Who greets you on a Sunday morning when you walk into your church? Gentlemanly ushers? Nervous pre-teens co-opted to offer a shy word of welcome? Or an off-duty police officer packing a pistol?

Anthropologist disputes ‘missing children’ claims


The third anniversary of the May 27, 2021 announcement by B.C.’s Kamloops Indian Band that the unmarked graves of 215 children were found on the site of its Indian residential school has come and gone but its claims are very much alive.

The first principle is putting people first


When I was 18 years old, we had a Stocking Family reunion in England. It was the first time I met many of my numerous relatives. My father is one of eleven children, spread throughout England, the U.S., and Canada. That was the last time all of them were together in person. Gathered with them were approximately one hundred of their direct descendants. It was a very formative experience for me as a young man. I was recently reading a journal entry I wrote shortly after the reunion ended,

Work needed to build reconciling trust


The journey toward reconciliation between Canadian churches and Indigenous people continues. Not surprisingly, the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2015 did not end that journey. 

A house without work has dirty laundry


“I am busy with other things, mainly running the household for me and my 90-year-old sister plus a young working man who came to stay three years ago and doesn't look like leaving any time soon,” a friend wrote me recently. I had asked about her retirement and she said she wanted to find time to write. Before retirement, she had been a journalist. 

A street minister’s prayer to remember


I always admire people who seem to be able to come up with a Scripture quotation for every occasion. You know, when you are working away quietly at home and your spouse calls out, “As it says in John 16:16, ‘In a short time you will no longer see me, and in a short time you will see me again.’” 

“For crying out loud,” you shout back, “Could you just go out and buy the bread and milk?” 

A voice that brought angels to tears


Do not interrupt the music.

Sirach 32: 3

I don’t like to brag, but I was a member of my school’s award-winning choir when I was young. I sang alto and bass though admittedly, because of puberty, it was usually during the same note. Sr. Thibeault, our choir director, begged me to join … any other club but hers. I thought she was only playing hard to get. She had famously claimed she could teach anyone to sing, and tearfully admitted she was wrong after she heard me.

AI gives “eyes” to blind choir member


The word ‘impossible’ does not exist in Natale Giangioppo’s vocabulary. 

Blind from birth, Giangioppo’s many barrier-shattering accomplishments most recently include participating as a choir member at Our Lady of Sorrows (OLS) parish in Etobicoke, Ontario.

Six sins that thwart God’s mercy


A recent Sunday Gospel was about the puzzling “sin against the Holy Spirit.” Puzzling and terrifying because Jesus is clear about its consequence: this sin “will not be forgiven in this life or the next.” (Mark 3:20-25) How can an all-loving God, full of mercy, who will forgive our worse offences, also tell us there is such a thing as an unforgivable sin? Most of all, how can I make sure I never commit this sin?

The indiscretion driving up our debt


My father was a frugal man who categorically rejected going into debt. He warned me against this way of life more than I can recall. When he and my mother bought their modest home in Regina in 1954, they paid cash. Dad bought used cars, again always paying up front. 

Baking Joy at Our Lady of Sorrows


Pizzelle. Pizzelle?

I was intrigued. Is it a miniature pizza? 

No, it turns out, it’s a delicious Italian wafer, and was part of a joyful parish project that manifested God’s love and compassion during recently challenging times.