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HAVANA - Although it was not part of his formal program, Pope Francis took time after Sunday Mass to visit Cuba's ailing 89-year-old former leader, Fidel Castro. Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said after the Mass Sept. 20 in Havana's Revolution Square, Pope Francis was driven to the residence for the informal meeting, which lasted 30-40 minutes.
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The Edmonton Catholic School Board needlessly undermined Catholic teaching and its own credibility with a chaotic discussion at its Sept. 15 meeting aimed at meeting the needs of a transgendered student. Board chair Debbie Engel's assurances a week later that the school district is meeting the student's needs and will soon approve a policy dealing specifically with transgendered children should help to calm the storm.
The chair of the board of Edmonton Catholic Schools is promising a new transgender policy by October. Debbie Engel said she recently assured Education Minister David Eggen that there will be consensus on a transgender policy at the October board meeting.
Fifty-one year old Somali refugee Abdi Mahdi is one of 25 students taking an English class offered by the Jesuit Refugee Service in the Kobe refugee camp. He's also one of nearly 42,000 refugees in this particular camp located about three kms from the border between Ethiopia and Somalia.
In November 1964, Archbishop Anthony Jordan phoned to ask if I would be interested in visiting Edmonton to examine how the archdiocese could better communicate the startling developments of the Second Vatican Council. I was then living in New Jersey, where I was associate editor of The Sign, a Catholic monthly with a large circulation in the U.S. His call caught me in a reflective moment, for I was thinking of returning to my native Canada.
The Sisters of Holy Cross laugh as they recall the time a young Sister Liliane Mercier was put in as goalie in a university soccer match, stopping the ball with her long habit. The sisters, in their distinctive religious black dress, were part of the setting across the University of Alberta campus starting in the 1950s, often taking classes themselves, teaching, being a witness to male and female students, and providing a safe refuge for those girls on campus who lived in their residence house, St. Jude's.
Near the end of his Gospel, St. John writes, "Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may come to have life in his name" (20.30-31).