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.

There is no difference between praying for peace in Jerusalem and praying for Christian unity, according to the authors of prayers for next January’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

The 102nd Week of Prayer for Christian Unity will be celebrated Jan. 16 to 22 in Canada.

For the first time the ecumenical team that chose the theme and accompanying prayers for the week-long event is drawn from the churches of Jerusalem — the mother church for all Christians and the city that first witnessed the Resurrection.
homelessTORONTO - Canada's universal health care system is pretty universal — except if you're homeless, according to a St. Michael's Hospital study.

One in six homeless people in Toronto, 17 per cent, say they need care for a medical condition and haven't been able to get it. Homeless women with dependent children have almost twice as much trouble getting to see a doctor as mothers generally do in Toronto, said the study by Dr. Stephen Hwang of the Centre for Research on Inner City Health at Toronto's St. Michael's Hospital. The study will be published in the August edition of the American Journal of Public Health.
Canada 2011 CensusTORONTO - Making the long form of the 2011 census voluntary has got Catholic schools, social service agencies and Toronto archdiocesan administrators worried.

Religious affiliation, language spoken at home, immigration status, marital status and a great deal more is recorded on the long form of the Statistics Canada census, which in the past was sent out to 20 per cent of the population and had to be filled out or the recipient was penalized. Religious affiliation is one of a few categories recorded only every other census, once every 10 years.
D and P Campaign LifeTORONTO - The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace has formally apologized to Campaign Life Coalition for "inaccurate" statements in a memo that called the pro-life lobby part of "the far right fringe element of North American society," linked Campaign Life with violent activists and accused it of misrepresenting facts and distorting reality to serve their ends.

Development and Peace formally retracted the statements in the memo and apologized in a June 30 letter to Campaign Life national president Jim Hughes.
Order of CanadaOf the 74 people named to the Order of Canada on Canada Day, only one of them has spent a lifetime explaining to the world how to be human.

Sr. Simone Roach was named to Canada's highest honour for contributions to nursing, particularly her role in helping to write the first code of ethics for nursing in Canada. But that's just one small outgrowth from decades of scholarly dedication to the subject of caring.
Jeremy HinzmanTORONTO - The federal government can't send Jeremy Hinzman and his family back to the United States just yet.

A unanimous decision of the Federal Court of Appeal has ordered Citizenship and Immigration to consider the AWOL American soldier's religious, political and moral beliefs before deciding whether the Hinzman family can stay in Canada. The Hinzmans reside in Toronto.
Nuclear ExplosionCanada's Christian church leaders have asked Prime Minister Stephen Harper to get serious about banning nuclear weapons.

Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican and Protestant bishops and leaders sent a letter to Harper June 25 urging him to "publicly and prominently" recommit Canada "to the energetic pursuit of the early elimination of all nuclear weapons."
salle damAs this year's G8 and G20 meetings in Toronto steer their attention to maternal and child health care in poor countries, Caritas Internationalis and the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace are trying to keep the leaders  focused on last year's promises to boost aid spending on food security and agriculture.

The Catholic development agencies have named "the rising food crisis" as their number one priority for the summit of the world's most powerful leaders.
CCIC logoThe umbrella group for 90 religious and secular development aid groups has laid off all but eight of its employees, put its building up for sale and emptied its $500,000 reserve fund for severance packages as it waits for final word on a funding decision from CIDA that’s now three months overdue.

The Canadian Council for International Co-operation is assuming it won’t get the $1.7 million the federal government normally contributes to its $2.4-million budget, said executive director Gerry Barr.
G8 LogoTORONTO - G8 countries have issued themselves a glowing report card complimenting themselves on how "The G8 has acted as a force for positive change and its actions have made a difference in addressing global challenges."

However, an independent academic assessment of G8 performance and comments by aid agencies and activists from poor countries aren't quite so kind.

Canada has lost its traditional second place ranking in the G8 Research Group analysis, keeping just 17 of 24 commitments it made at the last G8 meeting in L'Aquila, Italy.