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Redeem memory of loved ones who died from suicide

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

November 17, 2014

Each year I write a column on suicide. Mostly I say the same thing again, simply because it needs to be said. I don't claim any originality or special insight, I only write about suicide because there is such a desperate need to address the question. Moreover, in my case, as a Catholic priest and spiritual writer, I feel it important to offer something to try to help dispel the false perception which so many people, not least many inside the Church itself, have of the church's understanding of suicide. Simply put, I'm no expert, not anyone's saviour; there's just so little out there. Each year, that column on suicide finds its audience. I am surprised and occasionally overwhelmed by the feedback. For the last 10 years, I don't think a single week has gone by when I did not receive an email, a letter or phone call from someone who has lost a loved one to suicide.

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Woman clothed with the sun battles against cosmic evil

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November 17, 2014
GLEN ARGAN
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

As the Church year draws to a close, the Scripture readings that confront us are filled with apocalyptic images that herald a monumental struggle against the forces of darkness. On one hand, it is easy to see that battle being waged in world events with wars and savage killings, not only in the Middle East and Ukraine, but also in many parts of Africa. The two recent attacks on Canadian military personnel might also be viewed as indicators that this cosmic battle has even touched our peaceful land. The cosmic battle may seem remote from our daily routines until that routine is thrown into turmoil by some crime, the death of a loved one or another disturbing occurrence. Mostly, our lives seem to continue outside any overt waging of the ultimate battle between good and evil.

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Clear criteria divide sheep from goats

Kathleen Giffin

November 17, 2014
Christ the King
November 23, 2014

With the feast of Christ the King, we come to the end of the liturgical year and our last consideration of end things before returning to the expectation of Advent. The separation of the sheep from the goats, the Gospel passage chosen for this year, is the most sobering and challenging of Scriptures. It is Matthew's account of the final judgment and the criteria that will divide all people between those who will enter God's kingdom and those who will go to endless suffering. It is a simple criterion; either we respond to those in need, to those who suffer, or we don't. We either have compassion that is put into action to the extent we are able or we don't.

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Carrying your cross can lead you to live a deeper life

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

November 17, 2014

Among Jesus' many teachings we find this, rather harsh-sounding, invitation: Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. I suspect that each of us has a gut sense of what this means and what it will cost us. But I suspect too that many of us misunderstand what Jesus is asking here and struggle unhealthily with this invitation. What concretely does Jesus mean by this? To answer that, I would like to lean on some insights offered by James Martin in his book, Jesus, A Pilgrimage. He suggests that taking up our cross daily and giving up life in order to find deeper life means six interpenetrating things:

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Religious persecution calls for faith, reason to embrace each other

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November 17, 2014

The 20th-century historian Arnold Toynbee once wrote, "The things that make good headlines are on the surface of the stream of life, and they distract us from the slower, impalpable, imponderable movements that work below the surface and penetrate to the depths." Yet, these slower movements are what affect society most deeply. That is why the 2014 report of Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) on the state of religious freedom in the world ought to be of great concern. (See story on Page 11.) While religious persecution does make headlines, this does not happen enough to make it apparent that this is a great issue of our time.

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Giving to charity through one's estate leaves a testament

Carla Smiley

November 17, 2014
RAMON GONZALEZ
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

As disciples of Jesus, Catholics are stewards, not owners, of what God has entrusted to them. "In fact we are accountable to God for what we receive and how we used it to serve others," explains Carla Smiley, coordinator of planned giving for the Edmonton Archdiocese. At the end of our lives, "we are to give whatever gifts we received back to God with increase." One way to be a good steward is to leave money to charity in your will, says Smiley, noting that Catholic charities rely primarily on Catholics for funding.

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Cemeteries are a place of evangelization

November 17, 2014
BETH GRIFFIN
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

Beyond their traditional roles as predictably quiet and often-beautiful places, "cemeteries have a huge opportunity to evangelize and a responsibility to stand for what the Church represents," said New Jersey Catholic cemeteries director. People who come to a committal service in a cemetery may be encountering Catholic funeral tradition for the first time, or for the first time in many years, said Andrew Schafer, executive director for Archdiocese of Newark Catholic Cemeteries. A positive experience might encourage them to return when they need to arrange a burial, Schafer said.

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Survivors need consolation

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November 17, 2014
LASHA MORNINGSTAR
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

Someone dies. What do we say when we meet their relative, their friend, their family? Too painful, right? Maybe we will blurt out something inane or insensitive. Yet this is the very time the grieving person needs words and/or actions of comfort. Father Leo Hofmann is sensitive to what not to say when someone has died, such as "God only takes the good ones." Or if a child dies, one shouldn't tell the parents, "'Oh, you are young. You can have another.' That is the most unfortunate thing. It's not like a litter of puppies.

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Aboriginal elders discuss indigenous Church

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November 17, 2014
PRAIRIE MESSENGER

SASKATOON – A group of about 40 Catholic elders recently gathered at Queen's House of Retreats for a dialogue to explore avenues leading to a more indigenous church. This dialogue was held under the auspices of the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs of the Western Bishops. It is an initiative of the bishops' Building Bridges Project headed by Sister Eva Solomon, an Anishinabe from Winnipeg.

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Quebec Catholic schools died from loss of identity

Spencer Boudreau

November 17, 2014
EVAN BOUDREAU
THE CATHOLIC REGISTER

Ontario supporters of Catholic education should heed the lesson of Quebec before it's too late, said a former education professor and ombudsman at McGill University in Montreal. Spencer Boudreau said one reason for the collapse of Quebec's publicly funded Catholic education system in the 1990s was that Catholic schools "lost their identity." Speaking to about 150 Catholic educators at an Oct. 20 event at Msgr. Percy Johnson High School in Toronto, Boudreau said the loss of identity was due to the advent of an increasingly secularized society coupled with a push by Catholic schools to become overly accommodating.

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