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For too long and too often, tragic events in isolated Aboriginal communities have been front page news and then faded from view. Whether it be gasoline sniffing, a lack of potable water, gang violence or epidemics of youth suicide, these situations briefly grab centre stage and then are forgotten. Now, the nation's attention has been riveted by the murders of four people and shootings of seven others in La Loche, Sask., an Aboriginal community of 3,000.
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The latest layoffs in the newsrooms of Postmedia across Canada have spurred much criticism and reflection on the decline of daily newspaper journalism. The falling circulations of the dailies show that the majority of Canadians are not - nor have they for a long time - getting their news from newspapers. When was the heyday of daily newspapers? The 19th century? The 1950s? The 1970s? Whenever it was, it hasn't been for a long time.
Lake Poopó, the second largest lake in Bolivia, was officially declared evaporated in December. The demise of Poopó has been attributed to various factors - global climate change which has accelerated glacier melting in the Andes, increasing droughts resulting from more frequent El Niños and water diversion from Poopó's tributaries for use in agriculture and especially mining.World needs to preserve its water supplies
At the end of every Roman Catholic liturgy, the people are invited to receive a blessing. That invitation is worded this way: Bow your heads and pray for God's blessing. The idea behind that, obviously, is that a blessing can only truly be received in reverence, in humility, with head bowed, with pride and arrogance subjugated and silent.
On the Peace Tower of Canada's Parliament building is etched in stone the words of Proverbs 29.18: "Where there is no vision, the people perish." This is a moment when we desperately need to find and implement a vision of peace in the world. A culture of peace represents that vision. But people are discouraged about the possibility of peace because what they see mostly in the mainstream media are terrorist violence, squabbling politicians and the misery of countless numbers of refugees.
During Lent last year, Bill Donaghy of the Theology of the Body Institute posted a graphic on his Facebook page entitled "A Catholic Guide to Ashes." What follows is a series of examples of the signs priests place on worshippers' foreheads during Ash Wednesday services. These include a pristine cross labeled First in Line, a massive cross entitled Father's Revenge, a messy little blur called The Hasty, and a barely there impression that says simply Load Toner.
Lent reminds us all that we are on an interior journey that does not end until the day we die. This journey takes us through deserts. It is a journey that brings us into a battle with our ancient and sinister foe. It is a journey that ultimately leads to victory through the cross. I do not enjoy suffering. I do not enjoy the desert days where God's presence seems far away. I do not enjoy the internal battles when the powers of darkness cause temptation, stress and anxiety.
It is pretty safe to say the Transfiguration was a mountaintop experience for the apostles. Peter, John and James literally went up the mountain with Jesus and saw things they could not have imagined: Christ's divine glory revealing itself in blinding light, impossible visitors and the voice of God proclaiming Jesus' true identity. The Transfiguration happens in the middle of Jesus performing great miracles, but it also happens between two of the times Jesus warns his apostles of his coming betrayal and death.
Twice over the past five years, 25 faith community leaders have come together through the Capital Region Housing Initiative to sign a public statement expressing their support for Edmonton's 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness. In this statement, the faith leaders committed their faith communities "to find new and creative ways . . . to address the issues of homelessness and affordable housing in our communities." The churches and faith communities signing this statement have found different ways to put the words of this public commitment into action over the past five years.