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Pope Francis pushes for unity

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew

December 15, 2014
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

In reaching full unity with Orthodox Christians, "the Catholic Church does not intend to impose any conditions except that of the shared profession of faith," Pope Francis said Nov. 30. In a liturgy in Istanbul, Turkey, attended by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the pope assured Orthodox Christians they would not lose their distinctive forms of worship, spirituality and governance in a reunion with Rome. Full communion between the churches "means neither submission of one to the other nor absorption, but rather welcoming of all the gifts that God has given to each to show the whole world the great mystery of salvation realized by Christ the Lord through the Holy Spirit," the pope said.

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Canadian synod delegates to be chosen in spring

December 15, 2014
DEBORAH GYAPONG
CANADIAN CATHOLIC NEWS

OTTAWA – By the end of March, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) will choose four delegates and two alternates to attend the ordinary synod on the family in Rome in October 2015. The names of delegates, two from the English sector and two from the French sector, and one alternate from each, will not be revealed until after Pope Francis approves them, said Archbishop Paul-André Durocher. The United States bishops' conference chose its delegates at its recent plenary this fall, but the next CCCB plenary won't take place until next September. Usually, Canada's delegates for synods are chosen at the bishops' annual plenary assembly in the fall.

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Church needs images that show beauty of its teaching

Archbishop Paul-André Durocher

December 15, 2014
GLEN ARGAN
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

The Catholic Church needs to find images and metaphors that will better communicate "the rich heritage which is ours" on marriage and family issues, said Archbishop Paul-André Durocher. Durocher told Catholic communicators that the Church tends to present its teachings in terms of laws and structures, but it should be making clear that faithfulness, fruitfulness and the indissolubility of marriage are "gifts that God gives to humanity." Durocher, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, said there is "a disconnect" between the contemporary view of the family, at least in the Western world, and the Christian understanding of family.

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Autistic parishioners should be seen as valued contributors

Alessia Mussol

December 15, 2014
MICHAEL SWAN
THE CATHOLIC REGISTER

If every Catholic is supposed to go to Mass on Sunday, Pope Francis wants every one of them to be well and truly welcomed when they get there – including the ones who randomly shout, rock back and forth in the pew, moan or unexpectedly laugh. Every family with an autistic child needs to feel at home in church, Pope Francis told 700 participants at a three-day conference Nov. 21-23 on autism organized by the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry in Rome. "Everyone should be committed to promoting acceptance, encounter and solidarity through concrete support and by encouraging renewed hope," said the pope.

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Nuncio urges growth in religious vocations

December 15, 2014
CANADIAN CATHOLIC NEWS

OTTAWA – As Pope Francis inaugurated the Year of Consecrated Life Nov. 30, Canada's apostolic nuncio exhorted Canadian religious to build a culture of vocations. Archbishop Luigi Bonazzi urged Canada's religious men and women to not be afraid to make a courageous and direct call to young people. "Go among the youth," he wrote in a document entitled Take Care of Vocations. "Go personally to them and call."

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Catholics, Muslims strive for neighbourliness

Interfaith Gathering logo

December 15, 2014
RAMON GONZALEZ
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

Catholics and Muslims have a similar mission. Both faiths want to bring people to God and both want to enrich human culture with their values. That's one conclusion drawn by leaders of the two faiths at the first annual Interfaith Gathering at the Matrix Hotel Nov. 25. Julien Hammond, ecumenical and interreligious officer for the Edmonton Archdiocese, and Ryan Carter, a Muslim chaplain with the Canadian Armed Forces Edmonton, addressed the topic Living as Neighbours in the Global Community of Edmonton.

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Traveling icon stirs devotion to Joseph

St. Joseph the Worker icon

December 15, 2014
RAMON GONZALEZ
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

The visit of the icon of St. Joseph the Worker to parishes and schools across the Edmonton Archdiocese brought awareness about the role of St. Joseph and increased devotion to the diocese's patron saint. In mid-November, the icon and historical exhibit created for the Jubilee 100 Year ended an 18-month journey to more than 70 parishes across the archdiocese as well as Catholic schools, festivals and youth rallies.

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School district names its newest schools

December 15, 2014
LASHA MORNINGSTAR
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

EDMONTON – After naming its new schools for local Catholic personalities in recent years, Edmonton Catholic Schools will turn to a mix of the local and traditional in school names when a batch of newly-approved schools open in 2016. "We do not have any set policy," says Lori Nagy, Edmonton Catholic Schools Manager of Media and Community Relations. "When we are looking for names we post information on our district website asking people to send in their submission, there is a deadline date and the board will review those names. Of course, the archbishop is also involved."

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No Room in the Inn supports housing for mentally ill

No Room in the Inn logo

December 15, 2014
LASHA MORNINGSTAR
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

Joseph's face saddened as he turned and walked out of the inn. No room. Again. Yet Mary, heavy with child, was about to give birth. Finally he turned to the only shelter he could see – the stable behind the inn. Warmed by the heat of the stable animals, a bed of soft straw, and Mary, surrounded by the animals, gave birth to her son, Our Saviour, Jesus. Cradling her child, Mary wrapped him in strips of cloth and laid him in the manger. And love surrounded him.

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Muslims, Jews, Christians meet to promote peace

Yasmeen Quraishi Nizam

December 15, 2014
RAMON GONZALEZ
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

As war rages in the Middle East and racial tensions heighten in the United States, leaders of the Christian, Muslim and Jewish faiths condemned violence and spoke of peace at Edmonton City Hall Dec. 6. The event, titled Voices of Peace from Abraham's Children, was sponsored by the Phoenix Multi-Faith Society for Harmony, an Edmonton group whose goal is to promote bridge-building and understanding among Christians, Muslims and Jews. "I feel that Islam, the religion that defines me, has been unjustifiably hijacked by (extremists)," said Yasmeen Quraishi Nizam, presiding co-chair of the society and the event's emcee.

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