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 - While the bitter politics of confrontation between mainly Jewish supporters of Israel and mainly Palestinian supporters of Hamas continued to play out in demonstrations in Toronto, Christians, Jews and Muslims came together at the Noor Cultural Centre to pray for peace Jan. 9.

Rabbis and imams were on the same page praying for the children, the innocent and even the fighters, as well as for a speedy and just solution to the Gaza conflict which erupted just after Christmas and has claimed about 1,000 lives, mostly Palestinians.

{mosimage}TORONTO - As millions converged on Washington to see Barack Obama swear the oath of office and begin a new chapter in black history Jan. 20, schools and parishes in Toronto were preparing for a month of celebrations to commemorate African-Canadian contributions to Canada and the world.

Even if Black History Month or African Heritage Month are annual events with a history stretching back to the 1920s in the United States, the inauguration of the first black president of the United States makes this year special.

{mosimage}TORONTO - After two days of protest that brought as many as 45,000 Tamils out into the streets of Toronto Jan. 30-31, the Tamils were ready to pray.

As the 26-year-old civil war in Sri Lanka enters a new and dangerous showdown, Toronto’s 100,000-plus Tamil community is in distress over the fate of civilians trapped in the fighting and a government offensive against Tamil communities they call “genocide.”
{mosimage}TORONTO - Lay people and not bishops will lead the world out of the economic crisis, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver told an audience of business leaders in Toronto Feb. 24.

“Bishops don’t know very much about economics, so we shouldn’t say very much,” said the Franciscan Capuchin bishop.

{mosimage}TORONTO - Mass rape, forced abortions, hospital bombings and war crimes have been constant themes for the Tamil community as it has protested and prayed for international intervention in the civil war in Sri Lanka.

The most serious allegation against the Sri Lankan government found on signs at every Tamil rally is genocide. Tamil protesters have compared government attacks on Tamil civilians with the genocides in Darfur and Rwanda.

{mosimage}TORONTO - You can’t buy miracles, but a $1-million gift to the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv is helping a miracle carry on in tough economic times.

“UCU is a set of miracles and it’s an important work and presence for the church,” Jesuit Father David Nazar wrote to The Catholic Register from Lviv shortly after the university announced a gift of $1 million from Toronto resident Dr. Maria Fischer-Slysh.

{mosimage}TORONTO - The archdiocese of Toronto and ShareLife are leading an investigation into the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace’s policies based on a web site’s report that it is funding “pro-abortion groups.”

In a March 17 statement, Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins said, “ShareLife was established in 1976 as a direct result of our commitment to uphold the sanctity of life at all stages... Be assured I will not allow any money raised in the archdiocese of Toronto to be used for pro-abortion activities or organizations.”

{mosimage}MISSISSAUGA, Ont. - Seventy-five years is a long time, but at Sts. Cyril and Methodius Slovak Roman Catholic parish all those years mask the truth about the parish. The truth is the parish is young.

Third-year University of St. Michael’s College student Stefan Slovak is a member of the parish council and an active organizer of the parish’s 75th anniversary celebrations. He was born in Canada to a Slovak father and an Irish-Canadian mother, grew up in the suburbs and has absorbed Slovak language and culture entirely from the expatriate community of 40,000 Slovaks in and around Toronto.

{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.