Stories for the Middle Column of the WCR This Week Page
As the Liberal government rushes a bill legalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide through Parliament, thousands gathered in Ottawa May 12 for the annual National March for Life. The march's focal point has always been "the threat to life at its earliest stages through abortion," Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto said in his homily at a pro-life Mass at Notre Dame Cathedral.
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Sister Dr. Zoe Bernatsky brings a multitude of talents to her new role as academic dean of Newman Theological College. One of the most notable is her attitude. "It's been exciting," she said in an interview. "I love to learn, love to pray, love to work with people. And I have had great mentors along the way and many, many blessings and opportunities."
NEW HAVEN, CONN. - The Melkite Catholic archbishop of Aleppo, Syria, has thanked the Knights of Columbus and other organizations for speaking out about the genocide of Syrian Christians and other religious minorities. Speaking May 2 with a heavy but hopeful heart at a news conference at the Knights' headquarters, Archbishop Jean-Clement Jeanbart also asked for support for his war-torn city.
One of the most frequently asked questions in Paul Flaman's recently-released book, Sex, Love and Marriage, is "What do you think?" It's a different approach for a Catholic textbook on sexual and marital morality, one that cuts against the widespread belief that the Church wants to dictate moral precepts to an increasingly rebellious or uninterested public. Flaman, soon to be raised to the level of a full professor of theology at the University of Alberta's St. Joseph's College, says the book developed out of more than 30 years of teaching undergraduate students on the topics of sex, love and marriage.
Teary-eyed, Michele Wallace felt a mix of emotions as she walked down the halls of Edmonton's St. James School for the last time. She burst into laughter with her mother Pat Moorhouse as she pointed to her June 1981 yearbook photo. "It's just the nostalgia, just remembering everything. And a flood of memories," said Wallace. "Some things, as a child, they seemed so big." Wallace and Moorhouse were among the former and current students, parents and staff present May 11 for the St. James School closing celebration.
OTTAWA - The federal government says it will begin funding abortion in the developing world in order to help "the poorest and most vulnerable." Amy Mills, a spokeswoman for Global Affairs Canada, said, "The government will close existing gaps in reproductive rights and health care for women as part of its commitment to refocus Canada's development assistance on helping the poorest and most vulnerable." Mills said Canada supports the health care systems of countries in line with their legal frameworks and priorities.
A smiling St. Joseph's College employee poked her head around Danica Wolitski's door and said, "We've got another family with three children" "Great," said Wolitski. The translation of that triumphant discourse means a family fleeing the firestorm ravaging Fort McMurray has found safe housing here in Edmonton. The housing comes from vacant apartments at the new women's residence (dubbed the Ilanders) at St. Joseph's College on the University of Alberta campus.
LAC LA BICHE - Father Andrew Schoenberger calls himself an evacuee just like the more than 80,000 other people driven from Fort McMurray in the wildfire than emptied the city. However, unlike many others, he's not looking for a place to put up his feet until he can return to his regular job. The work of a priest never ends. "A shepherd should be with his sheep," says the young pastor of Fort McMurray's St. John the Baptist Parish.
EDMONTON - Maria Donovan's face broke into a delighted smile as she called out, "It's so good to see you and that you are safe." Donovan is the Grade 9 English, religion and options teacher at Fort McMurray's Holy Trinity Catholic High School. Overjoyed to see her students, she called out to them and their parents at the reception following the May 8 afternoon Mass at Edmonton's Resurrection Church.
I was probably like everyone else. I was glued to the news in horror watching the fires in Fort McMurray, one hand on the remote and one hand on my rosary. Unlike others though, I can close my eyes and remember what a forest fire smells and sounds like. I may not look like it now, but when I was younger, I was a trained forester. My university classes in forestry may have taught me how to cut a fireline, but they couldn't have prepared me for the sound a tree makes right before it explodes.