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Visiting people with intellectual disabilities in institutions in the early 1960s, Canadian philosopher Jean Vanier was profoundly disturbed. Cast away from mainstream society and abandoned to institutional life, the handicapped people were lonely and their lives seemed aimless. In 1964, Vanier responded by taking Raphael Simi and Philippe Seux into his rundown home in Trosly-Breuil, France. His home was named L'Arche, or The Ark. Other townsfolk saw what Vanier was doing for people with developmental disabilities, and they soon wanted to do the same.
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VATICAN CITY – The Catholic Church is no place for "climbers," who want to reach the heights of prestige, power and profit, Pope Francis said. Instead of putting their sights on the Church, such people should set off for the Alps for a healthier way to get to the top, the pope said May 5 during his homily at Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae. He also raised a red flag against "many good Catholics" and benefactors, who have raised money for the Church, but profited handsomely from their efforts, even with so-called dirty money.
TORONTO – When Canada's Catholic bishops last year spoke out on the environment they were hoping they wouldn't have the last word on the subject. Now a Catholic video production company along with its supporters are hoping to get Catholic students and parishioners talking with the launch of Green Spirit TV. The inspiration for Green Spirit TV is the April 2013 statement from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops' justice and peace commission, Building a New Culture: Central Themes in Recent Church Teaching on the Environment.
The Edmonton Archdiocese wants to involve everybody in its response to Pope Francis' call for discernment, purification and reform. Archbishop Richard Smith made that announcement May 3 at the annual meeting of the Council of Consecrated Women. He has already created a 10-member committee with representatives from all sectors of archdiocese. The team will get together once a month for the next year beginning next month.
The Western Catholic Reporter has been honoured with awards in seven categories by the Canadian Church Press. The WCR led the way with four awards for newspaper design, including three first-place honours, at the ceremony held as part of the CCP's annual meeting in Winnipeg May 1 to 3. Included in those first-place honours was one shared by editor Glen Argan and news editor Lasha Morningstar for the best layout and design of an entire edition of the newspaper.
EDMONTON – Catholic Social Services will honour Oblate Father Brian Jayawardhana with its Msgr. Bill Irwin Award of Excellence at the agency's annual meeting in June. Jayawardhana, 76, has served with CSS since arriving in Canada from his native Sri Lanka in 1976. The organization will honour him with its top award because of his academic contributions to the study of people with developmental disabilities and for his exceptional service to CSS and the community as a whole.
Kevin Midbo has vivid memories of the legendary Prague Picnics held in the Prague District southwest of Viking. "The crowds of people, lines of cars, tables of food and celebratory atmosphere are easily recalled," he writes. Midbo started attending in the 1960s with his parents Ken and Marion Midbo and his sisters Kathy and Tracy. However, he was an outsider at the picnics. "I didn't live in the Prague District and we were Lutherans, not Catholic. But we were welcomed, along with hundreds of others, into the picnic fold."
The remains of British Columbia's aborted and miscarried children are ending up in an Oregon waste-to-power plant, likely mixed with everyday trash, incinerated to provide electricity to the people of Marion County. So admits the B.C. Health Ministry. Though no ministry official was willing to put his or her name to the following statement, the communications branch emailed The B.C. Catholic that "biomedical waste," including "human tissue, such as surgically removed cancerous tissue, amputated limbs, and fetal tissue," is "disposed of through appropriate contracted providers."
Human beings are "built to give love and to receive love," says an American author who has worked with European refugees and the inner city poor. "This is a broken world and we are sent to be ambassadors of love to each other," says Barbara Elliot, the keynote speaker to the Women of Dignity Conference at Edmonton Hotel and Conference Centre May 3. Elliott, a Catholic who teaches at Baptist University in Houston, said it's countercultural to be Catholic in today's society. Yet, Christ is the head of it all and he empowers us to be his agents.
Edmonton's Bernadette Gasslein is the winner of this year's prestigious Association of Roman Catholic Communicators of Canada (ARCCC) award. But that is not surprising, since over the years, the Catholic journalist has racked up 59 awards for her writing. "It's a pretty good track record," she admits. ARCCC is the national organization of Catholic "communicators," meaning those working in a variety of communications ministries ranging from the public relations offices of various Church organizations to Church-based media.