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Holy Saturday is in the offing. It can be a rich day, full of spiritual contemplation. It would be such a shame to not use it as such. Guidance can often help to use this time in preparation for Easter Sunday. Franciscan Father Kevin Lynch of Mount St. Francis Retreat Centre near Cochrane muses, "A metaphor to me is bread dough. It has to sit before it rises. Be still and know that I am God." He likes words like "threshold" to describe this time, "or stillness or liminal space where something strange might be happening."
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Blessed John Paul II, who will be canonized April 27, was one of the most forceful moral leaders of the modern age. He brought a philosopher's intellect, a pilgrim's spiritual intensity and an actor's flair to his role as head of the universal Church for more than 26 years. The Polish pope was a tireless evangelizer and forceful communicator, speaking to millions in their own languages. But toward the end of his life, his powers of speech faltered with his worsening illness, which left him often unable to even murmur a blessing.
Blessed John XXIII struggled to shake off many formalities that came with the papacy and often conspired with his valet to sneak out of the Vatican. One covert road trip in the Alban Hills outside of Rome got Guido Gusso, the pope's valet, in trouble with the Italian police responsible for the pope's safety. But the security breach just made the pope chuckle – happy with their unauthorized escapade, Gusso told journalists during a news conference at Vatican Radio April 1.
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.
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.
Human life is a wondrous and beautiful gift of God. Since God has created members of the human race in his image and likeness, every man, woman and child is endowed with an inalienable dignity. In our country, we are witnesses to the sad truth that human dignity is not always honoured. The obvious and most tragic example of this is abortion. It is manifest also in embryonic stem cell research, which destroys a human embryo, and in the promotion of euthanasia and assisted suicide.
One misshapen stereotype about the Catholic Church is that following the Second Vatican Council men's and women's religious orders went squirrelly, lost their sense of identity and went into a freefall of vocations. While there is a grain of truth in the stereotype and while large numbers of men and women did leave religious life in the years following the council, the decline in religious vocations had been underway for decades.
Testimonies of residential school survivors given at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission event in Edmonton witness to the central place of God the Creator in aboriginal spirituality, Archbishop Richard Smith said March 28. That openness to the Creator allows the heart to be moved, and healing and reconciliation to take place, the archbishop said at a TRC session.
EDMONTON – Christian communities "have often fallen short of living the love and service of Jesus" in their long history of relations with indigenous peoples, says a statement of reconciliation by the Canadian Council of Churches. The Church-run Indian residential school system, in particular, "had disastrous effects on students, their families and communities," the CCC said in a statement delivered at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) national event in Edmonton March 28.