Martyrs' robes washed in blood of the Lamb

Maria Kozakiewicz
April 4, 2016
Fourth Sunday in Easter
April 17, 2016

"These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." Who are those "who have survived the time of great distress?" My first thoughts run towards persecuted Christians, especially those of our times. We read about them in the Christian press, rarely in the mass media. Their numbers are in the hundreds of thousands. Some names we know; others are known to God alone.

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Guilty bystanders can be saved by repentance

WCR Logo
April 4, 2016

St. Peter's speech on Pentecost to "men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem" is one of the most dramatic moments in the Acts of the Apostles (2.14-36). In the speech, Peter directly accuses his hearers of crucifying Jesus and then proclaims that God "raised him up." Hearing his speech, the men "were cut to the heart" and asked Peter how they could overcome their sin. "Repent and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins," Peter replied. That day, about 3,000 souls were baptized (2.37-41).

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Monthly column gives birth to 'small things'

Dr. Gerry Turcotte
April 4, 2016

One of the most unexpected joys of coming to St. Mary's University in Calgary was the opportunity to write this column. While it is a most modest affair, I confess to enjoying the process and discipline of writing a monthly reflection, and especially value the opportunity to discourse at will on whatever subject happens to take my fancy. As readers of the column will know, often that interest revolves around activities undertaken by my university.

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Will compassion for refugees open our hearts to all in need?

Bob McKeon
April 4, 2016

The desperate situation of many refugees has been in the media now for several months. The numbers are overwhelming. The image of the body of a three-year-old boy on a Mediterranean beach caught people's hearts and spirits around the world. Supported by widespread public concern, the newly-elected Liberal federal government acted quickly on its campaign promise, expediting refugee processing times, and rapidly increased the number of Syrian refugees arriving in Canada.

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Brutal persecution of Christians needs potent response

Douglas Roche
April 4, 2016

How should we respond to the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities now going on in the Middle East and Africa before our very eyes? One thing I know for certain: silence is not the answer. Matthew Fisher, a veteran Canadian correspondent, recently reported that the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) "is hell-bent on exterminating ancient Christian communities across the Middle East."

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Put on the armour of God

April 4, 2016
GLEN ARGAN
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

In his letter to the Ephesians, St. Paul advised the early Christians to put on the armour of God. With vivid metaphors, he urged them to wear the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit. In this description, one can see an obvious cut-and-paste exercise for a Sunday school class. Yet as important as the religious education of children is, Paul is here giving deadly serious advice for mature disciples (6.13-17).

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'Non-religious' artist painted works of power, intensity

March 21, 2016
NANCY WIECHEC
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

Arizona Artist Ted DeGrazia left behind a huge body of work, with religious and spiritual paintings that have been inspiring people for decades. Yet he was not a churchgoing man and thought he was not holy enough to paint for the Church. "His artwork has its own unique style," said George Maki, who was visiting DeGrazia's gallery in Tucson for the first time. Maki, and his son, Chris, both of Durango, Colo., sat in the room with the DeGrazia Way of the Cross series for half an hour.

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Lebanese group counsels refugees to end civil strife

Hussein Itani
March 21, 2016
RAMON GONZALEZ
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

After his entire family was killed in Syria, a young man ended up as a refugee in Lebanon. His middle class family used to have resources back home. Now he was alone in a new country with no money, no food and no clothes. His first thought was to avenge his family so he decided to join the so-called Islamic State. He thought ISIS would be the ideal group to join because they are "very religious" and were already fighting the Syrian regime.

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K of C report presents evidence for declaration of genocide against Christians

March 21, 2016
DENNIS SADOWSKI
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

Washington - Christians in Libya, Iraq and Syria are victims of genocide carried out by the Islamic State, says a report completed for the Knights of Columbus and In Defence of Christians. Carl Anderson, Knights of Columbus CEO, introduced the 278-page report during a March 10 news conference. The report details dozens of atrocities, Anderson said, adding that those "may only be the tip of the iceberg."

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Black Nazarene helps deepen faith in Wetaskiwin

March 21, 2016
THANDIWE KONGUAVI
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

Eddie Año's eyes brim with tears as he recounts taking part in the annual procession of Señor Nazareno in the heart of Manila. One of more than 9.3 million Filipino devotees to the statue also known as the Black Nazarene, he recalls how attendees would march barefoot, pants rolled up, clambering over each other to help carry the statue along the streets of the Quiapo district. Considered a gold mine of spiritual treasures, the Black Nazarene statue of Jesus filled Año's heart with joy when it recently arrived in Wetaskiwin.

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