Stories for the Middle Column of the WCR This Week Page
The Church is more, much more, than a doctrine or a document. The Church has the life of a community coursing through its veins. For 51 years, the Western Catholic Reporter chronicled the life of the local Church, the Canadian Church and the global Church. Its vocation was to have the smell of the sheep of which Pope Francis speaks so often.
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I've always have had a dickens of a time saying goodbye. But here goes. My past 15 years here at the WCR have been good ones, a time when the stories we ran opened hearts, nourished people's faith. It was an unlikely place for me to come to after my years in the secular press. I won national awards there and enjoyed my profession.
I was 18 and had just finished my first year of a two-year journalism program at what was then Grant MacEwan Community College. I hadn't lined up a summer job, so I was doing what most teenagers do - sleeping in till noon. The phone rang, and Mom came in to wake me up and tell me it was Vic Misutka, editor of the Western Catholic Reporter, asking if I'd be interested in working there for the summer. Our families belonged to the same parish, so he must have heard somehow about my field of study, and he was generous enough to give me a chance.
At a joyful celebration attended by clergy from various parts of Canada as well as the new bishops' former parishioners, Basilian Father Robert Kasun, former pastor at Edmonton's St. Alphonsus and St. Clare parishes, was ordained auxiliary bishop of the Toronto Archdiocese. Toronto Cardinal Thomas Collins, a former archbishop of Edmonton, presided at the Sept. 12 ordination. St. Joseph Basilica exploded in applause to congratulate the humble new bishop, who is slowly accepting his call to higher office.
With psalms praising the marvels of God's creation and prayers begging God's help to end the selfishness that destroys the earth and harms the poor, Pope Francis led vespers for the Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. During the evening service Sept. 1 in St. Peter's Basilica, the pope prayed to God, "Pour out your spirit of wisdom upon us so that we would safeguard the gifts of your providence for the good of each person and every generation."
Parents, students and teachers beamed with excitement as they arrived at St. Brendan Elementary/Junior High Catholic School for the first day of classes. The new principal, Dale Astill, welcomed almost everybody with a handshake and a wide smile. Most looked with admiration at the $20-million building, which was built over the past two years as a replacement school for the now-closed St. Kevin and St. James schools.
While retired Pope Benedict XVI said organization and governance are not his strong suits, he also said, "I am unable to see myself as a failure." In a book-length interview with the German author Peter Seewald, Pope Benedict said that when he resigned, he had the "peace of someone who had overcome difficulty" and "could tranquilly pass the helm to the one who came next." The new book, Last Testament, will be released in English by Bloomsbury in November.
The music ministry for Edmonton Catholic Schools' opening Masses does not happen its own. However, it springs to life with much greater ease than one might expect. In June, Corey Nahayowski, Sandra Talarico and Beth Pecson sat down to choose the hymns based on the Scripture readings for the Aug. 30 Masses held at St. Charles and Corpus Christi churches.
Living out the call to justice is central, not only to Christian discipleship, but also to parish life, Bob McKeon said at a Aug. 27 retreat for the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP). The speaker for the day-long retreat, McKeon, former coordinator of social justice for the Edmonton Archdiocese, said much depends on the size of the parish, its ethnic makeup and the priest.
One inmate was baptized and confirmed while another was confirmed during Archbishop Emeritus Sylvain Lavoie's recent visit to the Bowden Institution. Thomas Grabon received the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation while Jonathan Leduc was baptized during Lavoie's June 18 visit to the prison at Innisfail. The institution's two Catholic chaplains, Thelma Pelletier and Brent Walker, prepared the two inmates for the sacraments of initiation.