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For more than 50 years in the service of the Gospel of our Lord, the Western Catholic Reporter has provided news and commentary to the People of God in this archdiocese and beyond. Thanks to the professionalism and dedication of Glen Argan and his staff, the paper has developed a rich legacy of journalistic excellence, recognized through many industry awards.
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You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig. Pasting a happy face over the closure of the Western Catholic Reporter is not in my repertoire. I wish the Edmonton Archdiocese all the best in its new communications ventures; I hope it develops effective means of evangelization and of challenging our culture. It's a culture that puts too much emphasis on things and not enough on the human person raised to glory by Jesus Christ.
After 24 years I almost feel like this story should start like an episode of Star Wars. "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away . . .". Working 24 years for the Western Catholic Reporter has been both an honour and a privilege for me. I've served three bishops, seen a number of reporters come and go, and for me the best was working for only one editor - Glen Argan. His leadership has allowed me to grow and use the skills I acquired.
The bishops of Alberta and Northwest Territories have issued pastoral guidelines on how to accompany divorced and remarried Catholics to ensure they are reintegrated into the Church. This accompaniment, however, does not include allowing divorced and remarried couples to receive Holy Communion without a decree of nullity from the marriage tribunal. "It may happen that, through media, friends or family, couples have been led to understand that there has been a change in practice by the Church, such that now the reception of Holy Communion at Mass by persons who are divorced and civilly remarried is possible if they simply have a conversation with a priest," said the document, signed by six bishops.
A small group of Edmonton Christians took part in an ecumenical prayer walk on the grounds of the Pastoral Administration Offices to observe the World Day of Prayer for Care of Creation Sept. 1 The group began the walk at St. Francis de Sales Chapel and stopped four times for prayer along the way, including a stop in front of the large statue of Christ the Teacher, west of Newman Theological College, and another in front of the statue of St. Francis of Assisi, just south of the college.
Brother Joseph Glaab's journey to donning the Franciscans' robe and way of life was a weaving of choices and circumstances. The 55-year-old man made his final vows Aug. 19 in St. Mary's Catholic Church in Cochrane. The roots of his faith were planted during his childhood. Born in Guelph, Ont., to Joseph Sr. and Mary Glaab, he is the eldest of seven children.
The Church is more, much more, than a doctrine or a document. The Church has the life of a community coursing through its veins. For 51 years, the Western Catholic Reporter chronicled the life of the local Church, the Canadian Church and the global Church. Its vocation was to have the smell of the sheep of which Pope Francis speaks so often.
I've always have had a dickens of a time saying goodbye. But here goes. My past 15 years here at the WCR have been good ones, a time when the stories we ran opened hearts, nourished people's faith. It was an unlikely place for me to come to after my years in the secular press. I won national awards there and enjoyed my profession.
I was 18 and had just finished my first year of a two-year journalism program at what was then Grant MacEwan Community College. I hadn't lined up a summer job, so I was doing what most teenagers do - sleeping in till noon. The phone rang, and Mom came in to wake me up and tell me it was Vic Misutka, editor of the Western Catholic Reporter, asking if I'd be interested in working there for the summer. Our families belonged to the same parish, so he must have heard somehow about my field of study, and he was generous enough to give me a chance.
At a joyful celebration attended by clergy from various parts of Canada as well as the new bishops' former parishioners, Basilian Father Robert Kasun, former pastor at Edmonton's St. Alphonsus and St. Clare parishes, was ordained auxiliary bishop of the Toronto Archdiocese. Toronto Cardinal Thomas Collins, a former archbishop of Edmonton, presided at the Sept. 12 ordination. St. Joseph Basilica exploded in applause to congratulate the humble new bishop, who is slowly accepting his call to higher office.
With psalms praising the marvels of God's creation and prayers begging God's help to end the selfishness that destroys the earth and harms the poor, Pope Francis led vespers for the Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. During the evening service Sept. 1 in St. Peter's Basilica, the pope prayed to God, "Pour out your spirit of wisdom upon us so that we would safeguard the gifts of your providence for the good of each person and every generation."
Parents, students and teachers beamed with excitement as they arrived at St. Brendan Elementary/Junior High Catholic School for the first day of classes. The new principal, Dale Astill, welcomed almost everybody with a handshake and a wide smile. Most looked with admiration at the $20-million building, which was built over the past two years as a replacement school for the now-closed St. Kevin and St. James schools.
The close of the Western Catholic Reporter fills my heart with sorrow. The paper means a lot to me, but my feelings reach beyond personal considerations. Time, as is often said, marches on. And with different eras come different sets of practicalities and different visions.
Shortly after I graduated from the University of Alberta with a bachelor's degree in translation, I moved to Japan as part of a government program to have native speakers help teach English to Japanese students. One of the things that hits you hardest when living in a foreign country is the importance of communication. People everywhere have a strong desire to connect to each other, to share joys, to share pains, to share news and opinions, to pass thoughts and feelings from one soul to another.
VATICAN CITY - Religions can play an important role in protecting the environment and defending human rights in their countries, their communities and their schools, Pope Francis said. "I believe we are still at a nursery-school level in this. That is, in incorporating responsibility not only as a subject, but as (a matter of) conscience as part of holistic education," the pope said Sept. 8.
EDMONTON - The Bishops of Alberta and Northwest Territories have issued pastoral guidelines for clergy dealing with Catholics who are considering euthanasia or assisted suicide. The complex document explains eligibility to sacraments such as Penance and Anointing of the Sick. It also discusses whether Catholics who have chosen to die by euthanasia or assisted suicide should receive a Catholic funeral. "In our day a priest may encounter a penitent who has officially requested physician-assisted suicide or euthanasia," the document says.
VATICAN CITY - Calling for concrete actions that benefit human life and the environment, Pope Francis proposed adding the care and protection of creation to the traditional list of corporal and spiritual works of mercy. As a spiritual work of mercy, the pope said, care for creation requires "a grateful contemplation of God's world."
Returning to the classroom after four months away is providing a sense of normalcy to the Catholic education community in Fort McMurray. "It was such a warm day, lots of hugs, lots of smiles, lots of reconnecting" when school resumed on Sept. 6, said Leslie McPherson, co-principal of Father Turcotte Catholic School in the city that was threatened with extinction in the spring when a raging wildfire forced the evacuation of the city's inhabitants.
Michael Moya could not understand why his body was covered with red dots. He was a healthy 25-year-old co-op engineering student. It was August 2011 and he was concentrating on his work. So he ignored the spots. "But one Friday morning I started to feel dizzy," Moya said to the audience at the Sept. 10 Edmonton charismatic prayer breakfast.