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Christians beaten to death in Pakistan

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November 17, 2014
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

Catholic leaders in Pakistan have protested the Nov. 4 beatings and burning of a young Christian couple accused of desecrating the Quran. "The government has absolutely failed to protect its citizens' right to life," said the National Commission for Justice and Peace of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Pakistan in a statement Nov. 5. Condemning the brutal killing of Shahzad Masih, 28, and his pregnant wife, Shama Bibi, 24, the NCJP said the killing of the couple at the hands of a mob was based on a "false accusation of blasphemy."

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West end francophone parish is no more

November 17, 2014
RAMON GONZALEZ
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

Members of Edmonton's Paroisse Sainte Anne are grieving the recent closure of their parish. "Even though we knew it was coming, we didn't feel good at all when the announcement was made," recalls Pauline Lambert, a parishioner for 50 years. "We lost our church, our name and our family." After almost 62 years of serving francophone Catholics in the city's west end, Paroisse Sainte Anne closed Oct. 1. For the last two years, after it lost its last worshipping space, about 30 families from Ste. Anne have been travelling downtown for Mass with parishioners at St. Joachim Parish. Despite sharing one building, the parishes kept separate operations.

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Spirited seniors gather at basilica to strengthen faith

St. Joseph's Basilica-logo-small

November 17, 2014
CHRIS MILLER
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

Elderly parishioners of St. Joseph's Basilica are gathering to socialize, strengthen their Catholic beliefs and receive spiritual guidance. Catherine Ryan and other parish seniors determined that less mobile or physically challenged seniors cannot always get out as often as they would like. "Wintertime in the city, they slide down sidewalks and maybe even not drive, so although they have Communion taken to them, they love to get to Mass. So we thought once a month, a spiritual experience such as this would be welcomed," said Ryan.

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Historian takes hard look at Budka's accomplishments

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November 17, 2014
RAMON GONZALEZ
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

Bishop Nykyta Budka dedicated much of his life to preserving the faith of Ukrainian Catholics in Canada. But because of his personal failings, he was often seen as a negative force in Canadian history. However, Vatican-based author and researcher Rev. Dr. Athanasius McVay sees him as an important figure in Ukrainian, Canadian and Catholic history. In fact, he says, Budka's story can be described as a life of obedience, work, and love of the Lord and God's pilgrim people. McVay is the author of the new biography God's Martyr, History's Witness: Blessed Nykyta Budka the First Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Bishop of Canada. It is the most complete book on Budka and was commissioned by Canada's Ukrainian bishops in commemoration of Budka's arrival in Canada in December 1912. After Budka was beatified in 2001, the bishops realized they needed a complete biography of the man.

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Ukraine election solid step toward reform, democracy

November 17, 2014
CINDY WOODEN
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

VATICAN CITY – With international observers reporting largely free and fair parliamentary elections in Ukraine, hopes increased that promised reforms would follow, including an end to high levels of government corruption. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which sent hundreds of observers for the Oct. 26 election, said the voting "marked an important step in consolidating democratic elections." Archbishop Thomas Gullickson, the Vatican's nuncio to Ukraine, said Oct. 29 the international observers' positive assessment of the election "gives reason for rejoicing in another step forward in the democratic process." "Despite the hesitation of many to go and vote, given all the disillusionment of even the recent past, I would have to see the results at the polls as an affirmation on the part of the country to set a course for rule by law and democracy," Gullickson said in an email.

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'Flying Dutchman' had passion for liturgy, history

Br. Donatus Vervoort (2005)

November 17, 2014
LASHA MORNINGSTAR
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

Smiles filled his voice as Father Shayne Craig chuckled, "I used to call him the Flying Dutchman because he was all over the place." The man he was referring to was Brother Donatus Vervoort who died Oct. 28 at 83 years of age. For decades, Donatus' lively passion for liturgical music and Church history enriched students at Newman Theological College and St. Joseph's College at the University of Alberta. Added to that was a love for gardening, which provided tonnes of food for the hungry over the years. But what local Catholics will most remember about "the Flying Dutchman" was his awesome levels of energy and generosity.

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Natural environment honours the divine mystery, says cleric

Archdeacon John Chryssagis

November 17, 2014
RAMON GONZALEZ
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

We must stop polluting the air we breathe and the water we drink, and restore a sense of awe and delight in our relationship to the world, says Father John Chryssaygis. Speaking about the environment, Chryssaygis said people must respond to nature with the same delicacy, the same sensitivity and the same tenderness with which they respond to another human being. "Do we honestly believe that our endless and mindless manipulation of our planet and the earth's resources somehow will come without consequences?" asked the archdeacon, who is a theological advisor on environmental issues to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

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Outspoken U.S. cardinal shuffled out of key post

Cardinal Raymond Burke

November 17, 2014
FRANCIS ROCCA
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis removed U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke, 66, as head of the Vatican's highest court and named him to a largely ceremonial post for a chivalric religious order. Burke, formerly prefect of the Apostolic Signature, will now serve as cardinal patron of the Knights and Dames of Malta, the Vatican announced Nov. 8. The move had been widely expected since an Italian journalist reported it in September, and the cardinal himself confirmed it to reporters the following month.

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Winter settles in on displaced Iraqis

November 17, 2014
DALE GAVLAK
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

Sister Habiba's kindly face is etched with sadness as she surveys the muddy field in Ainkawa, Iraq, where dozens of tents sheltering displaced Iraqi Christians once stood. Cold, punishing rains and blustery wind swept through the encampment Oct. 20, earlier than expected for winter, crashing down the tents in the dead of night. Shoes, slippers and toys were strewn about, stuck in the muddy mess, signaling the mad dash for safety.

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Homeless Iraqi Christians face uncertain future

Abu and Um Sabah

November 17, 2014
DALE GAVLAK
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

The last thing Abu Sabah ever pictured in his life was being homeless and living in a tent in a park somewhere. But that is exactly what he and his family are experiencing in Ainkawa, a Christian enclave outside of Irbil, the capital of the Kurdistan area of northern Iraq. Sabah, a Syriac Catholic from the predominately Christian town of Qaraqosh, a 45-minute drive away, had a good job, a big house, a car and was surrounded by a strong family community until Islamic State militants swept through the town Aug. 6, turning their world upside down.

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