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.

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.

Japanese lanternsElders and survivors took centre stage at Toronto's Hiroshima Day at the Peace Garden in Nathan Phillips Square.

They're asking world leaders to achieve nuclear disarmament before the generation that saw the first atomic weapon is gone.

Photos and commentary by Michael Swan

 

TORONTO - For Toronto’s Archbishop Thomas Collins the fate of Iraqi Christians trapped in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon isn’t just another tough case in an unfair world full of too much heartbreak. For him, this one is personal.

Collins has written to his fellow bishops across Canada about the fate of Iraqi Christian refugees, asking them to encourage refugee sponsorship in their dioceses. He has urged pastors in Toronto to get their parishes involved in sponsoring refugees.

But it’s more than words. He’s also sponsoring a refugee family himself.

G20 pro-life protestTORONTO - The G8 and G20 summits certainly attracted protesters. Pro-lifers Julie Abernethy and Seanna Magee weren’t going to be left out.

When Abernethy noticed a group of protesters with a pro-abortion banner walking through her downtown neighbourhood, she asked, “Is anybody representing our side?”
Michael PowerTORONTO - Bringing back the permanent diaconate was a spiritual stroke of Vatican II genius, according to historian Michael Power, one that traces its history to the Nazi death camp at Dachau.

Priests in Dachau — facing their deaths, resigned to their imprisonment and steeped in a near monastic routine of prayer and work — began to ask themselves what had gone wrong with the world and the Church, that saving sacrament of their world. They came to the conclusion that priests were living in isolation from the people of God and that the Church needed a way to break through.