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 - As 10,000 Tamils gathered on University Avenue to mourn their unknown dead with a candlelit vigil, the Tamil Catholic Community of Toronto swung into action to launch a campaign to raise $100,000 to help hundreds of thousands of internally displaced refugees scattered in government-run "welfare centres. "At the same time the Canadian Jesuits International have launched their own campaign to raise $100,000 for Tamil refugees. And the Canadian Council of Churches is demanding that Canada pressure Sri Lanka to allow open and free access to refugee camps for aid workers and the press.

Jude Aloysius of the Tamil Catholic Community believes all kinds of Canadians will get behind efforts to help refugees in Sri Lanka.

"This is outside the political forum," Aloysius said. "Canadians are very much in tune and they are very passionate about helping people who are in need."

{mosimage}TORONTO - A priestly fraternity dedicated to preservation of the pre-Vatican II Tridentine Mass is seeking permission to set up a parish in Toronto.

The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter has proposed to Archbishop Thomas Collins that the order would create a parish served by two priests offering all the sacraments according to the 1962 Missale Romanum. The Toronto personal parish would also serve as a base for the fraternity’s work in the dioceses of St. Catharines and London.

{mosimage}TORONTO - Help for parishes is on its way as the archdiocese of Toronto reorganizes how it delivers faith formation programs.

Over the summer the archdiocesan curia will meld its Catholic Office of Religious Education and its Office of Lay Ministry, Chaplaincy, Parish Social Ministry and Stewardship into a single office to support parishes, Archbishop Thomas Collins announced May 25.

{mosimage}TORONTO - Becoming a deacon is more than a way station on the road to priesthood for Vijai Amirtharaj and Jinto Mathew.

“It’s an important stage of our formation and our lives so far. It’s a stage when we are integrated into church ministry,” Amirtharaj said. “It’s part of the whole journey. It’s mystery.”

“It’s not my mission, but it’s the mission of the church,” adds Mathew.

{mosimage}TORONTO - There have been protests with thousands of Tamils out on the streets, but on June 11 the young Tamil activists organized a different sort of gathering in a basement classroom on the campus of the University of Toronto.

A student-organized Tamil multi-faith prayer service featured prayers from Sikhs, Christians, Hindus and Muslims and testimonials from young Tamils whose families have been devastated by the war in Sri Lanka.

{mosimage}TORONTO - Ordinary holiness is the gift of Opus Dei to the church, Archbishop Thomas Collins told an overflowing assembly at Our Lady of Sorrows on the feast of Opus Dei founder St. Josemaria Escriva.

"It is in that sublime simplicity of ordinary life, in the business of our world, that we are called to holiness," said Collins in his June 26 homily at the west end Toronto parish.

{mosimage}WOODBRODGE, Ont. - Tornados ripped through houses, tore chunks of roof off St. Peter's Catholic Elementary School, heaved the school's air conditioning unit into a ravine, tossed a Chevy up against an electrical transformer in front of the school, spread roofing nails and glass over streets like confetti — but the crazy storm of Aug. 20 hasn't harmed the spirit of St. Peter's parish in Woodbridge.

It's not that St. Peter's isn't hard at work cleaning up the mess. Thirty-six of the most severely damaged homes plus the school are within parish boundaries. Twenty-six of those wrecked houses are the homes of registered St. Peter's parishioners.
{mosimage}TORONTO - It’s been 25 years since Pope John Paul II lit the eternal flame in Toronto’s Peace Garden, and every year the city’s Hiroshima Day Coalition magnifies that flame of hope and memory with an Aug. 6 commemoration of the first atom bomb used in war.

This year’s ceremony featured a Japanese lantern ceremony, which floated dozens of paper lanterns — each containing a single tea light lit from the eternal flame — across the water of the reflecting pool at Nathan Phillips Square.

{mosimage}TORONTO - In 1999, when the nuns and religious sisters of Toronto decided to build some affordable housing in their city to celebrate the millennium Jubilee along with Pope John Paul II they thought they were addressing an urgent local problem.

Ten years on, as people finally move into their homes in southeast Scarborough, Mughtar Yarow has news for them. (See photos of project homes here .)

{mosimage}TORONTO - In an age when medicine and religion seem to frequently collide, the three Abrahamic faiths and medical science have found common ground on organ donations.

On Sept. 20, the archdiocese of Toronto will distribute 200,000 brochures to parishes explaining the theology, science and morality of organ donation. But they won't be alone.