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Wigburg Clifford Sherwin's journey to the priesthood has been packed with miracles, the latest of which is his appointment as a pastor in Jasper 19 months ago. "I love serving here," he says. "It's a blessing to be in Jasper. I thank God for giving me a beautiful station to serve him." Father Sherwin, a native of Colombo, Sri Lanka, came to Canada in 2009. He served in High Level before being appointed to Jasper in August 2012.
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EDMONTON – Reconciliation between aboriginal and non-indigenous people in Canada will take place "if we can just stop people from being so disrespectful to each other," said the chief commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Judge Murray Sinclair opened the national TRC event in Edmonton March 27 calling for the fostering of mutual respect among Canadians. "What we need to do now is to teach our children and grandchildren and future generations how to be respectful towards each other," he said.
VANCOUVER – Scattering the cremated remains of a loved one on a mountain, lake or park might seem poetic, but the Church discourages the practice. "The Church, for reasons of respect and dignity of the body, requires that Catholics inter the full body or cremated remains in sacred ground," said Peter Nobes, director of Catholic Cemeteries of the Vancouver Archdiocese. Cremation has been allowed for Catholics since 1963.
Ethel Lamothe of Fort Simpson still remembers being taken away in a boat with other children to the residential school at Fort Providence, N.W.T., when she was five years old. "All of us children, we all started crying. Our people, way over there, were getting smaller and smaller, and were crying. It was really, really difficult." During her first 10 months at the school, Ethel only saw one adult family member – her father – once.
Catholics who attended the Truth and Reconciliation Commission national event in Edmonton say they were horrified by the stories of abuse they heard from survivors of Church-run residential schools. "I am horrified by the stories, especially of abuse and violence by the staff who ran the schools," said Archbishop Gerard Pettipas of Grouard-McLennan.
OTTAWA – The great intellectual patrimony of the Catholic Church offers everything one needs to combat the new atheists, the vice president of an American Catholic college told parents here April 2. While atheism is an old idea, what's different about the so-called "new atheists," such as Richard Dawkins and the late Christopher Hitchens, is the way they attack religious belief, said Paul O'Reilly, vice president of Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, Calif.
EDMONTON – Some testimonies given at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission event "were very painful to hear," says the superior-general of the Grey Nuns. Sister Jacqueline St-Yves said, "I think we have to accept that there were some things that were not quite right" in the running of the residential schools. The Grey Nuns worked with the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in about eight of the 15 Catholic residential schools in Alberta, St-Yves said. Altogether, more than 800 members of her order worked in about 20 different schools over many decades.
EDMONTON – The good that came out of the residential schools "came at an unbearable cost to the First Nations," says the provincial superior of the Catholic men's order that ran many of the schools. Father Ken Forster told the Truth and Reconciliation Commission March 29 that he was renewing the apology the Oblates of Mary Immaculate made to aboriginal people for their involvement in residential schools that was first offered at the 1991 Lac Ste. Anne Pilgrimage.
The surprisingly strong Quebec Liberal victory April 7 means euthanasia is off the table - for now – and signals a greater openness to religious Quebecers, say informed observers. The Quebec Liberal Party led by Philippe Couillard trounced the Parti Quebecois, winning 70 seats to the PQ's 30. The Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) won three additional seats, bringing its tally to 22, while Quebec Solidaire won three seats.
The Royal Canadian Mint unveiled gold and silver coins of Pope John Paul II to mark the pontiff's canonization April 27. "It's a good idea," said Saguenay Mayor Jean Tremblay after a ceremony in his city.