Stories for the Right Column of the WCR This Week Page
Disappointment, sadness and calls to invoke the notwithstanding clause greeted the Supreme Court of Canada's Feb. 6 decision striking down laws against physician-assisted suicide. "Catholics are called by their faith to assist all those in need, particularly the poor, the suffering and the dying," said Archbishop Paul-Andre Durocher, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. "Comforting the dying and accompanying them in love and solidarity has been considered by the Church since its beginning a principal expression of Christian mercy," Durocher said.
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OTTAWA – Speculation is mounting on the approach the federal government will take in response to the Supreme Court decision striking down the law against assisted suicide. Some, including members of the Tory caucus, are calling for the government to invoke the notwithstanding clause of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in order to suspend the court's decision for five years.
OTTAWA –Poverty is the most important issue facing Canada and should be an election issue, say two groups who released their anti-poverty plan Feb. 3. Canada has to "share a vision that includes everybody," Joe Gunn, executive director of Citizens for Public Justice, told a breakfast on Parliament Hill. CPJ and Canada Without Poverty say poverty violates the human rights of Canada's 4.8 million poor.
Redemptorist Father John Alan MacGregor will be remembered as an excellent teacher and a dedicated pastor. The Edmonton native did pastoral work throughout much of Canada before he returned to Edmonton in 2012 to live among his Redemptorist confreres at Villa Marguerite. He died of pneumonia Jan. 27 at age 90. "I knew him very well. He was my teacher in high school at (Edmonton's) Holy Redeemer College," recalled Father Mark Miller, provincial superior of the Redemptorists in Canada.
VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis called for prayers for the Egyptian Christians beheaded by Islamic State militants in Libya and asked that God recognize these men killed for their faith. He offered morning Mass Feb. 17 in the chapel of his residence for the slain Christians he termed "our 21 brother Copts" whose throats had been slit "for the sole reason of being Christians." The pope requested that people pray for the victims so "that the Lord welcome them as martyrs."
Everton Lewis is trying to raise awareness that black history is as much a part of Canada's past as the stories of European explorers like Samuel Champlain. "Being black and being Canadian at the same time I always asked 'Where is my story?'" during history class, said the Toronto Catholic school board's community relations staff member. "When I was in school I didn't hear anything, it was almost like there was no beginning and that somebody just snapped their fingers and here we were."
VANCOUVER – B.C. biker Fred Sawatzky said he rides to Mexico to convert other bikers to Christ every year. "I go to their drug cartels, take Bibles in my suitcase, and hand them out," Sawatzky said at Missions Fest, an annual conference. Sawatzky is one of 32 members of the Christian Motorcycle Association in the Fraser Valley.
VATICAN CITY – Total obedience to God's will brings wisdom, joy and hope, Pope Francis told religious men and women. Jesus came not to follow his own will, but to obey the Father's will, the pope said Feb. 2 during a Mass for the feast of the Presentation of the Lord. The Church marks the feast as the World Day for Consecrated Life. "Whoever follows Jesus takes the path of obedience," which means lowering, emptying and humbling oneself like Jesus, the pope said.
VANCOUVER – Two months into the Year of Consecrated Life, the Archdiocese of Vancouver has opened a new seminary. All seven seminarians at Archdiocesan Missionary Seminary Redemptoris Mater (Mother of the Redeemer) are members of the Neocatechumenal Way, a global Church movement founded in Spain in 1964 that embraces families and vocations. Archbishop Michael Miller said he made the decision to open the seminary after prayer, reflection, and "the encouragement of Pope Francis."
Redemptorist Father Edward Kennedy will be remembered as a Vatican II priest who cared deeply about the common person. "I remember him very well. He was a very friendly man, a very kind man and a very intelligent man," says Archbishop Emeritus Joseph MacNeil, one of Kennedy's many friends. "He loved people. He worked for people. He was somebody who was committed to helping the common person." Kennedy died Jan. 20 from pneumonia. He was 89.