Lessons learned along the career path

The end of the academic year is particularly significant in our family this time around. Our eldest child just graduated from high school and our youngest completed elementary school.

My daughter is fortunate to have a career plan mapped out. It’s too early to guess my son’s future path.

    Coming to grips with Irish abuse scandal

    {mosimage}When I was at a meeting for the International Council of Universities in Limerick, Ireland, last April, it was in the air.  Menacingly on the horizon.

    Over a year ago when my own university honoured Diarmuid Martin, archbishop of Dublin, for his record of service in the cause of global human rights, the topic came up, and the dread was palpable.

    And now, at last, it has happened, and the church in Ireland is convulsed.  Again.

      Living on less a bonus for this family

      {mosimage}It’s amazing how what initially seems like a major crisis can sometimes end up being just what is needed to get your priorities straight. I wouldn’t have believed it at the time, though.

      I’m referring to my husband’s job loss a decade ago due to workplace restructuring. The anniversary is this month.

      He’d been with the company longer than I’d known him. His job necessitated a two-hour, round-trip commute and long, demanding workdays. Originally it also involved travel; the last two years he was continually on call via pager.

        Thank you, Father

        {mosimage}Father’s Day. Bring out the greeting cards, new ties and socks. My dad is an inspiring guy, a role model, someone who’s shown me the kind of person I’d like to be in life. So dad, never forget you’re #1 (along with mom) in my books.

        But this Father’s Day, I’d like to thank some other “fathers” out there. They probably won’t be taken out for brunch this weekend and are unlikely to receive any great classroom art from the kids at school, but I’d like to say thanks just the same.

          And thank you too, Dad

          {mosimage}It had been a busy day at the office and as I walked into the house I was psyching myself up for an evening of parenting.

          As the father of a large family there is always someone who needs attention. Any given night could include a trip to the arena or basketball court, dropping one of the older children off at their part-time jobs, or helping Emma and Hope with their homework.

            Readers Speak Out

            Poor choice

            The recent decision of the Catholic Principals’ Council of Ontario to have abortion supporter Stephen Lewis address its 2010 annual conference can be likened to the recent event that took place in South Bend, Indiana (I refuse to call the South Bend institution of education by its name, for it no longer has anything to do with Our Lady).

            Lewis’ position and work regarding human life, especially in Africa, is well known. I do respect his compassion. However, it is incomprehensible to have the leaders of publicly funded Catholic schools listen to his misguided ethics at the risk of dividing the Catholic educational community. I wonder if the Principals’ Council approached trustees and especially the bishops of Ontario with their desire to have Lewis speak to them.

            I feel that publicly funded Catholic education in Ontario is being hijacked by a new, self-appointed and self-important intelligentsia who have no regard for church teaching and tradition, forgetting that its mission is intimately connected to the mission of the universal church — the salvation of souls.

            Steve Catlin
            Hamilton Ont.

              Rwandans seek long-term peace

              {mosimage}Christ’s command to forgive seventy times seven may lose some of its poignancy if the worst thing you’ve had to forgive this week was a co-worker hurting your feelings.

              Imagine, however, if the killer of your wife and children lives across the street, you both shop at the same stores, you see him every day. Now imagine that scene being replayed across the countryside 100,000 times.

                Be there for a grief-stricken friend

                {mosimage}Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted (Matthew 5:4)

                When someone you know loses a loved one to death, you want to reach out but may feel unsure of what to say or do. Perhaps you haven’t lost someone close, and it’s difficult to appreciate what your friend is going through and anticipate his or her needs. Allow me to share some advice.

                Don’t agonize over what to say. Keep it simple and heartfelt — for example, “I’m so sorry,” “My heart goes out to you,” “I’m here for you” or perhaps even “I’m at a loss for words.” Avoid platitudes such as, “It’s for the best,” or “You still have a lot to be thankful for.”

                  The dynamics of a church choir

                  {mosimage}For years, I took my local church choir for granted.  Sunday after Sunday I would hardly notice the music unless I heard a favourite piece or an obvious mistake.

                  Then one day an acquaintance complimented me on my voice and suggested I join him in the choir.  I easily discounted the compliment, but it struck me that the quality of my worship might improve if it were more active.

                    Holy Land Christians get a glimmer of hope

                    {mosimage}Much of the media focus on the recent papal visit to the Holy Land was an evaluation of the pontiff’s relationships with Muslims and Jews. However, in the land of  Christianity’s foundation, Christian church members wanted only to know that they are not forgotten, not alone and that their story of struggle is known by their spiritual leader.

                    They dreamed in hope that the visit would result in some good news for them.

                      The power and beauty of religiously sensible poetry

                      {mosimage}This past April has surely not been our cruellest month this year. At least in literary terms. 

                      The publication of Listening: Last Poems of Margaret Avison and Pier Giorgio Di Cicco’s Names of Blessing serves as a perfect reminder of the power and beauty of supremely well crafted poetry by poets of sublime religious sensibility.