WCR This Week

Jay's Articles

Scripture melded into melody; music ministry was born

Steve Bell

January 26, 2015
RUANE REMY
THE CATHOLIC REGISTER

Steve Bell was ready to face the music: his decade-long career as a nightclub musician was over. A little over age 30, he played in bars six nights a week, not making enough money to support his young family. He says he slipped into a deep depression and realized that, other than music, he had no employable skills. Then one night, as he lay in bed, he felt a presence, a presence he now acknowledges to be God, which provided him with a sense that he was meant to do something else. "So I quit playing, thinking that I was going to hang up my guitar and my career was over. But literally when I quit is when all of this new music came out of me," said Bell.

Bishop tells of personal effects of 'racial divide' in the U.S.

Bishop Edward Braxton

January 26, 2015
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

In a 19-page reflection on the "racial divide" in the United States, Bishop Edward Braxton of Belleville, Ill., who is African-American, said he twice has been the victim of what he considered to be unjust police attitudes. The episodes "made me very conscious of the fact that simply by being me, I could be the cause of suspicion and concern without doing anything wrong," Braxton wrote in a reflection issued Jan. 1. In the first episode, when Braxton was a priest, "I was simply walking down a street in an apparently all-white neighbourhood. A police car drove up beside me and the officer asked, 'What are you doing in this area? Do you live around here? Where is your car? You should not be wandering about neighbourhoods where you do not live.'

Church groups applaud gov't decision to allow more refugees.

January 26, 2015
DEBORAH GYAPONG
CANADIAN CATHOLIC NEWS

OTTAWA – Aid groups are welcoming the federal government's Jan. 7 announcement that Canada will take in an additional 10,000 Syrian refugees and 3,000 more Iraqi refugees. But the groups hope the government will also streamline the refugee sponsorship program to make it easier and faster for churches and private charities to bring refugee families to Canada. Canada will also contribute additional humanitarian aid of $67 million, with $40 million going to Syria. "I think it's very good news," said Guy Desaulniers, emergency programs director for the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP). "We are quite happy. I think that Canada is a good player. They did well since the beginning of the crisis in terms of humanitarian aid."

Massive 'blanket' recounts residential school trauma

January 26, 2015
FRANK FLEGEL
PRAIRIE MESSENGER

REGINA – "The most poignant artifact for me are the braids," said Dr. Shauneen Pete, as she explained the meaning of the "Memorial Blanket" artwork set up along a wall in the University of Regina's Research and Innovation Centre Atrium. The Memorial Blanket was put together by West Coast artist and master carver Carey Newman. Residential school artifacts were collected from across Canada and placed in panels of the nine-metre-wide work. The artwork includes everything from an old door, worn-out skates, a shoe, door handles, a clock, pieces of wood, glass and photos. Old books and encyclopedias occupy slots along the bottom of the work. A slide show of photos and letters are displayed on an old table behind the blanket.

Scarboro opens door to youth serving 1 year in mission

Paulina Gallego

January 26, 2015
EVAN BOUDREAU
THE CATHOLIC REGISTER

Scarboro Missions is seeking those with the guts and grit to answer God's call to serve as a foreign missioner on a short-term basis. "Mission is not for everyone," said Scarboro Missions Father Ron MacDonell. "It has to come from a deep conviction that you are called . . . by God, called by Jesus, to want to serve. And young people have that capacity." That is why Scarboro Missions is again accepting applications from those 21 and older who are interested in enrolling in its One-Year Missioners program. The application can be found at scarboromissions.ca and must be submitted by Feb. 16.

Leading Quebec bishop dies suddenly

Archbishop Pierre-André Fournier

January 26, 2015
CANADIAN CATHOLIC NEWS

QUEBEC – Rimouski Archbishop Pierre-André Fournier died suddenly Jan. 10 shortly after losing consciousness and being taken to hospital by ambulance. Fournier, 71, had also been serving as president of the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Quebec, during the province's contentious debates on euthanasia and a secular charter. The archbishop traveled to Quebec City in December for heart surgery and was in Rimouski recovering at the time of his death.

In Sri Lanka, pope appeals for national reconciliation

Kurukkal SivaSri T. Mahadeva

January 26, 2015
FRANCIS ROCCA
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

COLOMBO, SRI LANKA – Pope Francis told Sri Lankans seeking reconciliation after two-and-a-half decades of civil war that, before they can forgive each other, they must repent of their own sins. "Only when we come to understand, in light of the cross, the evil we are capable of, and have even been a part of, can we experience true remorse and true repentance," the pope said Jan. 14, during a prayer service in the northern jungle town of Madhu. "Only then can we receive the grace to approach one another in true contrition, offering and seeking true forgiveness." The pope had traveled 250 kms in a helicopter from the capital city of Colombo to visit the shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary, which houses a statue of Mary venerated by Sri Lankans since the 16th century.

Some truths can only be seen through tears

January 26, 2015
CINDY WOODEN
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

Tears often are the only correct response to suffering, Pope Francis told 30,000 young people Jan. 18. While it is impossible to explain why God would allow children to suffer, he told the young people, "only when we, too, can cry" can one approach a response. "I invite each one of you here to ask yourself, 'Have I learned to weep and cry when I see a child cast aside, when I see someone with a drug problem, when I see someone who has suffered abuse?" the pope told the gathering in Manila. Being moved to tears out of compassion and in the face of the mystery of suffering is holy, he said. It is not the same thing as crying to manipulate or get something from someone.

'Ideological colonization' threatens the family

January 26, 2015
FRANCIS ROCCA
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

PASAY CITY, PHILIPPINES – Catholic families should resist "ideological colonization that tries to destroy the family" through such practices as contraception and same-sex marriage, Pope Francis told a meeting of families Jan. 16. Commenting on a reading from the Gospel of St. Matthew, in which St. Joseph twice learns God's will for the Holy Family from an angel in a dream, Pope Francis said dreaming could serve an analogous purpose in ordinary Christian families. "I very much like this idea of dreaming in a family," the pope said. "When you lose this capacity to dream, you lose the capacity and energy to love." But the pope noted St. Joseph's dreams also revealed the "dangers which threatened Jesus and Mary, forcing them to flee to Egypt and then to settle in Nazareth.

The rains pour down, but weather won't separate Pope Francis from the people.

January 26, 2015
CINDY WOODEN
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

MANILA – New situations are opportunities to learn new things, even about the 78-year-old Pope Francis. After two days of watching the pope tenaciously keep his appointments in the Philippines despite pouring rain Jan. 17-18, one lesson is that the papal wardrobe needs to be expanded to include rain gear. A white umbrella – the usual Vatican response to a drizzle – is not adequate. And cancelling or moving an event indoors – the usual Vatican response to a heavy rain – is not acceptable to Pope Francis if his appointment is with thousands or even millions of predominantly poor people.