WCR This Week

Church must open the door to 'seekers'

Charles Taylor
March 23, 2015
CINDY WOODEN
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

As the second anniversary of Pope Francis' election approached, an international group of philosophers, sociologists and theologians gathered to discuss how to renew the Church in a secular age. Many said that is exactly what Pope Francis is doing. "I think the Church had gotten into the stance of defending itself against its critics and trying to convince them, but that's not a stance of dialogue," said Charles Taylor, professor emeritus of philosophy at McGill University in Montreal. "Pope Francis is going out and reaching out." Taylor was one of the main speakers at a conference, Renewing the Church in a Secular Age, March 4-5 at Rome's Pontifical Gregorian University.

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Homeschooling mom offers many ways to build tradition

Therese McDonald
March 23, 2015
RAMON GONZALEZ
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

Faith is at the heart of Therese McDonald's home, where learning and the formation of the whole child go together. The mother of four has been homeschooling for 20 years and says, "All the formation we give our children in reason, in reading, in mathematics, in writing, in conversing and in creating are all bound up in the faith." McDonald was one of several speakers at the Western Canadian Catholic Homeschool Conference at Providence Renewal Centre in Edmonton.

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Dads have room to pitch in with home education

Glen Spies
March 23, 2015
RAMON GONZALEZ
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

EDMONTON – Although homeschooling falls mostly on the mothers, fathers also play a big role, says a homeschooling dad from Derwent. "The way a father can help is, one, to be of support and in unity with their spouse in the decision to homeschool," explains Glenn Spies, who homeschools three children aged nine to 19 with his wife Susan. "The father also provides not only for the spiritual needs of the family by leading in prayer but also providing for the material needs. My job is going to work but also to provide for the material needs of the family."

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Couple follows God's will in education

March 23, 2015
RAMON GONZALEZ
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

EDMONTON – Naamah and Ted Leischner say they believe it's God's intention that they homeschool their children. "We homeschool to instill faith into them and to help them with their own learning styles," Naamah said. "I think we take our responsibility as primary educators of our children very seriously," added Ted. "At this point we believe that this is what God wants us to do." The couple has four children aged three to 10 and have been homeschooling for five years.

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Pope Francis at 2 years

March 23, 2015
CINDY WOODEN
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

When Pope Francis went out onto the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica for the first time, he said he did not prepare what he was going to say, but "I felt deeply that a minister needs the blessing of God, but also of his people." He did not know if it was right to explicitly ask the thousands of people in St. Peter's Square to bless him, so instead he asked them to pray that God would bless him, he said. And he bowed for their prayers. Marking the second anniversary of his election March 13, Pope Francis spoke about the conclave that elected him in 2013, about his life the last two years and about the future in an interview with Valentina Alazraki of Mexico's Televisa.

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Almsgiving: Giving money or giving of self?

March 23, 2015
LASHA MORNINGSTAR
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

Pope Francis had it right when he told the Ash Wednesday audience, "Alms are given to someone from whom you would not expect to receive anything in return." Father Martin Carroll, rector of St. Joseph's Basilica, agrees we should help those in need but says it should be done with the aim of fostering social justice. "What I see for people for Lent is to make sure we help the social agencies. The big need is to the social agencies to meet the needs of the underprovided and the hard times. Here in Edmonton."

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Pope will wash prisoners' feet again

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March 23, 2015
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

Rome – Pope Francis will celebrate the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord's Supper at a Rome prison and wash the feet of male and female inmates. The Vatican announced March 11 that the pope will visit the Rebibbia detention facility on the outskirts of the capital April 2, then celebrate Mass in Our Father Church on the grounds of the complex. During the Mass, the pope will wash the feet of male inmates from Rebibbia and female inmates from a nearby women's prison.

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Pope blesses women gathered at Vatican to share stories

March 23, 2015
CINDY WOODEN
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

The pope's comments March 8 preceded a five-hour celebration in the Vatican of the ways Christian women minister to their sisters who are poor, sick, excluded from education, victims of human trafficking and exploitation. The celebration, Voices of Faith, also included a session in which participants expressed their hopes and dreams for fuller involvement of women in Church decision-making. Chantal Gotz, executive director of the Fidel Gotz Foundation and chief organizer of the celebration, told Catholic News Service, "It's not about arguing doctrine or wanting something; it's highlighting the contributions women already are making.

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Women move ahead with baby steps at Vatican

March 23, 2015
LAURA IERACI
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

VATICAN CITY – The number of women working for Vatican City State has nearly doubled in the past 10 years, while the number of women in leadership positions in the Roman Curia remains low, with only two women serving as undersecretaries. Gudrun Sailer, a journalist at Vatican Radio, conducted a study of the Vatican employment situation and published the results March 5 in preparation for the celebration March 8 of International Women's Day.

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Religious vocation was answer to teenage girl's prayers

March 23, 2015
DEBORAH GYAPONG
CANADIAN CATHOLIC NEWS

OTTAWA – When Sister Lorraine Desjardins was growing up in Kapuskasing, Ont., she yearned to enter religious life but faced one major obstacle: her parents. An only child, the superior general of the Sisters of Charity of Ottawa recalled a warm, God-filled family life. Desjardins had felt the stirrings of a religious call from the time she was eight or nine years old. The Sisters of Charity taught at the elementary school she attended, and Desjardins early on wanted to be a religion teacher or a teaching religious.

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