About 30 years ago I met the late Dr. Bernard N. Nathanson, a co-founder of the U.S. abortion movement and back then a self-described atheistic Jew.

Committed to care

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The government has long worked with Canadian development organizations that have religious affiliations and roots. These organizations, and the people who work and volunteer for them, share a commitment to improving the lives of the most vulnerable in the developing world. Shared values of generosity and compassion is the foundation for our collaborations.

Seeing the blessings

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A story that a hospital chaplain once shared spoke to me deeply. Here’s what she said:

“When I met Bibi, a staff worker at St. Blaise retirement home, she expressed concern for the welfare of Doug. He suffers from a degenerative disease and had just returned from hospital after surgery to correct bleeding on the brain. Doug was unable to get out of bed and unable to speak clearly. I could not help with his physical needs and he seemed distressed by my presence. I was told he disliked strangers so I stood in the corridor and observed as two staff members attended to him. Then I moved to an office where two other staff members shared some information about the man they had come to know.

“They told me Doug had been falling frequently before his hospitalization and they were frustrated at the slow process of finding a placement for him in a long-term care facility. They expressed sadness for the man they had known and cared for and who was now in a very difficult situation. They expressed helplessness because they could no longer care for him and voiced uncertainty about what could be done in the face of the latest crisis...

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Some ecumenical convergence on Mary

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Mary is often considered to be a major stumbling block on the road to Christian unity in terms of doctrine and devotion, but that is less and less the case. Today Mary is appearing more frequently in Anglican and Protestant liturgical hymns and calendars and her image is hanging on their church walls.

We must assure the survival of Christianity in the lands of its birth

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Last time I was in Amman, Jordan I met a lovely 12-year-old Christian girl with a beautiful smile. Her father used to be a taxi driver in Baghdad — until a gang of criminals or jihadists or both threatened his life and his family if he didn’t leave Iraq immediately.

A double-double shot of His grace

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Recently I was at a checkout counter as a couple in the next line were having a bit of a disagreement. I tried not to pay attention but soon I was drawn in.

“Sir, excuse me,” the lady turned and asked. “Can you solve a mystery for us?”

Oh goodness, I thought, they know I’m a priest and want me to solve some theological mystery, like the Trinity or why Pope Francis took the name he did or who came first, the Easter Bunny or Santa?

“Sure,” I replied, sighing...

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We are all called to serve our fellow man

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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

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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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Our mysterious exchanges with God

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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.

Catholic schools offer education from a Gospel culture

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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.

An abundance of good news from Rome

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ROME - A friend of mine settled in for an interview with a British national broadcaster after the election of Pope Francis. She had been asked to join an American Jesuit to discuss the implications of the March 13 election.

Before going on air, the inter­viewer received a phone call from his producer in London, who was unhappy with recent interviews. “There’s too much good news,” the producer said...