Stories for the Left Column of the WCR This Week Page
Clarence and Marie Ibach's family is a living witness that every life is a gift from God. Originally seeking "healthy" children when they set out to adopt, the Ibachs' family portrait today includes 10 children with various disabilities, including Down syndrome, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy and fetal alcohol syndrome. "We said, 'God, whatever you want,' and that's what he gave us," said Marie. "They're special."
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With rockets falling daily on the Syrian capital of Damascus, life for Father Issa Mammar and his family was becoming unbearable. The civil war, which started in 2011, was lasting too long. The married Melkite Catholic priest and his wife Rima were worried about the safety of their children, Jean-Pierre, 13, and Anne Marie, 5. Terrorists often target schools and civilian areas and Mammar felt his family was in danger. So he started planning to leave his war-torn country.
Some Vancouver-area Catholics are working hard to repair ties with First Nations people after the close of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. "I've asked them to look at me as their worker. It's their Church. I'm only doing the things the Church wants me to do, and what they want me to do," said Deacon James Meskas. When Meskas was ordained in January, he was tasked with providing pastoral care to two First Nations communities near his home in Agassiz, B.C.
Benedictine spirituality has much to offer the world through its teaching of "listening," Abbot Lawrence Stasyszen told a gathering May 5 at St. Peter's Abbey in Muenster, Sask. The first word of the Rule of St. Benedict, the guide for Benedictines, is "listen." It begins the sentence, "Listen carefully, my son, to the master's instructions and attend to them with the ear of your heart," said Stasyszen of St. Gregory's Abbey of Shawnee, Okla. The rule begins with an invitation to seek the peace of God's kingdom by listening.
When Pope Francis accepted a proposal at the Vatican May 12 to form a commission to study the possibility of women serving as deacons today, it generated plenty of buzz. The pope's agreement on the idea - raised by members of the International Union of Superiors General, the leadership group for superiors of women's orders - was interpreted by some as a thumbs-up to women deacons and eventually women priests. The Vatican spokesman was quick to rebut such notions the next day.
A Senate committee has recommended amendments to strengthen euthanasia Bill C-14's safeguards and add conscience rights protections to aid quicker passage of the bill. Senator Denise Batters recommended the House of Commons pass these recommendations before returning the bill to the Senate after a third reading vote. The Liberal government tried to force a vote on third reading May 18 by shutting down debate, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau derailed that plan by wading into a group of New Democrat MPs who were blocking the Conservative whip from returning to his seat so the vote could begin.