Fr. Raymond J. de Souza is the pastor of Sacred Heart of Mary parish on Wolfe Island, and chaplain at Newman House at Kingston, Ont.'s Queen's University.

Where I am able to organize things — in my parish, at the chaplaincy — we sing Advent hymns in Advent. But otherwise, Christmas concerts are the order of the day by early December. And so it was that last Saturday I had the privilege of attending the annual Christmas concert of St. Michael’s Choir School in the afternoon at Massey Hall, and then the Christmas pageant (“Gaudy” to employ the local nomenclature) at Massey College in the evening.

Opinion: Fidel Castro's death is one small step for Cuban liberty

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Fidel Castro is dead. Canada’s prime minister, whose father was an admirer and friend of the tyrant, is struck with grief, but it is not widely shared. Fidel’s death is an advance for Cuba. A more significant step forward will be when Fidel’s brother Raul, to whom power was handed over in 2006, follows his brother into eternity.

Pope, Trump share some values

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The election of Donald Trump must have distressed Pope Francis. Or did it?

Musical encounter with the Divine

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Is music part of the missionary activity of the Church? Or does it remain part of her internal life, as it were, reserved to the worship of God?

Chance to show solidarity with Ukrainian brethren

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This week Toronto hosts the head of the largest of the Eastern Catholic Churches, Sviatoslav Shevchuk of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC). Within the UGCC, Shevchuk is referred to as the Patriarch of Kyiv, the common title for the head of an Eastern Catholic Church. Due to tensions with the Orthodox though, especially in Russia, the Holy See grants him the title of “major archbishop,” equivalent in all aspects to a patriarch.

Four Teresas: models for our time

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For centuries there was only one Teresa, the Carmelite reformer who was canonized on March 12, 1622, in the single most impressive canonization in the history of the Church. Gregory XV crowned the Catholic Counter-Reformation that day, canonizing in one ceremony the great Teresa of Avila, along with St. Francis Xavier, St. Philip Neri and St. Ignatius Loyola.

Mission begins beyond the couch

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KRAKÓW, POLAND – The most impressive moment of World Youth Day had to be at the Saturday evening vigil, with Pope Francis leading more than a million young people in praying the Divine Mercy chaplet before the Blessed Sacrament. Not only was it a powerful witness of prayer, invoking mercy upon the Church and the world, but a confirmation of the marvellous ways of Providence.

Benedict XVI offers much encouragement to priests

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It’s become something of a routine now. Pope Francis delivers a spontaneous lambasting of priests who do this or that which he disapproves of, and priests get in touch to ask what we should make of it all.

Mother Angelica was called to greatness

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The death of Mother Mary Angelica, the American Poor Clare who founded EWTN, has produced much commentary puzzling over an apparent contradiction. An orthodox and traditional nun was at the same time an entrepreneurial pioneer in Catholic television and did not blanch from charting a path independent of Catholic bishops. How could this be? She had conservative ideas but seemed to operate like a liberal.

The Virgin of Guadalupe is the star of the new evangelization

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It was a good idea that didn’t work. Before the reform of the Roman calendar in the 1960s, the octave day of Christmas — Jan. 1 — was celebrated as the feast of the circumcision and holy name, as Jewish boys were named on the eighth day after birth. There was a minor feast of the divine maternity of Mary in the calendar on Oct. 11, which St. John XXIII chose for the opening of Vatican II, and now serves as his feast day.

The Synod’s curious biblical commentary

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VATICAN CITY - One of the most repeated themes during the Synod on the Family was the need for a more biblically based approach. The original working document for the Synod — the Instrumentum Laboris — came in for repeated and severe criticism for taking as its starting point sociological data rather than the Word of God.