WCR This Week

Jay's Articles

Church criminally neglects to discuss mercy, says Kasper

Cardinal Walter Kasper

May 26, 2014
BETH GRIFFIN
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

Mercy, the "most central attribute of God," has been criminally neglected as a topic in the Church, says Cardinal Walter Kasper, a theologian and retired president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. Mercy without justice is "cheap grace," Kasper said in a recent talk at Jesuit-run Fordham University in New York. God's mercy is a mirror of his love to people coming from a dark 20th century with two world wars that killed millions of people, into a new century that began with the Sept. 11 attacks, Kasper said.

Franciscan brother opts for priesthood

Br. Joachim Ostermann

May 26, 2014
LASHA MORNINGSTAR
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

Once again, Brother Joachim Ostermann came to a life-changing decision at a retreat. It was during that silence, that protective barrier against life's distractions, that Ostermann decided, "Yes, I want to be ordained. From that point on, I always felt, 'Yes, I want to be a priest.'" It was at another retreat many years ago that Ostermann felt the first call from God, left the world of biotechnology and became a Franciscan. Now he is on the brink of ordination as a priest.

He fought the Lord and the Lord won

Deacon Kris Schmidt

May 26, 2014
RAMON GONZALEZbr />WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

The call to priesthood came almost as a surprise to Kris Schmidt, who as a young man was carving a different niche for himself. He had a girlfriend, played hockey and dreamed of becoming a medical doctor when God came knocking. He fought the call, but God proved stronger. Now, after six years of seminary studies, Schmidt will be ordained a priest June 27 at St. Joseph's Basilica. Archbishop Richard Smith will preside at his ordination ceremony. Schmidt feels both excitement and apprehension at his upcoming ordination. "I'll be 28 years old shortly after my ordination and, at 28, I still feel a bit like a kid sometimes and I am being given this very adult responsibility."

Sr. Mary Clare heard God's melody playing in her heart

Sr. Mary Clare Stack

May 26, 2014
CHRIS MILLER
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

Born in Calgary and raised in Edmonton, Sister Mary Clare Stack grew up in a large Catholic family. Both in elementary school and in junior high, she was asked whether she had ever thought about religious life. She dismissed the idea completely. However, in Grade 12, despite dating a "good Catholic guy" at the time, she said, "There was a magnet in my heart that was pulling me towards religious life. I could not shut that out."

Basilians at St. Joe's College drew local man to the priesthood

Fr. Warren Schmidt

May 26, 2014
CHRIS MILLER
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

Warren Roger Schmidt, who grew up in Sherwood Park, has been ordained a Basilian priest. Schmidt was ordained May 10 at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Sherwood Park. "This was the parish I grew up in since I was 12 years old. I also belong to a religious order (the Basilians) and not to the diocese so I asked to be ordained in my home parish, the parish which my parents and family are still active in," said Schmidt. Early on, he decided he wanted to belong to a religious order, rather than a diocese. His great aunt is a Holy Cross sister, and at first he considered joining the Holy Cross order. Then he met some Basilians, and they treated him graciously.

After move from N.S., Frasers said, 'Here we are, Lord'

Hyland Fraser

May 26, 2014
RAMON GONZALEZ
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

At an age when most people would rather retire and spend their days playing golf, Hyland Fraser is embarking on a new venture. The 67-year-old home builder is becoming a permanent deacon, one of three men Archbishop Richard Smith will ordain May 31. "I find it very humbling to be called to the diaconate," Fraser says. As a deacon, Hyland and his wife Harriet will spend their days serving the people of God in a variety of ministries at Holy Trinity Parish in Spruce Grove. They already do. Both serve as Eucharistic ministers, lectors and pastoral care ministers at the parish. Hyland also serves on the financial committee.

Red Deer parish is the center of their lives

Roger Reilander

May 26, 2014
CHRIS MILLER
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

Back in the 1990s, Roger Reilander was asked by the parish priest in Lac La Biche if he would consider becoming a permanent deacon. Intrigued by the suggestion, he started some of the required studies. However, he was soon posted to a new job in Calgary, and his formation for the permanent diaconate went by the wayside. "My family was at the age where everyone was in college, and it was just wild and busy times, so the idea went on the back shelf because I was also so busy with work," said Reilander.

Some religious orders active locally

May 26, 2014

The archdiocesan committee of vocations directors asked religious orders that are active locally to provide brief information about themselves for this issue of the WCR. Here are the responses we received.

Mella a 'second chance deacon'

Gem Mella

May 26, 2014
LASHA MORNINGSTAR
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

The Lord thought Gem Mella deserved a second chance. So Gem said "Yes" when Father Jim Corrigan asked him to attend a deacons' orientation meeting. But it was a reluctant yes. "I asked him, 'Do I have to?'" remembers Gem. It is just days before Mella will be ordained a deacon, and Gem and his wife Dada are sharing recollections of their four-year journey to the diaconate.

Whispering of Holy Spirit calls each person to vocation

May 26, 2014
MARK BLOM, OMI
and LUCINDA PATTERSON, SA
SPECIAL TO THE WCR

As vocations to the priesthood and religious life have declined, our understanding of what fosters vocations has increased. The challenge is now to turn these hard lessons into the good practices that will help us as a Church to grow in the vitality and joy of the Gospel. In the years prior to and shortly after Vatican II many people believed that a vocation was something that only a few people "had," and they then entered the seminary or a religious house of formation.