Get whole family involved in finances

{mosimage}TORONTO - When it comes to family finances, parents should include their children in discussions on how to cut costs, says Cynthia Kiy.

Negative talk about finances can put children in a very dangerous mindset where hopelessness and desperation can even drive them from the home, said Kiy, a social worker with Covenant House in Toronto.

Mistakes made, lessons learned at the Vatican

{mosimage}In an address to the students at the Collegio Romano in mid-February Pope Benedict XVI spoke of St. Paul’s warning in the Letter to the Galatians that Christians should not “go on biting and devouring one another.” That was not the last time the Pope invoked this Pauline admonition. He did so again in his letter to the universal episcopate (released March 12) following the imbroglio occasioned by what is now sadly dubbed the Williamson Affair.

It was a vibrating jolt emitted by my BlackBerry that stirred me back into consciousness. I had been lulled into a semi-comatose state following four hours of unremitting speechifying by various representatives of the Italian Foreign Ministry and Department of Economic Development at a specially convened summit in Rome. The intrusive e-mail was from a distinguished Rome-based journalist who forwarded a pirated and unpolished translation of a letter written by Benedict to his fellow bishops, a letter formally released the next day.

Barack Obama was the wrong choice at Notre Dame

{mosimage}Barack Obama has become a rock star of global politics, among the hottest tickets on the planet right now, but his support for abortion and stem-cell research made him an inappropriate choice to headline graduation ceremonies at a renowned Catholic institution.

The University of Notre Dame was dead wrong to invite Obama to speak at its commencement and to award him an honorary degree.

Easter Contest 2011

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Ages 6-8 Part 1

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Ages 6-8 Part 2

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Archdiocese of Toronto launches online campaign for Catholic awareness

{mosimage}What can you do in 30 seconds? A quick phone call, send an e-mail, have a brief conversation with a colleague or friend? Our staff at the archdiocese of Toronto ’s Office of Public Relations and Communications decided we’d try to reach one million people.

On the Monday of Holy Week, we launched “We Are Catholic ”, a campaign that attempts something a little different: using secular radio to speak to a diverse audience — active Catholics, lapsed Catholics and people of other faiths, or no faith at all.

Fatherhood and Christian faith

{mosimage}I sometimes have people tell me I am a good father. I usually smile and think to myself: “If only they knew.” 

I’m sure people say such things because they know I have six children and they can’t figure out how I do it. 

One morning Jennifer, my wife, announced we should do a bit of a cleanup and I should plan a trip to the dump. I wasn’t happy about the cleaning part, but I welcomed a Saturday afternoon drive. I saw myself driving up the country roads with the windows down and the radio up.

Open investigation into Development and Peace

{mosimage}When allegations surfaced that some funds from the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace were going to a group that had ties to abortion advocates, a storm of protest was met by promises from church leaders for a swift and thorough review.

Subsequent to that came additional allegations of funds going directly or indirectly to other abortion-sympathetic agencies. In response, Development and Peace suspended funding to five Mexican groups and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops announced an investigation that will see two bishops join senior staff from Development and Peace on a mission to Mexico.

Holy Land pilgrims find desire for peace

{mosimage}With the radio blaring Arabic music, we sit in the minibus, praying for a safe journey. It’s 7:30 a.m. and we are travelling from Jerusalem to Bethlehem as part of our Holy Week “backpacking pilgrimage.” No tour buses. Just us with a map and our rosaries.

We must go through the checkpoint to enter the separation barrier into the West Bank, and a part of us wonders if we will make it. Surprisingly, the two guards let us through, no questions asked. Not even a glance at our Canadian passports. It’s a relief we aren’t interrogated like our experience at Tel Aviv airport.

The separation wall, built to prevent terrorists from entering Israel, emerges into view with the graffiti of a lion devouring a bird wearing a black and white kaffiyeh (Arab headdress). This reflects what the Palestinians’ say is their life behind the wall: divided families, economic hardships and a sense of alienation.

Abstinence, fidelity and the church on AIDS prevention

{mosimage}On a plane last month taking him to Yaoundé, Cameroon, Pope Benedict XVI was asked whether the church’s approach to AIDS and HIV in Africa was realistic and effective.

First, the Holy Father explained the church’s holistic program. He pointed out how the church’s approach of dealing with ignorance and misery on many fronts is naturally different from the necessarily narrower approach of public policy. Then the Holy Father critiqued the further reduction of public policy to a single means and method: “the problem cannot be overcome by the distribution of prophylactics: on the contrary, they increase it.”

The Easter message

{mosimage}According to a recent online survey in Britain, only 22 per cent of people could identify Easter as the day Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

That’s a startling number. And even taking into account the unscientific methodology that makes Internet surveying a suspect business, the finding evokes troubling questions.

Millions of Catholics worldwide will fill churches during Holy Week to celebrate the joy of Easter. But will all of them be rejoicing the resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ?

Youth can lead today rather than tomorrow

{mosimage}Last year I wrote about my eldest daughter’s life-changing school trip to the Dominican Republic to build houses in an impoverished mountain village. She vowed it would be the first of many such endeavours.

That experience led to her involvement with Free the Children , a charitable organization involving “a network of children helping children through education.”