Columns

Jay's Articles

Seek out moments of joy to ease the pain

Lisa Persche

December 20, 2010

Many people are filled with joyful anticipation and festive good cheer at this time of the year. But some are filled with anxiety and dread, and wish to get the holidays over with as quickly and uneventfully as possible. more . . .

Take time to reflect on our life of work

Bob McKeon

September 20, 2010

Labour Day means different things to different people in Alberta. For many of us, Labour Day is a much-treasured long weekend marking the end of summer. For students and teachers, it signals the time for going back to school. For CFL football fans, it is the occasion for the annual Edmonton Eskimo-Calgary Stampeder football classic. For the Edmonton District Labour Council, Labour Day is a day for a special barbecue in a local city centre park for the unemployed and underemployed. Last year more than 5,000 people participated in the barbecue.

Activists can thrive in parish community

Bob McKeon

June 28, 2010

Last week, I was part of a meeting of representatives from Edmonton area parishes and Catholic organizations concerned about the issues of homelessness and affordable housing. Everyone attending the meeting came with a strong personal commitment. I spoke with a couple of people from parishes in one corner of the city. They said that for years they had been regular participants in an ecumenical network in their area committed to do more about poverty and homelessness in their community.

God's spirit is active at inner city Way of the Cross

Bob McKeon

April 19, 2010

On Good Friday, I was part of the 30th annual Outdoor Way of the Cross in inner city Edmonton. Several hundred people of all ages and backgrounds participated in this annual ecumenical event. People make the connection between Jesus' unjust arrest, torture and execution on the first Good Friday, and the different ways people today experience pain and suffering and early death in the face of injustices in our time. Jesus' death on Good Friday was not the final word. It led to the resurrection event of Easter Sunday where life conquers death, good conquers evil and hope conquers despair.

Our conflicted souls yearn for both purity and promiscuity

I was born into this world with a tortured complexity. For a long time I have puzzled over the causes of my psychological anguish.

Ruth Burrows, the renowned Carmelite writer, begins her autobiography with those words.

Medical Mission Sisters initiated Boyle McCauley Health Centre

Bob McKeon

March 22, 2010

Last week I was invited to an interesting meeting in my inner city neighbourhood of Boyle McCauley in Edmonton. The meeting was called to plan for the upcoming celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Boyle McCauley Health Centre. I have a personal interest in this because I was part of the initial organizing committee and a member of the first board of directors 30 years ago. The meeting was an opportunity to talk about the early history of the health centre, and particularly about the role of the Medical Mission Sisters in the organizing, and visioning during the early years of this unique community health centre.

 

Minimum wage means minimum dignity

Bob McKeon

February 22, 2010

Thomas Lukaszuk, the newly appointed provincial minister of employment and immigration, announced this month that he was freezing Alberta's minimum wage. This is a major change in the policy enacted in June 2007 that linked the minimum wage to Alberta's weekly earnings. Since this policy was introduced, the minimum wage in Alberta rose from $8.00 to $8.80 per hour. If this policy had continued, this year, the minimum wage would have risen modestly by 12 cents per hour to match the 1.4 per cent increase in average weekly earnings for Alberta workers over the past twelve months.

Give the homeless a Place to Call Home

Bob McKeon

January 25, 2010

Homelessness is becoming an increasingly important issue in Edmonton and across Canada. Edmonton's most recent homeless street count in 2008 identified over 3,000 men, women and children as homeless. This number has increased steadily in recent years. In the face of this crisis, two years ago the mayor of Edmonton called for a new way to address this crisis. The past practice was to manage the homeless crisis by annually increasing the number of shelter mats in the inner city and incrementally expanding funding for winter emergency plans.

Decisions on industry affect future generations

Bob McKeon

December 21, 2009

Recently I was asked to speak on a panel addressing the issue of introducing nuclear power to Alberta. The organizers wanted someone from the Catholic Archdiocese on the panel to speak from the perspective of the Pastoral Reflections on Nuclear Energy statement issued by the Alberta Catholic bishops in June. This was a challenging task, because the other panelists and most of the audience wanted to advance and debate their strongly held pro-nuclear and anti-nuclear positions. My task was different.

Step up and claim your voice as God would want

Bob McKeon

November 23, 2009

A few weeks ago I attended a meeting of diocesan social justice staff working in Western Canada. I always enjoy these meetings because it is a chance for us to compare notes about what we are encountering in our social justice works in our respective provinces. This year the conversation with colleagues from Saskatchewan was especially interesting.

 
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