WCR This Week

Action needed more than aid

Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan

September 22, 2014
MARK ZIMMERMANN
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

United in the suffering of their people, five Catholic and Orthodox patriarchs from the Middle East urged Westerners to take action to help ensure that Christians and other minorities can remain in the Middle East. "Christians are not (just) looking for humanitarian aid. They are looking for humanitarian action, to save Christianity in the Middle East," said Catholicos Aram of Cilicia, patriarch of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

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The many loves of Br. Donatus

Br. Donatus Vervoort

September 22, 2014
LASHA MORNINGSTAR
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

The gold stars on his report card are many. Now 83, celebrating his 65 years of religious life, Brother Donatus Vervoort is hard pressed to reply when asked what the greatest joy has been in his life. "You have put me at a dilemma," and a smile softens his face. "Music! I love music. The choirs, the singing . . ." This comes from years of study at Ward Institute in Roermond, Netherlands. As a child, Donatus and his 11 brothers and sisters lived on a five-acre farm. The 250 chickens, two cows and two pigs supplemented their father's wages as a labourer at a linen factory.

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CCODP boosts outreach to young Catholics

Isabelle Kim

September 22, 2014
CHRIS MILLER
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP) is hoping to engage a new generation of young Catholics in creating a more just world. "I want to create a movement that will reflect and be embracive of all the changes in Canada's growing Catholic family, a movement that is multi-generational, where we will have meetings in five or 10 years with tons of kids running around, with people of First Nations descent and from all walks of life," said Isabelle Kim who is charged with expanding the organization's youth outreach.

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Fingerprinting plan could cut number of volunteers

September 22, 2014
RAMON GONZALEZ
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

Church officials fear that a proposal to fingerprint volunteers might discourage many people from offering their time and talents to the Church. The RCMP proposal would require volunteers to be fingerprinted prior to receiving a criminal record check. The procedure is aimed at increasing public safety and reducing the likelihood that somebody could obtain a criminal record check or police information check using false identity.

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Sr. Victoria keeps active into her 2nd century

Sr. Victoria Mazur

September 22, 2014
CHRIS MILLER
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

Sister Victoria Mazur, when she was much younger, met a man who claimed that God talked to him. The man told her that she was going to live to be an old woman. His prediction was correct. Mazur, a Sister of Our Lady of the Cross (Notre Dame de la Croix), celebrated her 100th birthday on Aug. 28. "Despite her age, she's as with it as anybody. She remembers people, and she remembers names. She still goes to Mass every day," said Janet MacLellan, a longtime friend.

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ISIS conflict more focused on money than religion, says cardinal

September 22, 2014
BARB FRAZE
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

WASHINGTON – The conflict in which Islamic State fighters are driving out Christians and other minorities must not be seen as a war between Islam and Christianity, said the head of the Vatican Congregation for Eastern Churches. "I do not share this position and I ask, on the contrary, that it never prevail," Cardinal Leonardo Sandri told participants in the inaugural In Defense of Christians summit Sept. 9."

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Oxford House thanks churches for offering a helping hand

No Room at the Inn Logo

September 22, 2014
CHRIS MILLER
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

Thanks to the No Room in the Inn fundraising drive, a sober-living environment in Edmonton is much more liveable. The Oxford House Foundation in Edmonton has a house for five women recovering from alcohol or drug addiction. However, until recently the house had minimal cupboard space, a decrepit deck and two old trees in the backyard ready to topple over. The electrical breaker panel was misplaced, set up directly above a downstairs toilet. In one bathroom, whenever someone took a shower, water leaked into the walls, causing unhealthy black mold.

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Jesuit finds organic is sensible farming in Zambian Mission

Br. Paul Desmarais

September 22, 2014
MICHAEL SWAN
THE CATHOLIC REGISTER

Nineteenth-century missionaries arrived in Africa with a Bible in one hand and a plough in the other. Jesuit Brother Paul Desmarais still has a Bible, but he's given up on the plough. For 40 years Desmarais has run the Kasisi Agricultural Training Centre in Zambia. But over the last 20 years Desmarais has rethought almost every aspect of conventional Western agriculture and how it's applied in Africa.

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Benedict XV's failed efforts to end WWI bore long-term fruit

Pope Benedict XV

September 22, 2014
FRANCIS ROCCA
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

Among the various First World War-related anniversaries of this centennial year, the election of Pope Benedict XV, 100 years ago Sept. 3, is apt to be one of the less widely observed. Pope Benedict XV is the most obscure of the nine men who have led the Catholic Church over the last century – the title of his biography by historian John Pollard is The Unknown Pope – and in some ways, this negative distinction seems justified. His seven-and-a-half-year pontificate was relatively short and, with respect to his most prominent undertaking, spectacularly unsuccessful.

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Liberation theology re-enters agenda of Canadian bishops

Cardinal Jaime Ortega

September 22, 2014
MICHAEL SWAN
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

Cuba's Cardinal Jaime Ortega is about to welcome Canada's bishops to the rough and tumble world of Latin American theology. When Canada's bishops gather Sept. 15-19 in the nation's oldest parish in Quebec City to celebrate 350 years of North American prayer, struggle and faith, they will meet the other half of what Pope Francis calls the continent of hope. Ortega will attend the bishops plenary in Quebec City to lead Canada's bishops through a consideration of the Aparecida document.

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