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The heart of a Catholic school is Jesus, the archbishop of Edmonton told Catholic elementary students in St. Albert April 13. Speaking to students at J.J. Nearing School, Archbishop Richard Smith said the Catholic school system is all about Jesus – knowing him, loving him and following him. "In a Catholic school, you learn all kinds of wonderful things, but at the heart of it all is learning about Jesus." Smith spent all morning at the school, speaking to different grades separately in the library. The visit was part of his plan to visit all 182 Catholic schools in the archdiocese.
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MONTREAL – Four years into Syria's civil war, the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace is petitioning Ottawa to work harder for peace in the region and to increase aid to the war's victims. An online petition launched by CCODP calls on the federal government to provide more aid, make a diplomatic contribution to a peace plan and increase its efforts to choke off the money that keeps both the Assad regime and ISIS fighting.
Community members joined Fr. Leo Hofmann and parishioners of St Michael's Catholic Parish in Leduc for the parish's second annual Way of the Cross on Good Friday, April 3. About 165 people took part in the event, nearly double the number of participants as last year.
The Oblates of Mary Immaculate have deep roots in Edmonton and in Canada as a whole. In fact, the missionaries were paramount in establishing the Edmonton Archdiocese and other dioceses across the West. After helping to establish the Church in Eastern Canada, they rolled out across the Prairies founding missions, parishes and dioceses. One of their most important Western missions was St. Albert, which in 1871 became the seat of a diocese under Oblate Bishop Vital Grandin.
John Ourfali, 77, remembers how as a child he saw an elderly family friend break down and cry whenever he met with Ourfali's parents, unable to speak about what had happened to him and his family in the dark days of what today is known as the Armenian genocide. "He used to cry a lot and couldn't talk about it so we never knew what happened to his family," said Ourfali, an Armenian Catholic whose original family name is Khatcherian.
Mercy is what makes God perfect and all-powerful, Pope Francis said in a document officially proclaiming the 2015-16 extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy. "If God limited himself to only justice, he would cease to be God, and would instead be like human beings who ask merely that the law be respected," the pope wrote in Misericordiae Vultus, (The Face of Mercy). The document is the "bull of indiction" calling a holy year to begin Dec. 8.
Catholic charities are crying foul at the recent Alberta budget cut to the tax credit for charitable donations. Once among the highest in the country, the credit has been reduced to 12.75 per cent from 21 per cent for donations more than $200 ndash; meaning less incentive to give money to charity, including the Church. "I'm disappointed that the Alberta government would choose to do that," said Connie Lunde, director of development at the Edmonton Archdiocese. "For Canada, Alberta's was the most generous tax credit for charitable giving so it is disappointing that that's one of the ways they want to save money."
It has been a long journey with many side roads for Sister Mary Phillips to reach her destination with the Sisters of Providence of Montreal. From her beginnings in Newfoundland, Phillips, 53, has gone through a marriage and divorce, raised two sons and worked with Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity before she found her home with the Sisters of Providence. Even so, her heart yearns to return to work in overseas missions. Phillips will profess her temporary vows in Edmonton April 26.
We ought to love as Jesus loves, says Father Bob Mitchell. Speaking to employees of the archdiocesan Pastoral and Administration Offices, the Franciscan priest said love is essential to transform the world, which is the mission of the Church. "All beings, Christian and otherwise, are called to love. And there isn't a person in this room who doesn't need to be loved, who doesn't need to be accepted."
The religious order that brought Catholicism to much of Canada is facing hard questions about its future. The Oblates of Mary Immaculate sold its only Yukon property in February, closing a 117-year history of service. "Our numbers have been diminishing and our personnel are aging," said Father Richard Beaudette, superior of Lacombe Province, which includes all of Canada except Quebec.
VATICAN CITY – Commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, Pope Francis said atrocities from the past have to be recognized ndash; not hidden or denied ndash; for true reconciliation and healing to come to the world. However, Turkey's top government officials criticized the pope's use of the term "genocide" in reference to the deaths of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians during their forced evacuation by Ottoman Turks in 1915-18.
Franck Waille still has the posture of a dancer. When he stands, his back is straight, his shoulders are squared and his feet are pointed out – a more relaxed version of ballet's first position. Trained in contemporary dance since the age of 19, Waille has more than 27 years of experience as an artist and teacher. The French academic is one of the leading experts on the history and method of François Delsarte, an influential French theorist of artistic practice.
WINNIPEG – The Our Place-Chez Nous drop-in centre, in the heart of the infamous Main Street strip, is helping more people than ever ndash; a testament to the dedication of its volunteers, but a sign homelessness isn't going away. "More and more people are coming to Chez Nous," said its former director, Larry Stuart, at a recent fundraiser. Stuart said the only revenue source for Chez Nous' $40,000 budget is donations. "We pay no wages; we rely on volunteers."
Canada and the global community need to offer a broader response than military intervention to the crisis in Iraq and Syria, say Canadian Church leaders. "We are convinced that military efforts to end or limit the present atrocities must be accompanied by other steps," said a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper signed by 23 leaders of the nation's churches. Among the signatories of the April 6 letter sent by the Canadian Council of Churches (CCC) was Archbishop Paul-André Durocher, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB).
Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte, cardinal of the people, died April 8 in Montreal's Marie-Clarac Hospital. The 78-year-old cardinal, who served as Montreal's archbishop for 22 years, was diabetic, and his health had been in decline for several months. He was moved to palliative care March 24. Turcotte was remembered as a populist, a down-to-earth cleric with a common touch who once supported an ad campaign that urged Montreal residents to pray for his beloved Canadiens to make the National Hockey League playoffs.
A young girl from Salmon Arm, B.C., has become a cheerleader for women in labour after facing motherhood at age 16. Darby Ramsay, 19, is a doula, a woman who gives emotional and physical support to women before, during and just after they have a baby. "(Giving) birth is a significant event and it leaves a mark on women for the rest of their lives," she said. Ramsay is also a bold speaker for the pro-life movement. Her testimony, part of LifeCanada's You'll Never Regret Loving This Much campaign, was featured at a series of events at university campuses last month.
OTTAWA – Religious congregations and faith groups from across Canada have urged Canada's finance minister to put a price on carbon emissions to combat climate change. The 53 groups asked Finance Minister Joe Oliver to have the Canadian government "set a clear, reliable and effective price for carbon emissions with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and limiting catastrophic climate change."