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While video and photos of the raging inferno which destroyed much of Fort McMurray were being flashed around the world, Jason and Katharine Campbell and their two sons were expressing gratitude for all that they still have. "We've been focusing on gratitude because it's easy to relive the horror stories and relive the disappointment and the fear," Katharine said following a May 8 Mass for evacuees at Edmonton's Resurrection Church.
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A smiling St. Joseph's College employee poked her head around Danica Wolitski's door and said, "We've got another family with three children" "Great," said Wolitski. The translation of that triumphant discourse means a family fleeing the firestorm ravaging Fort McMurray has found safe housing here in Edmonton. The housing comes from vacant apartments at the new women's residence (dubbed the Ilanders) at St. Joseph's College on the University of Alberta campus.
LAC LA BICHE - Father Andrew Schoenberger calls himself an evacuee just like the more than 80,000 other people driven from Fort McMurray in the wildfire than emptied the city. However, unlike many others, he's not looking for a place to put up his feet until he can return to his regular job. The work of a priest never ends. "A shepherd should be with his sheep," says the young pastor of Fort McMurray's St. John the Baptist Parish.
I was probably like everyone else. I was glued to the news in horror watching the fires in Fort McMurray, one hand on the remote and one hand on my rosary. Unlike others though, I can close my eyes and remember what a forest fire smells and sounds like. I may not look like it now, but when I was younger, I was a trained forester. My university classes in forestry may have taught me how to cut a fireline, but they couldn't have prepared me for the sound a tree makes right before it explodes.
Throughout his pontificate, Pope Francis has been sharing a theology of tears: tears of compassion, compunction and consolation. Although Pope Francis does not mask his emotions in public, he rarely is seen to cry. One exception was in Albania in September 2014 when he came face to face with a priest who had been imprisoned and tortured for his faith under the country's communist regime.
Students and staff at St. John XXIII Catholic School in Fort Saskatchewan were overjoyed to receive Archbishop Richard Smith. "I'm thrilled," said nine-year-old Gretchen Lukie. "It's like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It's super exciting." "I feel really happy I met the archbishop," added Kyan Selte, also nine. "It could be my only time meeting the archbishop."
In my last two articles, I argued that Jesus is portrayed in Matthew's Gospel as a firm adherent of the Jewish Law while Luke presents Jesus as primarily concerned with outreach to sinners, the blind and other marginalized people. On that basis, one might expect Matthew to be less hostile to the Pharisees - the purported great followers of the Law - than was Luke. In fact, the opposite is the case. Matthew has Jesus launch an extended vitriolic attack on the Pharisees who had clearly set out to destroy him. Luke, while not a fan of the Pharisees, presents them in a more nuanced way.