WCR This Week

Jay's Articles

Family spends long days waiting for resettlement in a safe place

Almaseeh family members

January 12, 2015
BARB FRAZE
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

AMMAN, JORDAN – Nafee Abd Almaseeh and his wife, Trazia Marzina, spend their days hoping for resettlement. They want help to get to "a place that's safe," Almaseeh said. In June, he and his family left Qaraqosh, Iraq, with just their clothes and passports. Before the Islamic State group bombed their home, the militants cut water and electricity for 15 days.

Iraqi mother faces anger of her children

Lahab Hannna

January 12, 2015
BARB FRAZE
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

AMMAN, Jordan – Every night, in the church hall that Lahab Hanna shares with her husband, three children and 47 other people, her middle daughter makes a scene. Hanna, 32, said her children do not understand why they had to move from the Iraqi cities of Mosul, Qaraqosh and Ainkawa to their small space in a church hall in Amman. The children do not know the details of when her husband was kidnapped for eight days.

Electrician's family disappeared; he witnessed murders

Bassam Zaarwoor

January 12, 2015
BARB FRAZE
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

ZARQA, JORDAN – Before the bombing started in Syria, Bassam Zaarwoor owned an electric shop in Homs. "I was a wealthy man," he said. "I had my own car, my own shop." But as the war worsened, some of his friends were killed in front of him, and "some of my family members, they just disappeared."

Church leaders defend Amazon region, people

January 12, 2015
BARB FRAZE
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

Latin American Church leaders have apologized for historical complicity with colonial atrocities in the Amazon and called for a Church with an "Amazonian face" in a pastoral letter. "The exploitation of the Amazon through mining, the expansion of farming and ranching, road construction, hydroelectric dams and timber companies demand that the Church take a more prophetic stance," they wrote.

Ont. doctors confront need for end-of-life decisions

January 12, 2015
MICHAEL SWAN
THE CATHOLIC REGISTER

Doctors may be men and women of action, but before a patient dies they should be open and available for lots of talk, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario is advising its members. A new draft policy on providing care at the end of life clearly warns doctors that both euthanasia and assisted suicide are against the law.

Kasper honoured by WCR as Church 'mustard seed'

Cardinal Walter Kasper

December 29, 2014
GLEN ARGAN
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

For more than 30 years, Cardinal Walter Kasper has been an outspoken proponent of a more welcoming attitude to those divorced and remarried Catholics not permitted to receive the Eucharist. More recently, his theology of mercy, outlined in his popular book Mercy: The Essence of the Gospel and the Key to Christian Life, has had a major influence on Pope Francis and is provoking new directions in the Catholic Church. One of the world's leading theologians, Kasper served from 1999 to 2011 as secretary and then president of the Vatican's Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

Bishops seek protection from bullying for all students

December 29, 2014
GLEN ARGAN
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

EDMONTON – The Alberta government's Bill 10, which would have allowed "gay-straight alliances" (GSAs) in the province's schools, made a serious attempt to reconcile the right of student safety with parental and school rights in the education and formation of children, said Edmonton Archbishop Richard Smith. In a letter circulated in parishes in the archdiocese on the Dec. 13-14 weekend after the bill had been withdrawn from the legislature, Smith said public debate on the issue has continued and "the commentary has not always been kind to the leadership of our Catholic schools." Catholic schools, he said, insist that the approach to protecting children "be a fully inclusive one," one that takes into account the many reasons why children may be subjected to bullying.

Parishes called to become centres for evangelization

December 29, 2014
GLEN ARGAN
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

Canadian parishes are in need of "profound conversion" so that they can fulfill their call to evangelization, says a statement from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. "Parishes are called to be missionary – not necessarily to foreign countries – but primarily to those around them," says the statement, The Missionary Dynamic of the Parish Today. The 11-page exhortation notes that some parishes are already experimenting with "new ways of Christian living," and it urges them to step out into their neighbourhoods to propose the faith and invite those who do not practise that faith to encounter Christ "through a vibrant parish community."

Smith learning from aboriginal people

December 29, 2014
GLEN ARGAN
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

Catholics can learn important lessons from how God is moving in and among First Nations, Metis and Inuit people, says Edmonton Archbishop Richard Smith. Smith said aboriginal people have taught him the importance of listening deeply, respect for elders and how a person's sense of identity is linked to their place in the family and the wider community. The archbishop made his comments during his homily at the Dec. 12 Mass at St. Joseph's Basilica marking the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the National Day of Prayer in Solidarity with Indigenous Peoples.

Sask. farmboy advocated for Brazilian street kids

Book cover

December 29, 2014
LASHA MORNINGSTAR
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

Connie Gerwing stood at the front during her book launch Dec. 12 at the Dickensfield Long Term Care Centre. Holding her just-published book about her cousin Al, a long-time advocate for street children in Brazil, she said, "Alphonse wrote almost all of this. I just filled in the spaces." By filling in the spaces, she meant talking to friends and family, sifting through Al Gerwing's letters, newspaper columns, family history and weaving the information around Al's memories.