Jay's Articles

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.

Belief in life after death allows joy today

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

January 24, 2005

Does belief in life after death have an impact on how we live our lives right now? Should it?

Several years ago, I watched a panel of theologians discuss this question on national television and was surprised by their conclusions: All of them, theologians who professed to believe in God, stated that it shouldn't make any difference whatsoever whether there is life after death in terms of how we live our lives. Belief in life after death, they said, shouldn't affect really our daily lives.

Catholic roots nourish contrary directors

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

January 17, 2005

Canadian theologian Michael Higgins recently made this observation. At the upcoming Academy Awards, two movies will take centre stage, Mel Gibson's The Passion of The Christ and Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11.

Dark nights of the soul test our faith

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

December 27, 2004

If Christ was born into the world to redeem it, why doesn't our world look more redeemed? Why is our world still full of loneliness, anxiety, betrayals, sickness, poverty, violence, war and death? What did Christ's birth into our world really change?

Jesus' dysfunctional family tree

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

December 20, 2004

The full story of how Jesus Christ came to be born includes elements that we do not easily imagine when we sing our Christmas hymns. Jesus' family tree and blood-line were far from perfect and this, according to the great biblical scholar, Raymond Brown, needs to be kept in mind whenever we are tempted to believe in Jesus but want to reject the Church because of its imperfections, scandals and bad history.

Name the emotion and healing begins

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, omi

December 13, 2004

"A symptom suffers most when it doesn't know were it belongs."

James Hillman wrote that and I learned what it means when I was 17 years old. At that tender age, I entered a religious order, the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Like everyone that age, I was pretty restless, overfull with desire, and that was soon compounded by the isolation I experienced during the early years of seminary formation.

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