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.

Dion MacArthurTORONTO - Veterans Affairs has come to The Good Shepherd mission in downtown Toronto looking for vets. And they’re finding them.

In her first two weeks as the Veterans Affairs case worker at The Good Shepherd, Dion MacArthur had already identified 15 homeless vets ranging in age from mid-30s to mid-80s, having served Canada in missions from Afghanistan to the Second World War.
In Vitro FertilizationTORONTO - Vatican officials aren’t being churlish killjoys or displaying their fearful medieval mindset when they object to the Nobel committee giving the world’s most prestigious science prize to the inventor of in vitro fertilization, Fr. Joseph Tham told an audience of about 70 people in Toronto’s Holy Family parish Oct. 6.

“It’s difficult to explain to people, Catholics included, why IVF is wrong,” said Tham.

Before entering the priesthood, Tham became a medical doctor at the University of Toronto. He now teaches at Regina Apostolorum University’s school of bioethics in Rome.
CFS DurhamCatholic Family Services of Durham found what it was looking for was already there. The family counselling agency dropped the word “acting” from Elizabeth Pierce’s title, making her the new executive director.

Pierce takes over an agency with a $1.3-million annual budget, 19 regular employees and three contract counsellors. Catholic Family Services of Durham deals with families from the eastern edge of Toronto to the Bowmanville area, and as far north as Port Perry. She has been with the agency for more than 14 years, mostly working as senior counselling program manager.
Padre Pio WoodbridgeWOODBRIDGE, Ont. - A humble Franciscan from a little town in southern Italy had them singing and dancing in the aisles in Woodbridge Sept. 23.

The overcapacity crowd that came out to greet three relics of St. Padre Pio and inaugurate a new church named after the 20th-century Italian saint broke out in frequent applause as Archbishop Thomas Collins baptized their new church.
September 27, 2010

A new home for Padre Pio

New Padre PioThe mostly Italian parish of Padre Pio in Woodbridge welcomed relics of St. Padre Pio as they inaugurated their new church Sept. 23. It was no small affair, with an overflow crowd peering in the windows from the parking lot to see Archbishop Thomas Collins baptize and anoint the new church.

Photos and commentary by Michael Swan

Sr. Donna MarkhamTORONTO - For many religious women in the United States the Vatican-appointed apostolic visitation on American sisters is an open wound, a sore point and something they would rather not talk about.

Sr. Donna Markham is coming to Toronto to talk about it. The Dominican Sister will deliver the annual Dominican Family of Toronto lecture at the University of St. Michael’s College Oct. 15. Markham has titled her talk “Mission, Membership and the Apostolic Visitation” and organizers are promoting it under the banner “Women Religious Under Scrutiny.”  
Toronto Free Presbyterian ChurchTORONTO - The Toronto Free Presbyterian Church stands behind its Ulster-based brethren in protesting Pope Benedict XVI's visit to England and Scotland.

The tiny Toronto church protested Pope John Paul II's visit in 2002, and would do so again if the Pope were ever to visit Canada, said Toronto Free Presbyterian Church senior pastor Larry Saunders.

"My concern, my opposition to the Pope coming as a representative of the Catholic Church is that he comes not just as a religious leader. He comes as also the head of state," said Saunders.
Piratheeprajh VijayarajarajanBRAMPTON, ONT. - Eight months after teenaged Tamil refugee Piratheeprajh Vijayarajarajan arrived in Canada he’s taken on the look of a broad-shouldered young athlete — a contributor to his Brampton cricket club. But the young man is still painfully shy, unsure of his English, wary of strangers.

He’s grateful for the reception he’s had in Canada, and hopes the 492 Tamils who recently arrived in British Columbia aboard the MV Sun Sea will have a similar opportunity to take up their lives again.
Debt doomTORONTO - A growing number of Canadian families are finding themselves on the losing end of the global financial meltdown.

At Catholic Family Services of Peel and Dufferin, counsellors have seen a 177-per-cent increase in the number of clients whose finances have fallen apart. In 2009-2010 the agency saw a 173-per-cent increase in couples and individuals at its door because of unemployment, housing or related issues.
Bishop John OkoyeTORONTO - There is a seminary with 1,100 men studying for the priesthood. Each year that one seminary turns out a graduating class of hundreds ready for ordination. Since it began with just six students in 1924, this seminary has produced more than 4,000 priests.

Though it may sound like fantasy to any North American Catholic who has visited the echoing halls of their own somewhat less populated seminaries, Bigard Memorial Seminary is a real place. And one of its former rectors believes it should be a resource for the entire Catholic Church, not only for the Metropolitan See of Onitsha in Eastern Nigeria.