Columns

From the category archives: Columns

Bob McKeon

Sister left lasting legacy in inner city

Bob McKeon
December 21, 2015

I am now at an age where I regularly read the obituary notices in the Edmonton Journal each morning looking for familiar names. Last month I saw the obituary notice for Sister Mary Leo Kirwin, a Sister of St. Joseph, who died in London, Ont., at the age of 93. The obituary notice took me back over 30 years when we served together on a community board in the first years of the Edmonton Inner City Housing Society (EICHS).

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Gaudium et Spes gave rise to a new era

Bob McKeon
December 7, 2015

Fifty years ago this month, the document Gaudium et Spes (The Church in the Modern World) was approved and promulgated on the last day before the close of Vatican II. After four years of difficult council debates, 97 per cent of the council bishops voted in favour of the final text. It was an historic and unprecedented document. All the other Vatican II documents began as drafts prepared by the Curia prior to the start of the council.

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TRC follow up: Taking the Call to Action seriously

Bob McKeon
November 9, 2015

Last month, I attended an Edmonton conference called the Call to Action Summit. It was organized to mobilize local community support for the 94 Calls to Action contained in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report presented in Ottawa last June. The Summit was organized by a group of indigenous and non-indigenous agencies working together with support from the city and the provincial governments.

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Pope Francis asks us to walk the talk

Bob McKeon
October 12, 2015

I retired from my position at the Social Justice Office at the Edmonton Archdiocese last June. My last public job responsibility was to assist with presenting Pope Francis' new encyclical Laudato si to the Edmonton media. This meant studying the preparatory materials and speed reading the encyclical text just prior to its date of publication. Since then, Laudato si continues to be very much part of my life as I am being asked to dig deeper into this remarkable document, and to help lead study sessions with different Catholic and ecumenical groups.

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Discerning signs of the times for voters

Bob McKeon
September 14, 2015

The federal election is now well underway. We regularly hear party leaders and local candidates asking for our vote. The phrase "discerning the signs of the times," introduced by Pope John XXIII is apt here. What are the urgent issues of our day that the Spirit is calling us to speak to and act upon? One practical way we can do this is through participation and casting our ballot in the current federal election.

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Catholics, Church urged to respond to TRC's call to action

Bob McKeon
August 17, 2015

Early this past June, I found I was in Ottawa at the same time as the concluding events of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). Since I had been involved with the Alberta National TRC event held in Edmonton a year earlier, I took advantage of the opportunity to attend this historic event. A special Catholic liturgy was held the previous Saturday at St. Joseph's Church, the historic Oblate parish in Ottawa.

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Read encyclical and start dialogue on planet's future

Bob McKeon
July 13, 2015

On June 18, Pope Francis' long awaited encyclical Laudato Si' was released. The buildup and public anticipation preceding the actual publication was unprecedented. The release date was advertised ahead of time. There was even the intrigue over the early publication of a leaked text. U.S. presidential candidates debated its message before they had even read it.

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Romero's life raises issue of how to be voice of the voiceless

Bob McKeon
June 15, 2015

A couple of weeks ago, I joined a group who had gathered at Providence Centre to celebrate the beatification of Archbishop Oscar Romero. We were able to watch a live broadcast of the beatification liturgy from San Salvador on a large screen TV. Many in the group had immigrated to Edmonton from El Salvador, fleeing from the persecution and the violence of a harsh military dictatorship.

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TRC draws to a close, but aboriginal issues remain unresolved

Bob McKeon

May 18, 2015

In a few weeks, in Ottawa, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) will come to a close. On June 1 the TRC will present its final report. There will be formal closing ceremonies at Rideau Hall on June 2. These events will mark an important moment in the long, challenging story of the Indian residential schools, and of everyone associated with the schools.

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Way of the Cross spurs Gospel reflection

Bob McKeon
April 20, 2015

Over the years, participation in Edmonton's Outdoor Way of the Cross on Good Friday morning has very much become part of my life. In the beginning years, the route was downtown, the first year going over the High Level Bridge as far as the University Hospital. More recently, the event has found its home in the inner city, with the procession this year starting and ending at Hope Mission, the largest homeless shelter in the city.

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