for the $600,000 the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace has sent to Caritas Sri Lanka, but wants the church in Canada to do more.

The Jaffna-based arm of Caritas, the international Catholic relief organization, will use the Development and Peace money to aid at least 170,000 internally displaced refugees in government-run camps. Many Toronto Tamils have family trapped in the camps in wartorn Sri Lanka and are asking for more spiritual and material solidarity from the church in Canada.

{mosimage}TORONTO - There happens to be a recession going on and the Toronto Area Interfaith Council thinks the city’s churches, mosques, synagogues and temples ought to be doing something about it.

At the third annual TAIC breakfast with Toronto’s mayor, the interfaith council unveiled a program to encourage faith communities to collect food for food banks and to open pathways to employment, social services and housing through the 211 system.


{mosimage}TORONTO - As 10,000 Tamils gathered on University Avenue to mourn their unknown dead with a candlelit vigil, the Tamil Catholic Community of Toronto swung into action to launch a campaign to raise $100,000 to help hundreds of thousands of internally displaced refugees scattered in government-run "welfare centres. "At the same time the Canadian Jesuits International have launched their own campaign to raise $100,000 for Tamil refugees. And the Canadian Council of Churches is demanding that Canada pressure Sri Lanka to allow open and free access to refugee camps for aid workers and the press.

Jude Aloysius of the Tamil Catholic Community believes all kinds of Canadians will get behind efforts to help refugees in Sri Lanka.

"This is outside the political forum," Aloysius said. "Canadians are very much in tune and they are very passionate about helping people who are in need."


{mosimage}TORONTO - A priestly fraternity dedicated to preservation of the pre-Vatican II Tridentine Mass is seeking permission to set up a parish in Toronto.

The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter has proposed to Archbishop Thomas Collins that the order would create a parish served by two priests offering all the sacraments according to the 1962 Missale Romanum. The Toronto personal parish would also serve as a base for the fraternity’s work in the dioceses of St. Catharines and London.


{mosimage}TORONTO - Help for parishes is on its way as the archdiocese of Toronto reorganizes how it delivers faith formation programs.

Over the summer the archdiocesan curia will meld its Catholic Office of Religious Education and its Office of Lay Ministry, Chaplaincy, Parish Social Ministry and Stewardship into a single office to support parishes, Archbishop Thomas Collins announced May 25.

{mosimage}TORONTO - Becoming a deacon is more than a way station on the road to priesthood for Vijai Amirtharaj and Jinto Mathew.

“It’s an important stage of our formation and our lives so far. It’s a stage when we are integrated into church ministry,” Amirtharaj said. “It’s part of the whole journey. It’s mystery.”

“It’s not my mission, but it’s the mission of the church,” adds Mathew.