Stories for the Left Column of the WCR This Week Page
Take risks and do not let life's obstacles get in the way of encountering the true joy and life that Jesus can give, Pope Francis told more than one million young people. "Don't be afraid to say 'yes' to him with all your heart, to respond generously and to follow him," the pope told pilgrims at the closing Mass July 31 for World Youth Day. "Don't let your soul grow numb, but aim for the goal of a beautiful love which also demands sacrifice. "When it comes to Jesus, we cannot sit around waiting with arms folded.
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Excited campers tore along Camp Encounter trails until they reached their counsellors. "We saw a donkey," they exclaimed. That puzzled the counsellors because they knew here in the bush on the island in Lac la Nonne, there are no donkeys. The smiling counsellors asked several questions until their young charges realized that what they saw was the island's resident moose, not a donkey.
Sitting with head bowed and eyes closed, Pope Francis paid silent tribute to the victims of one of the worst atrocities of history. The pope arrived July 29 at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi death camp in Oswiecim, an area now blanketed by green fields and empty barracks lined by barbed wire fences, remnants of a horror that remains embedded in history.
Joyce Tutt, a tireless supporter of Catholic charitable causes and a passionate volunteer in her parish and community, is being honoured by Newman Theological College as this year's recipient of the Kevin Carr Christian Leadership Award. The award, named for the first layperson to serve as president of the college, recognizes individuals whose outstanding Christian leadership reflects the values of the college and the qualities that Carr cherished and exhibited in his work as president.
Most Western humanitarian aid is failing to reach the thousands of Christians who have fled their homes as Islamic State fighters have swept through Iraq and Syria, say three Middle Eastern bishops. "It's time for election (in the United States) and also it is time to rethink American policy in the Middle East," Chaldean Archbishop Bashar Warda of Irbil, in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq, said at the annual Knights of Columbus convention in Toronto.
In a moving celebration at St. Joseph Basilica July 9, Edmonton Archbishop Richard Smith ordained four men to the permanent diaconate. He also ordained seminarian Roger Niedzielski to the transitional diaconate, the final phase of his preparation for the priesthood. After serving as a deacon for a year, Niedzielski will likely be ordained a priest. The four new permanent deacons are professional men with extensive ministry experience in their parishes. They just completed a four-year formation program and were ordained for the service of the Word, altar and charity.
Theodore Waskahat's words were wrapped in reverence. "The presence of God was there." The 29-year-old acclaimed musician mentioned he had been nervous when he played the flute at the third annual St. Kateri Gathering at Maskwacis July 9. The more than 200 people in the audience did not notice any nervousness. They fell silent as they listened to his emotive renditions of The Drum Song and The Lord's Prayer.
Joan Carr, superintendent of Edmonton Catholic Schools for the past 10 years, has been recognized as Canada's leading school superintendent. The Canadian Association of School System Administrators presented Carr with its award of excellence at its Winnipeg conference July 7. The award recognizes the Canadian superintendent of the year.
After six years as bishop of Saskatoon, Donald Bolen was appointed archbishop of Regina July 11 by Pope Francis. The archdiocese has been without a bishop since the Jan. 15 death of Archbishop Daniel Bohan. Bolen will continue to serve as apostolic administrator in Saskatoon until his installation as archbishop of Regina this fall; the date has not yet been set.
Father Sylvio Lacar is a man who, for the past 50 years, has nurtured not only his own faith, but also that of prisoners and parishioners. At the moment, he is doing pastoral work, saying Mass for parishioners at Ma-Me-O Beach. But before that, this native of the Philippines said the Lord directed him to the prison ministry.