Stories for the Middle Column of the WCR This Week Page
He loved the country and the people, but couldn't stand the traffic. "My worst experience had to be the traffic," Archbishop Richard Smith recalls of his recent tour of southern India. "To be in the middle of it is an experience. You are flying along a highway at breakneck speed and they are coming at you from the opposite direction and there is everything on the road.
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Pope Francis says that in this Year of Mercy the season of Lent "should be lived more intensely as a privileged moment to celebrate and experience God's mercy." He points us to the Scriptures as the place where we can "rediscover the merciful face of the Father." Meditation on God's Word is not a common activity in our overly busy society. We meditate on many other things, but not on that which lasts, on "every word that comes from the mouth of God" (Matthew 4.4).
Use the power of communication to build bridges and heal wounds, not generate hatred or misunderstanding, Pope Francis said. The Catholic Church, too, must proclaim the truth and denounce injustice without alienating everyone in need of God's help, he said in his message for World Communications Day. "We can and we must judge situations of sin - such as violence, corruption and exploitation - but we may not judge individuals, since only God can see into the depths of their hearts," he said.
If any agency was prepared for a wave of Syrian refugee families to arrive in Canada, it is Edmonton Catholic Schools' One World . . . One Centre. With a newly-made holy door at the welcome centre declaring, "Let the children come to me," assistant principal Karen Fabris and her team were not sent scrambling as news hit of the refugee crisis.
OTTAWA - A decision on whether the Alexandria-Cornwall Diocese will get a new bishop or become part of the Ottawa Archdiocese will be made by July 2017, says the Ottawa archbishop. On Jan. 13, Pope Francis named Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast apostolic administrator of Alexandria-Cornwall after Bishop Marcel Damphousse's move to the Sault Sainte Marie Diocese.
London - It can take just one month to turn a disenfranchised teenage Catholic student into fanatical Islamic terrorist, an English cardinal warned Catholic teachers. Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster told delegates at a London conference to guard against the Internet recruitment of vulnerable secondary school students by the Islamic State.
Lent is a time of conversion and a time to deepen one's faith, demonstrating and sharing it through the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, Pope Francis said. "Faith finds expression in concrete everyday actions meant to help our neighbours in body and spirit," the pope said in his message for Lent, which begins Feb. 10 for Latin-rite Catholics.
Physician-assisted death legislation could include competent children under 18, a legal expert told a parliamentary committee. University of Ottawa professor Bernard Pelletier said Jan. 26 that Parliament could broaden the criteria beyond the Supreme Court's Carter decision which permits physician-assisted death for competent adults.
OTTAWA - Euthanasia opponents are disappointed with the Jan. 15 Supreme Court of Canada decision giving Ottawa only four of the six extra months it had sought to craft an assisted dying law. Groups expressed particular concern over the court's granting Quebec an exemption from the Criminal Code provisions against euthanasia and assisted suicide so it can proceed with its euthanasia law. Those provisions remain in effect elsewhere in the country until the deadline, now set at June 6.
The 2015 Sign of Hope campaign ended Jan. 5 after raising $2.6 million, about $800,000 less than the previous year. While it is the first time in its 32-year history that the annual Catholic Social Services' fundraising campaign failed to exceed the previous year's results, the organization's officials appear satisfied. After all, they never set a financial goal for the campaign. Instead, they asked for prayers, volunteers and donations, and they got them all.