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It was surreal. It was noisy. It was a week in Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families Congress that six families from the Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton will not forget. The event, which takes place every three to four years and draws families from around the world, kicked off Sept. 22 concluding with the appearance of Pope Francis, who celebrated the final Mass on Sunday.
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Trustees at Edmonton Catholic Schools are gearing up to vote for a new policy to protect transgender and other students at their schools. The new policy, which is modeled after the Edmonton Public Schools' policy, will be ready for first reading at the board's Oct. 13 meeting. "Our gender expression and identity policy will be modelled after the Edmonton's Public School's policy and is the kind of policy the Minister of Education wants to see," board chair Debbie Engel told the WCR Oct. 4.
St. Francis of Assisi was surely smiling down on Edmonton's friary grounds on his feast day this year, as the city's Franciscan Friars celebrated their founder with a blessing of the animals. Dog, cat and bird treats were on hand for the Blessing of Pets event. Twenty animals were blessed and sprinkled with Holy Water Oct.4. "The dog is just a puppy, but she feels very peaceful around Father Manoj (Xalxo) and Father Regi (Mathew)," said Valerie Wilson, who lives next door to the friary. The Wilsons brought their tabby Mr. Bill and 2-year-old Catahoula dog Maggie to be blessed for the first time this year.
As Canadian Thanksgiving approaches, many communities host agricultural fairs to showcase everything from the best potatoes to the best heifers. At the Metcalfe Fair, in a small rural town in the Ottawa archdiocese, local Catholics decided to showcase their faith, putting new evangelization into practice by offering free popcorn, rosaries, pamphlets. They are coupled with opportunities for friendly glances, kind words and meaningful conversations. One of their big draws is the presence of the Queenship of Mary sisters in their habits.
VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis planned two gatherings of the Synod of Bishops to focus on the family and urged participants to use the year between the assemblies as a time for "true spiritual discernment" with both study and prayer. In the months leading up to the opening of the world Synod of Bishops Oct. 4, dozens of books about the Catholic Church and families were published, consultations were conducted, conferences held, groups formed, petitions were circulated and study days were sponsored.
Pray for the Pope. It's the one thing he wants. For six days in America, he asked school children, the president, congressmen, senators, UN diplomats, bishops, a million Mass-goers, the homeless and prisoners all to pray for him. As he visited Washington, New York and Philadelphia Sept. 22 to 27, Pope Francis' insistence on that one request - to pray for the Pope - wormed its way into the heart of his message for America and a worldwide audience.
Jesus does not leave room for compromise about his identity. One cannot seriously maintain that Jesus was a great man, perhaps even a wonder worker, but something less than divine. The New Testament will not allow it. It claims, "The Father and I are one" (John 10.30); "Whoever has seen me has seen the Father" (John 14.9); "In him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell" (Colossians 1.19).