We are all called to serve our fellow man

He is a man of the poor, we were told.

Pope Francis’ devotion to the poor was one of the first things the media latched onto when the result of last month’s conclave became known. We were treated to stories of his humble apartment, his riding the bus and his overall simple life.

The media attention is fading but the Pope’s message to help the poor should not. The question is how?

In our secular politics we often hear political parties accuse one another of not caring about the poor. That’s not true. In fact it’s quite unfair. In Canada all parties care about helping the poor but they differ on the best way to go about it...

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The communion of saints will take us to the finish

On a bright sunny day in Vancouver about 15 years ago I witnessed my first long-distance run. The videographer working with me knew where to get the best shots — at the bottom of a hill on Georgia Street, about a kilometre from the starting line.

Staring up the empty street we waited. The first sign of movement was a line of bobbing heads as runners emerged over the top of the hill. What followed was an avalanche of humanity undulating down the street. Thousands and thousands of people, all sizes, ages and running ability, on foot, in strollers pushed by running moms and dads, in wheelchairs. Family, friends and spectators cheered as they began their arduous run. And the cheering and encouragement continued...

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Seeking the answers

Only those who have run marathons fully understand the event’s power to shred body, soul and psyche. Runners of half-marathons don’t half understand that power because the full 42.1 kilometres does not split arithmetically in two. It is commonly said the marathon truly begins at 30 kilometres.

Nothing but R-E-S-P-E-C-T for the Queen of Soul

It is a bit silly for fortysomethings to be speaking about a “bucket list” but that’s what I heard leaving Toronto’s Roy Thomson Hall after an Aretha Franklin concert. A man my age, who should be busy about living rather than thinking about dying, commented that seeing Aretha Franklin in concert was on his bucket list. That’s rather a nice compliment to Aretha, who has made all sorts of lists in her life, including some years back taking the No. 1 position in Rolling Stone magazine’s Top 100 singers of all time.

How exactly one measures the top 100 singers is not clear, but to finish first in such a manner of list-making is be acknowledged as a rare talent. Aretha is still that, 50 years after she got her start.

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Even Tiger shouldn’t mess with the golf gods

After last week’s Masters golf tournament, perhaps Tiger Woods’ sponsor should change its marketing campaign to: “Don’t mess with the golf gods.”

The world’s Number 1 ranked golfer again found himself in the middle of a media storm when in the second round of the Masters he took an illegal drop after his ball careened off the flagstick and into the water.

When Woods later admitted to the mistake, the rules committee assessed him a two-stroke penalty and used a new rule to allow him to remain in the tournament instead of facing disqualification, which was the automatic penalty up until two years ago. Some thought he should have been disqualified, others thought a two-shot penalty was ample punishment...

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Our mysterious exchanges with God

When asked by a deacon how best to communicate the Christian faith, St. Augustine encouraged him to share the story of salvation, especially drawing from the Bible. Scripture can be summarized as stories of God’s dealings with men and women and the unfolding of His love in their lives in order to bring them salvation.

At long last, Ralph Klein finally embraced Jesus

As someone who can smell the incense from the last pew of the church, it was no challenge for me to sniff the billows of the beer coming off Ralph Klein.

Right until death Ebert dodged the most fundamental question

He spent a life chronicling show business, so why not a show at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago for the funeral of Roger Ebert? Chicago’s great clerical showmen were on hand for the premiere. Jesse Jackson sent a message that Ebert “sought to explain America to itself,” which may well be apt if you consider America to be a vast, leisured people busy about entertaining themselves.

Catholic schools offer education from a Gospel culture

On my desk sit two books, one on top of the other, spines facing outwards so that the titles are clear to the students and the parents with whom I meet. Both are authoritative texts in the context of Catholic education. One is the Education Act, the other is the Bible.

Free speech everywhere but Parliament

The late-March decision to declare Private Members’ Motion-408 “unvotable” has generated a debate about the control of party leaders and the Prime Minister’s Office over what Members of Parliament can and can’t say in the House of Commons.

The what ifs of all those years ago

When I was 12 years old, a Grade 8 classmate at Holy Cross Catholic School in East York was working at Maple Leaf Gardens selling ice cream and popcorn.