Orthodox council flounders as 4 churches back out

June 27, 2016
CINDY WOODEN
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

Orthodox patriarchs and primates are holding their first pan-Orthodox council in 1,200 years, but several Orthodox churches, including the largest, have refused to attend. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople has urged leaders of Orthodox churches to join him for the Great and Holy Council of the Orthodox Church. Four of the churches - the Antiochian, Bulgarian, Georgian and Russian Orthodox - announced they would not attend the gathering running from June 19 to 26 on the Greek island of Crete.

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St. Joseph's Oratory to get major upgrades

June 27, 2016
PHILIPPE VAILLANCOURT
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

Canada's most visited Catholic shrine is about to get a facelift. St. Joseph's Oratory, managed by the Congregation of the Holy Cross, will see $80 million in upgrades and new installations in a five-year project set to begin in 2017. The project includes a 360-degree observatory that will allow visitors to see as far as the American border 65 kms away.

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Remote Scottish monastery becomes place of renewal

Iona Abbey
June 27, 2016
JONATHAN LUXMOORE
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

On the rocky shoreline of the Hebridean island of Iona, a rambling grey-stone abbey stands amid wind-tossed purple heather, surrounded by Celtic crosses and ancient earthworks. When the Irish St. Columba settled here with a dozen monks in the sixth century, it was a dangerous, forbidding place, peopled by Pictish tribes and feuding warlords. Today, in peaceful times, it's still a stark setting for religious contemplation.

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Vatican urges bishops to respect gifts of new Church movements

June 27, 2016
CINDY WOODEN
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

Local bishops have an obligation to welcome new movements and communities and guide them, while the groups have an obligation to obey the local bishop and avoid the appearance of setting up a parallel church, said a new Vatican document. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's letter to bishops around the world on "the relationship between hierarchical and charismatic gifts in the life and mission of the Church" was released June 14.

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Algonquin women say Mother Earth important in building reconciliation

Verna McGregor
June 27, 2016
DEBORAH GYAPONG
CANADIAN CATHOLIC NEWS

OTTAWA - First Nations peoples and Canadians are on a path toward reconciliation, but can only achieve that goal if both parties work together, says the executive director of the First Nations Confederacy of Cultural Education Centres. "The time is now to build a better country," said Claudette Commanda, a member of the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation near Maniwaki, Quebec, and a former University of Ottawa law professor. "We must do so for our children."

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Sculptor being formed for priesthood

June 27, 2016
CAROL GLATZ
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

In the small dormitory room that smelled of moist modelling clay, dozens of statues of a laughing Jesus lined wooden shelves against a wall. The small plaster statuettes showed the Lord reclining on the ground against a rock, his eyes pinched tight and his hand on his chest, which was inflated with a hearty hoot. "As students become deacons, I give them one," said Edward Gibney, 54, a Canadian seminarian and sculptor from Saskatoon.

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Howe great in graciousness as well as in hockey

June 27, 2016
MIKE STECHSCHULTE
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

He was Mr. Hockey, but he was also Mr. Family. That's what Father J.J. Mech will take away from his experiences with Gordie Howe, the hockey legend who died June 10 at age 88. "I think that's probably what he was the most proud of, to be honest," said Mech, rector of the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament and a long-time friend of the Howe family. "Even though he was Mr. Hockey, I think they were his real gift, his family. And I think he recognized it. I find that to be a testimony to who he is."

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Church puts priority on God's mercy, says scripture scholar

June 27, 2016
BETH GRIFFIN
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

The motif of God's mercy is not a minor key but "the ground melody of the Bible and Christian heritage," according to Passionist Father Donald Senior, one of America's leading Scripture scholars. "Jesus Christ is the face of the Father's mercy. These words might well sum up the mystery of the Christian faith," Senior said. Yet, there are serious voices in the Church today who are uncomfortable with such an emphasis on mercy, he told participants at the New York Catholic Bible Summit June 18.

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Religions responsible for building bridges of understanding, love

WCR Logo
June 27, 2016

The prayer Jesuit Father Patrick Conroy, chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives, offered at a prayer vigil for the victims of the mass murder at a gay nightclub was straightforward. Conroy called for peace and an end to "violence against populations of people who are identifiable for who they are, whom they love, what they believe or what race they belong to." He also called on God to give us the grace to "build a world where no person needs to fear violence."

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Spiritual connection offered by a great hamburger

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi
June 27, 2016

The spiritual writer, Tom Stella, tells a story about three monks at prayer in their monastery chapel. The first monk imagines himself being carried up to heaven by the angels. The second monk imagines himself already in heaven, chanting God's praises with the angels and saints. The third monk cannot focus on any holy thoughts, but can only think about the great hamburger he had eaten just before coming to chapel. That night, when the devil was filing his report for the day, he wrote: "Today I tried to tempt three monks, but I only succeeded with two of them."

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