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 - Alvera Nyabasa grew up going to church in her native Zimbabwe, but she had little idea what was going on before she moved to Canada as an adult. Like 80 per cent of the world’s 1.3 million deaf Catholics who live in developing countries, Nyabasa grew up in a church that simply didn’t know how to deal with her.

Today, attending Sunday Mass with the De Salles Chaplaincy to Toronto’s deaf community is a happy occasion for Nyabasa and her two boys. There at St. Stephen’s Chapel on Bay Street, Fr. Harry Stocks says Mass in American Sign Language, or, if another priest is covering the Mass, it is simultaneously translated.

{mosimage}Canadians are evenly divided on Liberal leader Stephane Dion’s plan to use the tax system to reduce Canada’s disproportionate contribution to global warming.

When the Liberal carbon tax and its purpose was described to them by pollsters at Harris/Decima, 47 per cent of Canadians said they support the concept versus 39 per cent who were opposed.

In Davos at the World Economic Forum you might get to see Bono, Bill Gates and Nicholas Sarkozy having a quiet little chat. But you won't get to see what the Mary Durran saw in Dakar, Senegal, during this year's World Social Forum.

"I witnessed an exchange yesterday (Feb. 7) between a Cambodian organization and a Senegalese organization," Durran, of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, told The Catholic Register in an e-mail.

The Cambodians were worried by how government officials and corporations were working together to drive small farmers off their land so the companies can produce crops for export.
As Catholics and Anglicans sit down again for official theological dialogue this spring, they face the challenge of adding to some of the most substantial and carefully reasoned theological documents written in the last 35 years.

“It’s been some of the best theology of the 20th century, and we’re into the 21st century now. It’s excellent theology,” said Margaret O’Gara, a former Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) member and professor at Toronto’s University of St. Michael’s College.

A new stage of ARCIC discussions opens May 17 to 27 at the Monastery of Bose in northern Italy. The international dialogue group has been asked by the Anglican archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams and Pope Benedict XVI to examine “the Church as communion — local and universal” and “how in  communion the local and universal Church comes to discern right ethical teaching.”
Haiti girls schoolPORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti  - Cholera in Haiti has killed close to 1,000 people and hospitalized more than 14,000 as parish volunteers and international aid organizations scramble to minimize the impact in Port-au-Prince, where one million people are still living in tents after last January’s devastating earthquake.

As of Nov. 15 the official death toll was 917 and it is not expected to peak for a number of weeks yet.

Symptoms of cholera, a water-borne infectious disease, include diarrhea, vomiting and fever. Untreated, the resulting dehydration is fatal.
Haiti girls foodPORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - As the official cholera toll reached 724 dead with 10,000 people treated in hospitals for the deadly bacteria as of Nov. 11, the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace has given Caritas Haiti $123,000 to finance distribution of 3,000 more emergency hygiene kits.

Caritas Haiti had exhausted its emergency stores of 76,000 hygiene kits, including aquatabs to purify water. The new hygiene kits will be distributed in 20 tent-city camps around Port-au-Pince, Haiti’s capital, where parish volunteers in the camps will be trained by medical professionals in cholera prevention.

There are more than one million Haitians still living in tents 10 months after the Jan. 12 earthquake that killed 230,000.
Bishop Alvaro RamazziniTORONTO - Last year Goldcorp Inc. pulled 2.2 million tonnes of rock out of the ground at its Marlin Mine in San Miguel, Guatemala. Using a process that sucks up millions of litres of water and adds cyanide to the mix, the company separated 7,793 kilograms of gold and 117,835 kilograms of silver from the ore.

The gold sold for an average of $982 per ounce and the silver for $15.07 per ounce.

It costs Goldcorp $192 to free an ounce of gold from the rock in San Miguel, making it one of the world’s most profitable mines, ever. In Northern Ontario it costs Goldcorp $585 to mine and mill an ounce of gold at its Musselwhite mine, $447 per ounce at the Porcupine mine, and $288 per ounce in Red Lake.
Pakistan floodsTORONTO - With the deadline for federal matching funds extended to Oct. 3, the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace has raised more than $1 million for flood victims in Pakistan.

Toronto parishes have so far turned in an additional $237,061.11 to ShareLife, the archdiocese's charitable fundraising arm. ShareLife funds will eventually be turned over to Development and Peace, the development arm of the Canadian Catholic bishops that is one of a select group of agencies eligible for federal matching funds.
Development world povertyReaching the United Nations Millennium Development Goals by 2015 is “first and foremost a moral problem,” according to Jesuit Father Michael Czerny.

Czerny will accompany Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, to a Sept. 20-22 high level meeting at the United Nations in New York to review progress on the MDGs.  The Canadian Jesuit is Turkson’s personal advisor on justice and peace issues.
Pakistan floodTORONTO - After a slow start, Canadian Catholics have responded, online and in parishes, to the flood crisis in Pakistan.

Contributions over the Internet pushed the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace disaster relief fund for Pakistan over the $100,000 mark on the Aug. 22 weekend. In the archdiocese of Toronto, the ShareLife Pakistan Flood Relief fund went from less than $11,000 on Aug. 16 to $38,497 as of 3 p.m. Aug. 23.

With the federal government giving in to pleas from Development and Peace and other agencies to establish a dollar-for-dollar program to match private donations, Development and Peace is hopeful Canadian generosity will begin to equal the massive scale of the floods in the Indus River valley.