Stories for the Right Column of the WCR This Week Page
The close of the Western Catholic Reporter fills my heart with sorrow. The paper means a lot to me, but my feelings reach beyond personal considerations. Time, as is often said, marches on. And with different eras come different sets of practicalities and different visions.
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Shortly after I graduated from the University of Alberta with a bachelor's degree in translation, I moved to Japan as part of a government program to have native speakers help teach English to Japanese students. One of the things that hits you hardest when living in a foreign country is the importance of communication. People everywhere have a strong desire to connect to each other, to share joys, to share pains, to share news and opinions, to pass thoughts and feelings from one soul to another.
VATICAN CITY - Religions can play an important role in protecting the environment and defending human rights in their countries, their communities and their schools, Pope Francis said. "I believe we are still at a nursery-school level in this. That is, in incorporating responsibility not only as a subject, but as (a matter of) conscience as part of holistic education," the pope said Sept. 8.
EDMONTON - The Bishops of Alberta and Northwest Territories have issued pastoral guidelines for clergy dealing with Catholics who are considering euthanasia or assisted suicide. The complex document explains eligibility to sacraments such as Penance and Anointing of the Sick. It also discusses whether Catholics who have chosen to die by euthanasia or assisted suicide should receive a Catholic funeral. "In our day a priest may encounter a penitent who has officially requested physician-assisted suicide or euthanasia," the document says.
VATICAN CITY - Calling for concrete actions that benefit human life and the environment, Pope Francis proposed adding the care and protection of creation to the traditional list of corporal and spiritual works of mercy. As a spiritual work of mercy, the pope said, care for creation requires "a grateful contemplation of God's world."
Returning to the classroom after four months away is providing a sense of normalcy to the Catholic education community in Fort McMurray. "It was such a warm day, lots of hugs, lots of smiles, lots of reconnecting" when school resumed on Sept. 6, said Leslie McPherson, co-principal of Father Turcotte Catholic School in the city that was threatened with extinction in the spring when a raging wildfire forced the evacuation of the city's inhabitants.
Michael Moya could not understand why his body was covered with red dots. He was a healthy 25-year-old co-op engineering student. It was August 2011 and he was concentrating on his work. So he ignored the spots. "But one Friday morning I started to feel dizzy," Moya said to the audience at the Sept. 10 Edmonton charismatic prayer breakfast.
STOCKHOLM - Allowing people to drink unsafe water or to have no access to dependable, clean sources of water is shameful, Cardinal Peter Turkson told religious leaders. "It is a continuing shame," too, that people's needs "are secondary to industries which take too much and that pollute what remains," said the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.
'Don't let anyone tell you there are no hills in Saskatchewan," said Bishop Robert Hardwicke, the Anglican bishop of Qu'Appelle. "I've climbed 119 of them so far." "When I came to Canada (he is originally from England), they told me Saskatchewan was flat. Don't you believe it." The bishop, along with nine other bikers, had just rolled into the parking lot of All Saints Anglican Church in south Regina, completing more than three-quarters of his Pedalling Pilgrimage of Prayer bicycle tour of the southern portion of his south Saskatchewan diocese.