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Many parishes in need of ‘divine renovation’ – priest

Fr. James Mallon

October 20, 2014
LASHA MORNINGSTAR
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

Imagine being a pastor who walks into a parish and quickly realizes not only are there too many empty pews but the parishioners who are there are not present. Yes, their physical beings are there but their spiritual reason – coming to be with Jesus – is sadly absent. Church is just a habit. They know they are expected to be there. So they are. They go through the service by rote, half listen (maybe) to the homily and readings, and duck out after receiving Jesus's blood from the chalice. Why wait to sing the closing hymn? If they time it right, they can be among the first out of the parking lot and in time for the football game on TV. That's the scenario – among others – that hit Father James Mallon when he was assigned from 2004 to 2010 to a Maritime parish where "nothing new had really taken place for 30 years."

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Yoga is prelude to prayer – Ryan

October 20, 2014
RAMON GONZALEZ
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

SHERWOOD PARK – Christians need help in coming to a higher appreciation of the role of their bodies in their spiritual lives, says Father Thomas Ryan. One practice that can help is yoga. Ryan said contrary to common opinion, yoga is not a religion but a science, philosophy and spiritual practice. "Yoga for me is just one possible way for Christians to come to feel more comfortable in their body and learn how to go to God through their bodies."

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Mission has brought churches together for 25 years

Strathcona County Ecumenical Mission – Logo – Small

October 20, 2014
RAMON GONZALEZ
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

SHERWOOD PARK – The Strathcona County Ecumenical Mission has been the high point of church life in the county for the past 25 years. Christians look forward to it and attend in droves. Attendance keeps growing. About 1,500 people from participating churches have been taking part in the mission events in recent years. Ten churches from four denominations were represented this year, including Catholic, Anglican, United and Lutheran. Worshipping together, learning together and growing together in Christ are important aims of the ecumenical mission held at churches in and around Sherwood Park.

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Christians called to be agents of unity

Strathcona County Ecumenical Mission – Logo – Small

October 20, 2014
RAMON GONZALEZ
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

Christians are called to be ambassadors of reconciliation, said Paulist Father Thomas Ryan and Episcopal Canon William Derby, mission leaders for the 25th annual Strathcona County Ecumenical Mission. The pair took turns giving the sermon at an evening service at Sherwood Park United Church Oct. 6. Christians have a ministry of reconciliation that begins in our inner lives and spreads to family, friends, colleagues, Church and the world, they said.

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Some aging Oblates to move from St. Albert facility

Bro. Tom Cavanaugh

October 20, 2014
RAMON GONZALEZ
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

Some elderly residents at Foyer Lacombe, the Oblate Fathers retirement home in St. Albert, will soon have to move out as the order has decided to shut down part of the residence. Dwindling membership and the high cost of private health care are cited as reasons for the decision to close New Foyer, the wing that houses residents requiring nursing care. The other wing of the residence, known as First Foyer, will continue to house 16 to 19 independent living residents. "We are getting out of the long-term care business; we are not getting out of the business of caring for our Oblates," said Rob Meilleur, chief administrative officer for the Oblates in Canada.

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Lectures depict future pope as a young radical

Fr. Karol Wojtyla, the future Pope John Paul II

October 20, 2014
JONATHAN LUXMOORE
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

WARSAW, POLAND – Less than six months after St. John Paul II was canonized, questions are being raised about a book of lectures he penned as a young priest in his Polish homeland. The two-volume Katolicka Etyka Spoleczna (The Catholic Social Ethic) has never been officially published. But it could, some observers said, affect interpretations of the future pope's philosophical development, highlighting a youthful commitment to radical change which sounded, at times, close to Marxism. "The text certainly reveals how he viewed the political realities of the early 1950s, as well as his deep sensitivity to social issues," said Msgr. Alfred Wierzbicki, director of the John Paul II Institute at Poland's Catholic University of Lublin.

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Parishes find different ways to minister to children

Kendra Stewart

October 20, 2014
CHRIS MILLER
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

Children are an important part of the Church family. The basis for having separate ministry programs for children is that they have specific needs. Kids learn differently than adults and typically have shorter attention spans. Therefore, priests, pastoral associates and teachers across the Edmonton Archdiocese turn to Sunday school, children's liturgies, teaching Masses and other child-specific programs in an effort to meet the unique needs of their younger parishioners. At Holy Trinity Parish in Spruce Grove/Stony Plain, children's liturgy draws about 30 to 60 children at each of the three weekend Masses. "The benefit to the kids coming in here for children's liturgy as opposed to sitting out there at the regular Mass is that they're hearing the same thing but they're hearing it at their own level," said Sheila Rossi, the parish's children's liturgy coordinator.

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'Gaudium et Spes' reflected the spirit of post-war Europe

November 3, 2014
GLEN ARGAN
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

The Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et Spes) was the crowning achievement of the Second Vatican Council. There is no document remotely like it in the history of the Church, and it should be regarded as an act of providence, rather than deliberate design, that Vatican II was able to produce such a statement. Gaudium et Spes arose out of the folding-together of various documents the council was preparing and giving those documents a more solid theological foundation than had been found in earlier Catholic social teaching.

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Media bias is different than what writer said

November 3, 2014

This is a response to Celia Paz's letter in the Oct. 6 WCR. We tend to agree that mainstream media and social media coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict tends to be biased and constrained. However, we are not sure what coverage Paz is referring to because the mainstream media we hear and read commonly portray Israel as an aggressor.

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L'Arche offers lifein the heart of God

November 3, 2014

I would like to thank Glen Argan for the article entitled "Church should cherish hidden life of Nazareth" (WCR, Sept. 22). As a stay-at-home mom with three young children, I do agree that it can at times feel lonely and unsatisfying leading a "hidden," ordinary life, dedicated to the largely thankless task of raising a family.

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