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David Guzman's eyes look deeply into Jude Fischer's face as he hands her the chalice, saying "The blood of Christ."It is daily Mass at the Marian Centre and Guzman is the extraordinary minister of the Eucharist for the service.Often dubbed a eucharistic minister, the lay person distributing Communion is properly called an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist, priests and deacons being the ordinary ministers of the sacrament.
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When Sister Madeleine Prince was growing up in the hamlet of Delmas, Sask., the word "providence" came up often. It was not easy on the farm. There was drought and hail. But her parents had a lot of faith God would protect and provide for them. Prince first met the Sisters of Assumption as a student at their school in Delmas. She grew up in a Christian home where she learned to love Christ. However, the government did not want religion or French taught.
Work is an important expression of human dignity and of caring for one's family, but today there is a "dangerous tendency" to consider a worker's family obligations as an obstacle to productivity and profit, Pope Francis said. "But let's ask ourselves: What productivity? And for whom?" he said Aug. 19 at his weekly general audience. "Work, in its thousand forms, beginning with housework, is about caring for the common good," providing for one's family and cooperating with God in creating goods and services that are useful to others, the pope said.
Though it is common to meet people who say "I am spiritual but not religious," theologian Colin Kerr begs to differ. Many Christians today think religion and spirituality have nothing to do with each other, Kerr said in a lecture Aug. 11 at Saint Paul University in Ottawa. "When someone says 'I'm spiritual but not religious, that's an insult to us,'" the editor of the Catholic Review of Books said in a course on evangelizing in a postmodern culture. "It means: 'You go to church, therefore you are not spiritual.'"
Edward and Genevieve Matheson's annual pilgrimage to Skaro has a special meaning. They were married there in 1951. Genevieve was born and raised in the area and has been coming to the pilgrimage all her life. She learned the catechism in a house near the Skaro shrine and as a child she came to the pilgrimage by horse and buggy with her parents. The Mathesons met in Edmonton at a dance in 1950 and married at the Skaro church the following year. The couple, members of Good Shepherd Parish in Edmonton, were at the pilgrimage site again Aug. 14, seated under the shade of a tree and a large motorhome as they waited for evening vespers and Mass.
As a young explorer in the 1970s, Roger Plouffe fell in love with the land of the North. Many years later, as a volunteer at a Fort Good Hope, N.W.T., Bible summer camp, he fell in love with the people. Apparently, the feeling was mutual. Plouffe, 61, a layman from St. Thomas More Parish in Edmonton, will serve as a pastoral minister in the isolated community just south of the Arctic Circle for the next two years.
Alpha is an effective tool for evangelization as it provides the means for learning about Christianity and the basic teaching of Jesus Christ, says Josh Canning, the program's national coordinator. "Alpha is effective in bringing people to Jesus so it is a deeply needed tool in the new evangelization," Canning said in an interview. "The main purpose of Alpha is to give people an experience of Christianity and an encounter with the Lord."
Television programs, coffee bars, Italian Twitter accounts and the corridors of political power were abuzz Aug. 20-21 with news and commentary about the extravagance surrounding the funeral of the reputed Mafia boss. The funeral Mass for Vittorio Casamonica, 65, was celebrated at St. John Bosco Church in southeast Rome Aug. 20. His body was carried to the church in an antique gilded black hearse drawn by six black horses. When it arrived at the church, a band outside played the theme song from the film The Godfather.
Less than a decade ago Benjamin Ripley decided to leave his Baptist faith to become a Catholic. Today he is a fully-fledged Franciscan brother, wearing the famous brown habit the Franciscans have donned for the past 800 years. The 41-year-old former sailor made his final vows of poverty, chastity and obedience as a Franciscan brother in Lumsden, Sask., Aug. 21. Family, friends and friars from across Western Canada were present at his solemn profession.
A rerouting of Ottawa's Gay Pride Parade Aug. 23 took marchers past St. Patrick's Basilica, prompting some Catholics to mount a protest. Social activist John Pacheco, who organized the 15,000-strong March for Marriage in 2005, urged men to gather in front of the basilica to pray the rosary with their backs turned to the parade. Forty to 50 people, both men and women, arrived shortly before 1 p.m. and began to pray.
VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis asked thousands of people gathered in St. Peter's Square to be quiet for a moment and ponder the question, "Who is Jesus to you?" After the moment of silence Aug. 23, the pope introduced the Angelus prayer by asking Mary to help Christians purify their faith, removing "worldly incrustations and fears."
VATICAN CITY - From the time he was archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Pope Francis has said special prayers for catechists on the feast of St. Pius X, who wrote a catechism in 1908. Pope Francis celebrated a private Mass in his residence early on the feast day, Aug. 21, but decided to pray for catechists at the tomb of St. Pius in St. Peter's Basilica. About 70 people were sitting or kneeling at pews in front of the tomb waiting for a 7 a.m. Mass when the pope arrived, so he joined them, sitting in the front pew.