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.

TORONTO - Church unity hasn’t happened yet, but Catholics and Anglicans have a new list of concrete suggestions for ways to bring the two churches closer.
March 16, 2007

Praying for miracles

TORONTO - Sandy Sitar and her husband Glenn Brown work in the pharmaceutical industry in technically demanding jobs. They’re educated young professionals — not the sort of people who fall into superstition or believe in magic. But that doesn’t mean they don’t believe in miracles.

new Roman Missal

Larry Yakimoski could just about spit nails when the subject of the new English translation of the Roman Missal comes up.

“It really seems to me that there are forces in the Church that are trying to roll back the clock,” said the layman from Saskatoon. “I was a kid when Vatican II came along. It was probably the reason why I stayed in the Church.”

{mosimage}TORONTO - If they were not vowed to poverty, chastity and obedience most members of the Canadian Religious Conference’s Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation network would be retired, smiling, pleasant, mild-mannered grandparents.

{mosimage}TORONTO - The Catholic Church officially repudiated anti-Jewish teaching and predatory proselytizing of Jews 43 years ago. While violence against Jews, graffiti on synagogues, Jewish schools and Jewish cemeteries are still realities in Toronto, such incidents cannot be associated with teaching — official or unofficial — in the Catholic Church. In today’s Toronto, the Muslim community is now about twice as numerous as the Jews and it’s both the integration of Muslims in Canada and armed conflict in Muslim countries around the world that grab headlines.

So who cares about Catholic-Jewish relations?
{mosimage}PICKERING, Ont. - You can’t keep your faith if you don’t deepen it. A paper-thin faith just gets thinner, until there’s nothing left to hold onto. So Alice Quigley has been diligently deepening her faith with annual retreats at Manresa Spiritual Renewal Centre in Pickering for the last 36 years.

When the 75-year-old Quigley made her first retreat in 1973 she was a woman just beginning to catch her breath at the tail end of more than 20 years of full-bore motherhood — four girls and a boy. Her oldest was just about to get married. She still had three teenagers and one pre-teen at home, but she was beginning to feel a little freedom coming on.
{mosimage}Eleven days into a 48-day fast, Jesuit Father John McCarthy was feeling pretty good.

“I haven’t noticed anything yet, other than a bit of weight loss,” McCarthy told The Catholic Register from Corner Brook, Nfld. “But in terms of energy level and everything else — well, it’s only 11 days.”

That is 11 days living on nothing but water and juice. McCarthy never liked V8 juice, but he’s acquiring a taste for the low-sodium variety. The most substantial thing he drinks is Sunkist strawberry and banana smoothies. He’s going through a fair amount of cranberry juice. He doesn’t have a blender.

{mosimage}The cross of St. Andrew, the Saltire, has been a symbol of the apostle’s martyrdom, a symbol of Roman imperial power, the flag of Scotland, the flag of Jamaica and the ensign of the Russian navy.

Now the ancient Christian standard is on its way to Canada from Mexico, where a group of Mexican lay evangelists have pointed out that it looks a lot like a multiplication sign.

The St. Andrew School of Evangelization based in Guadalajara, Mexico, wants to multiply the experience of Christ by forming new evangelists for the 21st century. The 25-year-old group has established national offices in Mexico, Colombia, Italy, Portugal, Brazil, Hungary, Argentina, the United States and Quebec. It is setting the stage for a push into English Canada with courses offered at Belleville’s St. Michael’s parish.

{mosimage}Toward the end of 44 days of fasting (see Jesuit's fast shows care for creation ) — living on nothing but juice and water throughout Lent — Jesuit Father John McCarthy found he didn't have the energy to exercise any more.

He also found the cross-country flight he had to take from Deer Lake, Nfld., to Vancouver during the last week of Lent a bit trying.

For the first few days following the end of Lent on Holy Thursday, McCarthy's stomach was feeling a touch delicate. And he did lose some weight. He estimates he's down about 15 kilos or 35 lbs.

September 18, 2009

Reasons behind the fast

{mosimage}What’s a fast for? As Muslims make their way through the month of Ramadan and Jews get ready for Yom Kippur, that simple question can prompt many answers — depending on your point of view.

“People do stuff like not eat in a very scrupulous way in order to avoid having to go to the trouble of being good people,” said Dan Merkur, psychoanalyst and University of Toronto lecturer in comparative religious studies.