Columns

From the category archives: Mark Pickup

Mark Pickup

Christ came to bring Good News to all

Mark Pickup

December 19, 2011

A tiny heart beat steadily within the baby boy's mother. The blood circulating through that tiny heart would save us and change millions of human hearts across the centuries; hearts of stone and violence would melt into hearts of flesh and peace and joy.

The infant's birth was like no other birth. It had been prophesied hundreds of years earlier. The prophet Isaiah prophesied the Messiah would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7.14) and of the Davidic line (11.1-2). Micah identified Bethlehem as the place where the Messiah would be born (5.1). People like Simeon and Anna waited expectantly for him.

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God bless us everyone, says Tiny Tim

Mark Pickup

December 5, 2011

Christmas is my favourite time of the year. I love everything about it including the smallest details and traditions commonly associated with the season.

Throughout the last half of November my wife resisted my requests to put up the Christmas tree. She reminded me that it takes up too much space in the living room for my electric wheelchair to manoeuvre easily. She was right. The Christmas tree stayed in the basement until Dec. 1.

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Parents must nurture children's vocations

Mark Pickup

November 21, 2011

Archbishop Richard Smith's recent pastoral letter, Pastoral Priorities of the Archdiocese of Edmonton, identified vocation promotion as one of the three priorities along with evangelization and faith formation. My previous columns have addressed the latter two. Now I want to look at the promotion of vocations.

God calls us all to lives of faith, obedience and service. We who have welcomed Christ into our lives are called to "come follow me." We are called to make known the Gospel message throughout a hurting world. This can happen in various ways.

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Share the Good News of Christ's love

Mark Pickup

November 7, 2011

There are three priorities identified in Archbishop Richard Smith's pastoral letter entitled Pastoral Priorities of The Archdiocese of Edmonton. They are as follows: evangelization, faith formation and vocations promotion.

My last column addressed faith formation. It is vitally important that Christian faith be well formed, based upon a relationship with Christ and be supported by the solid foundation of Church teachings. In this column, I want to reflect on evangelization and how lay people like you and me can participate in this task.

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Encountering Jesus Christ transforms lives

Mark Pickup

October 17, 2011

People in the Edmonton Archdiocese are so fortunate to have Archbishop Richard Smith. He is truly committed to people knowing Christ in a personal way and living holy lives that reflect our blessed Catholic faith.

Archbishop Smith's vision for the flock entrusted to his care is captured in his pastoral letter entitled Pastoral Priorities of the Archdiocese of Edmonton. I recommend that everyone read it and contribute to the goals the archbishop has established.

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A broken mind deserves compassionate care

Mark Pickup

October 3, 2011

My wife, LaRee, never knew her maternal grandmother. Her grandmother's name was Dora and she suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. Dora was institutionalized in a mental hospital in 1932 at 34 years of age.

Seventy-five years ago the shame and stigma of having a family member in a mental institution was so great that few people in the family ever mentioned Dora. She never got out of a mental hospital and eventually died there. Life went on and it was as though Dora never existed. It seemed that everyone forgot about her — but my wife did not forget.

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A brother's death sparks question, 'Did he say yes to Christ?'

Mark Pickup

September 12, 2011

In his book The Yes of Jesus Christ, Pope Benedict wrote: "We are not allowed neutrality when faced with the question of God. We can only say yes or no, and this with all the consequences extending right down to the smallest details of life."

The great American Catholic theologian Bishop Fulton Sheen concurred: "To the eyes of faith only two classes of people exist: those who say 'yes' to God and those who say 'no' to God." In an age of relativism - such as the one in which we live - this is an important but unpopular spiritual reality.

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Abortion opens the door for euthanasia

Mark Pickup

August 29, 2011

Canada and the United States treat abortion as a right. This is a recent development and an aberration from the course of human history.

The Hippocratic Oath for doctors dating back thousands of years forbade abortion and euthanasia. Since the first century, the Catholic Church has unwaveringly maintained the moral evil of procured abortion. Ancient and persistent common law traditions dating back into the Middle Ages treated abortion as a grave crime. In 1802, England formally made abortion a criminal offence.

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Grieving parents: Your hope is not futile

Mark Pickup

July 18, 2011

Recently I was at a park with some of my grandchildren. A woman arrived with a couple of her grandchildren. We started talking. At one point, she revealed that she lost a grandson to heart disease when he was only seven. Needless to say, I was stunned.

As we talked further I discovered that she turned her grief into positive action through starting a charity to raise funds for research, education and to offer support to families of children with heart disease or who have lost children to it. This is a wonderful example of turning a negative into a positive — a terrible tragedy into something good.

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The poor in spirit look to God for hope

Mark Pickup

July 4, 2011

The Gospel reading for July 3 has a passage from Matthew (11.25-30). It is the beloved passage where Jesus says "Come to me, all you who weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." Our Lord was extending an invitation to follow him and be obedient to his words.

From the writings of the saints and testimonies of countless Christians throughout the centuries, we know these words of Jesus are true. Although Jesus was addressing Jews suffering under the weight of unnecessary religious responsibilities of the Pharisees, his invitation was, and remains, open to all.

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