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Pope Francis urged a crowd estimated at six million gathered in a Manila park to protect the family "against insidious attacks and programs contrary to all that we hold true and sacred, all that is most beautiful and noble in our culture." The pope's homily at the Jan. 18 Mass also reprised several other themes he had sounded during the four-day visit, including environmental problems, poverty and corruption. Despite continuous rain, the congregation in Rizal Park began to assemble the night before the afternoon celebration. The crowd was so dense in spots that people passed hosts to fellow worshippers unable to reach priests distributing Communion.
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Catholics responded well to the first consolidated charitable appeal in the Edmonton Archdiocese. More than 80 parishes took part in the Together We Serve appeal, raising $1.721 million. That's $121,000 more than the original goal of $1.6 million. "It went really well," says director of development Connie Lunde. "We are very, very pleased because, of course, a first year can be a little bit scary. It's hard for people to change something that they are very used to." Together We Serve replaced nine special collections previously taken in all parishes at various times throughout the year. The appeal began at Easter and ran until the end of December.
Seventy. Seventy years of living with the same person, raising a family, and sharing the twilight years of life seems almost impossible in today's society. Two Catholic couples living in Edmonton's downtown Rivera community know it's possible because they are still doing it. Edith and Ken Nixon display the easy companionship one might expect after 70 years of marriage. Sitting in their comfortable apartment, they correct each other or add a fact or two the other might have forgotten with the warmth of two lifelong friends. It is much the same with Lionel and Pauline Lemieux. Their marital journey was different, but the ingredients of faith and commitment were there too. The Montreal setting and Lionel's travelling gave a different tenor to the early part of their relationship.
Steve Bell was ready to face the music: his decade-long career as a nightclub musician was over. A little over age 30, he played in bars six nights a week, not making enough money to support his young family. He says he slipped into a deep depression and realized that, other than music, he had no employable skills. Then one night, as he lay in bed, he felt a presence, a presence he now acknowledges to be God, which provided him with a sense that he was meant to do something else. "So I quit playing, thinking that I was going to hang up my guitar and my career was over. But literally when I quit is when all of this new music came out of me," said Bell.
REGINA – "The most poignant artifact for me are the braids," said Dr. Shauneen Pete, as she explained the meaning of the "Memorial Blanket" artwork set up along a wall in the University of Regina's Research and Innovation Centre Atrium. The Memorial Blanket was put together by West Coast artist and master carver Carey Newman. Residential school artifacts were collected from across Canada and placed in panels of the nine-metre-wide work. The artwork includes everything from an old door, worn-out skates, a shoe, door handles, a clock, pieces of wood, glass and photos. Old books and encyclopedias occupy slots along the bottom of the work. A slide show of photos and letters are displayed on an old table behind the blanket.
Scarboro Missions is seeking those with the guts and grit to answer God's call to serve as a foreign missioner on a short-term basis. "Mission is not for everyone," said Scarboro Missions Father Ron MacDonell. "It has to come from a deep conviction that you are called . . . by God, called by Jesus, to want to serve. And young people have that capacity." That is why Scarboro Missions is again accepting applications from those 21 and older who are interested in enrolling in its One-Year Missioners program. The application can be found at scarboromissions.ca and must be submitted by Feb. 16.
The Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et Spes) began as a patchwork of various proposed documents on social issues that had been put forward by the commissions charged with writing documents for consideration at the Second Vatican Council. It is tempting to see part two of Gaudium et Spes as an appendix to the main document that wraps some of these earlier documents into one huge pastiche. What is remarkable, however, is how well the five "urgent problems" discussed in part two are woven into one constitution and how well they flow from the Gaudium et Spes' central focus on the nature of the human person.