Notes from Newfoundland

{mosimage}Forty-six per cent of Newfoundlanders are left-handed. At least that’s what my husband’s golfing partner told him while they played the Terra Nova course.

Unexpected rewards reaped from yard sale

“We can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful.” Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

The pros and cons of a proportional vote

{mosimage}Editor's note: Ontario voters face a historic election Oct. 10, but not because of the candidates before them. This year, voters will be asked in a referendum if they wish to make the most dramatic change since Confederation in how they choose provincial governments. They will be asked whether they want to retain the current system (known as the “first-past-the-post” method) or accept a form of proportional representation called the Mixed Member Proportional vote. Below we offer pro and con opinions on MMP by two Catholics with extensive experience in political activity. For more information on the referendum, access the web site www.citizensassembly.gov.on.ca.

A time for spiritual renewal

{mosimage}Advertisers have recently picked up upon a theme teachers have known about for time immemorial. Labour Day is indeed the “real” New Year’s Eve. Many young people and adults make new resolutions to do better and to achieve certain goals. Others will choose a new career or again get serious with their lives. Promises in the calendar year are often linked to the new school year, revolving around our relationship with others, the community, the church and God. They often begin with the words, “This year, I am finally going to….” Well, what exactly are you promising to do?

The new Cain and Abel

{mosimage}In the bad old days, Catholics, Anglicans and Protestants in Toronto did not get along. Catholics kept to themselves, Anglicans fussed over what popish dash was allowable in church and old-style Protestants hosted Belfast-style Orange Day parades. Now Catholics marry anyone who will take them, Anglicans scooped our pretty things in the post-Vatican II sales, and there are hardly any old-style Protestants left to speak of. The Orange Day parade, strangely, remains.

No need to fear faith-based schools

{mosimage}The Toronto Star’s Web Forum was neatly categorical. The online results to the question “Should the province fund faith-based schools as John Tory has suggested?” were a staggering 71 per cent No and 28 per cent Yes. What happened to the remaining one per cent is anyone’s guess.

The Lord will protect them

{mosimage}It’s time to prepare the inevitable back to school budget and the list includes books, toys, clothes and a bullet-proof backpack.

Margaret Avison, an authentic religious poet

{mosimage}The death on July 31 of Margaret Avison — arguably Canada’s pre-eminent poet writing in English — didn’t actually dominate the national media.  In fact, it took a few days for the obituaries and tributes to make their appearance, and I couldn’t help but reflect that if Avison were not regularly defined as a religious poet and publicly identified as a Christian, her passing might have commanded greater attention.

There’s none more Irish than the Irish abroad

One of the many surprises New Brunswick had for this native Torontonian and staunch Upper Canadian is the solid Irish fact — as strong as the Acadian — that defines so much of the history and culture of the province.  Some 38 per cent of the population is of Irish ancestry and the port city of Saint John is as Irish as Cork.

Making sense of Sunday

{mosimage}On Sunday July 8, Nova Scotia went one step further down the road to making Sunday just like any other day of the week. It was inevitable. After years of attempting to control Sunday shopping, and a plebiscite in 2004 where 55 per cent of voters cast their ballots in support of a Sunday ban on shopping, the pressure became unbeatable.

Recreation leader ensured a memorable vacation

The year I turned 13, my parents booked a week at a lakefront resort, a departure from our family’s usual summer plans. This afforded us a wealth of recreational opportunities. Little did we know, though, how big a role the activities director would play in our enjoyment of them.