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Pope Francis warned Poland's Catholic bishops that an increasingly secularized and de-Christianized culture leaves people orphaned, being vaguely spiritual without Christ or his Church. Speaking July 27 with the 117-member bishops' conference in the Krakow cathedral, the pope also said that behind the exploitation of people and creation "ideological colonization" is at work.
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Our Lady of Victory Camp offers campers and counsellors alike a week-long infusion of faith. The program at the camp on the west side of Gull Lake is based on youth catechism with daily Mass, Reconciliation, Eucharistic Adoration and the rosary. That's a full load of Catholicism, especially compared with secular summer camps that emphasize horseback riding, sports and swimming.
Ominous-looking clouds gathered in the direction of the Skaro Pilgrimage site as my wife Nora and I headed out from Edmonton for the annual Marian pilgrimage late in the afternoon of Aug. 14. A couple of showers rained down as we approached the site. However, at Skaro itself, all was dry . . . and stayed dry throughout the evening of prayer and liturgy as the usual crowd of several thousand came to celebrate the vigil of the feast of Mary's Assumption.
Raised on a farm near Killam in a devout Catholic family, Rodney Kroetch's own faith was strong enough for him to enter the seminary. However, it was only when he took part in a Cursillo weekend when he was 42 that Kroetch said he experienced the presence of Jesus. As a youngster, Kroetch loved life on the farm and working side by side with his father. But as he neared the end of high school, people began asking him, "What are your plans after graduation?"
A favourite motto of Blessed Teresa of Kolkata was: "Do small things with great love." But the "small things" she did so captivated the world that she was showered with honorary degrees and other awards, almost universally praised by the media and sought out by popes, presidents, philanthropists and other figures of wealth and influence. Despite calls on her time from all over the globe, Mother Teresa always returned to India to be with those she loved most - the lonely, abandoned, homeless, disease-ravaged, dying, "poorest of the poor" in Kolkata's streets.
At Mercy Farm in Benson, Vt., Mercy sisters are creating a place where people can experience peace and quiet and an opportunity to care for the earth. Here the importance of the earth is emphasized and visitors are encouraged to find ways they can care for it: organic gardening, recycling, composting, using solar power and reusing, for example. As well, visitors can experience God in creation. One college student returned to her Catholic faith after visiting the farm.
The story of the good Samaritan has been thoroughly domesticated over the centuries into a call to help the person who has been beaten and left to die at the side of the road. That is certainly an excellent moral precept, one we should strive to follow. Jesus' reason for telling the story, however, was more likely aimed at pointing out that any notion of the moral superiority of one nation or group over another is deeply sinful and contradicts God's will. God would rather have us build bridges than erect walls.