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Children are an important part of the Church family. The basis for having separate ministry programs for children is that they have specific needs. Kids learn differently than adults and typically have shorter attention spans. Therefore, priests, pastoral associates and teachers across the Edmonton Archdiocese turn to Sunday school, children's liturgies, teaching Masses and other child-specific programs in an effort to meet the unique needs of their younger parishioners. At Holy Trinity Parish in Spruce Grove/Stony Plain, children's liturgy draws about 30 to 60 children at each of the three weekend Masses. "The benefit to the kids coming in here for children's liturgy as opposed to sitting out there at the regular Mass is that they're hearing the same thing but they're hearing it at their own level," said Sheila Rossi, the parish's children's liturgy coordinator.
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SHERWOOD PARK – The Strathcona County Ecumenical Mission has been the high point of church life in the county for the past 25 years. Christians look forward to it and attend in droves. Attendance keeps growing. About 1,500 people from participating churches have been taking part in the mission events in recent years. Ten churches from four denominations were represented this year, including Catholic, Anglican, United and Lutheran. Worshipping together, learning together and growing together in Christ are important aims of the ecumenical mission held at churches in and around Sherwood Park.
Two young Edmonton priests have been appointed chaplains of the Edmonton Catholic School District to replace the late Father Michael Mireau. Father Dean Dowle, adjunct judicial vicar of the Alberta Interdiocesan Tribunal, and Father Julian Bilyj, a Ukrainian Catholic priest and school teacher, were appointed to their new positions Oct. 9. They will begin their duties as chaplains Oct. 27. Dowle, 32, was born in Edmonton, raised in Fort Saskatchewan and ordained to the priesthood in 2010. He served in parish ministry at St. Theresa's Parish and St. Joseph's Basilica before beginning graduate studies at St. Paul University in Ottawa.
Debate over the usefulness and wisdom of a bombing campaign against the Islamic State has Christians re-examining the criteria for a just war – and coming up with different answers. An air campaign against terrorists in control of parts of Syria and Iraq won't result in peace or justice in the region, said Catholic commentator Michael Coren. But conscience pricks us to action. "Most of us know what Christian conscience is and when we look at what is going on there we viscerally realize, and intellectually, we have to do something about it, particularly as we helped to make this happen," said Coren.
VATICAN CITY – The Church needs to find better ways to show how the Gospel message is a way of life meant to bring great joy to couples and families, the president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops said during the synod on the family. The Gospel is not a burdensome set of rules aimed at exclusion, said Archbishop Paul-Andre Durocher of Gatineau, Quebec. "Church teaching has to be rediscovered not as a set of rules, but as a true good news, a good news that frees people," Durocher told Catholic News Service Oct. 8. "God's plan for marriage is not a structure in which people have to bind themselves in order to somehow gain God's love. God's plan for marriage is a gift of God's love for us," he said.
A 30-year effort to get the pope to take back the words of two 15th century popes got another boost this summer when Leadership Conference of Women Religious, representing about 80 per cent of American sisters, passed a resolution calling on Pope Francis to repudiate the doctrine of discovery. The resolution, approved in August, called on Pope Francis to formally repudiate the events of Christian history when religion was used "to justify political and personal violence against indigenous nations and peoples and their cultural, religious and territorial identities."
Although the Polish Archbishop Karol Wojtyla was not one of the main architects of the Declaration on Religious Freedom (Dignitatis Humanae) at the Second Vatican Council, he may have been the bishop who used the declaration most effectively after the council. For Wojtyla, the future Pope John Paul II, by rooting the right to religious freedom in the nature of the human person, the declaration provided a teaching that he could use to challenge the Communist rulers of Poland.