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Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero, who will be beatified in San Salvador May 23, has become a symbol of Latin American Church leaders' efforts to protect their flocks from the abuses of military dictatorships. However, his life and the 35 years it took the Vatican to recognize him as a martyr also reflect decades of theological and pastoral discussion over the line dividing pastoral action from political activism under repressive regimes.
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The deliberate attempt of European settlers to break down aboriginal communities lies at the root of the addictions, violence and incarceration that is the life of many indigenous women today, says a native studies professor. Europeans brought an end to the way aboriginal people passed on their culture from elders to their grandchildren by imposing an industrial school system, said Dr. Winona Wheeler. "It was a systematic, destructive, pre-conceived breakdown of our communities," Wheeler asserted.
The Church hierarchy in El Salvador has shown little interest in the relics of Archbishop Oscar Romero in the 35 years since his death, says the sister who is director of the hospital where Romero was murdered in 1980. "Now that the pope has recognized his martyrdom, everyone is interested in Romero, including those who disagreed with his message," said Sister Maria Julia Garcia, Carmelite superior and director of the Divine Providence Hospital in San Salvador.
The dark and bloody opus of the zombie death metal that scores the wildly popular and violent video game Call of Duty series would not be a likely creation from the mind of a young Catholic. A zombie-themed conference featuring a choir clad in blood-smeared gowns would not be a likely event on a Christian school campus, either. Kevin Sherwood, senior sound designer and composer for software developer Treyarch, the company behind the Call of Duty Nazi Zombies game mode, was the keynote speaker at Concordia University of Edmonton's Religion and Pop Culture conference on May 1.
UN leader Ban Ki-moon and some climate scientists are banking on Pope Francis to be a unifying moral force to get the world onboard in the fight against global warming. Even though previous popes have spoken strongly against harming the earth and its inhabitants, one world-renowned atmospheric scientist said it is going to be Pope Francis "to save the day." Pope Benedict XVI, who has been lauded as the "green pope" for his attention to taking care of creation, "made some amazingly helpful statements on the environment" during his eight-year pontificate, said scientist Veerabhadran Ramanathan.
The so-called "secrets" of Our Lady of Fatima tell of today's Christian persecution, in addition to the martyrdom of the past century, said Cardinal Angelo Amato. The prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes opened a conference May 7 on The Message of Fatima between Charism and Prophecy. The text of his talk was published May 8 on the website of the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano.
Grant Mann believed the Alberta-Northwest Territories Knights of Columbus was beginning to stray from its original purpose and wanted to bring it back in line. With that goal in mind, he decided to run for the office of state deputy at the Knights' April 17-19 convention in Red Deer. He won and was to become the top leader of the 18,000 Knights in Alberta next month.
The Western Catholic Reporter has again been named the top regional Church newspaper in Canada, one of nine awards it received from the Canadian Church Press (CCP) May 1. The CCP has acknowledged the WCR as the country's first or second best regional Church newspaper seven times in the last nine years.
Coptic Christians calling out to Jesus during their execution on a Libyan beach. Gunmen storming Garissa University College in Kenya, targeting and shooting dead scores of Christian students. Iraqi Christians trapped in the mountains fleeing Islamic State persecution.
One wonders how a young woman raised on a beautiful coffee plantation in Guatemala would end up a religious sister in Canada. Indeed, that was not Sister Gabriela Villela's plan. "I wanted to marry and have many children," she said in a recent interview. The fourth of six children, Villela said all were baptized, "but we never went to church." Life in the country on the inherited coffee plantation was good.
When students walk into Lorne Zelyck's Introduction to the Bible class at the University of Alberta's St. Joseph's College, he can quickly tell the difference between a young person who has had Bible reading fostered in their life and one who has not. "Sometimes it's tragic how little they know," said Zelyck, whose students tend to be about 20 or 21 years of age.
This past Holy Week was the fifth one that I have spent at Our Lady of Grace Mission in Tuktoyaktuk, NWT. I missed last year because of a serious hip surgery, but was able to find a replacement in the person of Oblate Father Joe Gouthier of Foyer Lacombe in St. Albert. He not only replaced me for Holy Week, but remained there for one month. Because of the shortage of priests in the northern dioceses, they are dependent on volunteer priests to assist them for Christmas and Holy Week. Otherwise, the pastoral leaders in those remote areas have to celebrate these important feasts with lay-led liturgies and Communion services.
OTTAWA – When Michael Gaitley consecrated himself to Jesus through the Virgin Mary, he stopped chasing girls, felt the close spiritual presence of Mary, went into "monk mode" and eventually became a priest. At the time, Gaitley was a student at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, and was delighted with the three-to-one girl-to-guy ratio there.
SASKATOON – On May 18, 2004, Daleen Bosse was out with friends and was expected home that night. It was early the next morning that Bosse's mother, Pauline Muskego, began a journey that continues to this day. Muskego's son, Dana, was babysitting Bosse's daughter while she was out. He called his parents when Bosse did not call home to check on her daughter. "We came to Saskatoon right away to find out what was going on," Muskego recalled. "We didn't want to believe anything had happened."
SASKATOON – Religion in Canada is a growth industry and Catholics are leading the way, says University of Lethbridge sociologist Dr. Reginald Bibby. Bibby backed his assertions with statistics from his own research as well as information from Statistics Canada. He acknowledged Church attendance has decreased, especially among teens, but it has now stabilized, largely due to Catholic immigrants.
When Father Dominic Yuen first met Christopher Dubois, he could tell there was a special calling on the young university student's life. A political science major attending Brandon University at the time, Dubois, the eldest of five children – two younger sisters and two younger brothers – was thinking of following in his father's footsteps and becoming a lawyer.
The seeds of the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul were planted by St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. Born into a wealthy physician's family in New York in 1774, Elizabeth married William Seton when she was 19. Theirs was a love-filled marriage, made rich with five children. Seton saw past her comfortable life and began the Widow's Society for the destitute women and children in New York.
Sister Andrea Dumont, a missionary Sister of St. Joseph, has been honoured this year with Catholic Missions In Canada's St. Joseph Award. The award is presented annually at Catholic Missions' Tastes of Heaven gala, held April 24 at Bellvue Manor in Vaughan, Ont. Dumont was fêted for her missionary work that took her first to Guatemala and then back to Canada and the North where the soft-spoken sister has worked since 1981 in the Archdiocese of Keewatin-Le Pas.
WINNIPEG – Archbishop Emeritus Raymond Roussin, archbishop of Vancouver from 2004 to 2009, died here April 24 at age 75. Roussin, who had been tasked with closing down one diocese, pulling another out of debt, and handling his own struggle with depression and illness, was known as a courageous leader. "Bishop Ray was the good shepherd," said Bishop Gary Gordon of Victoria. "He never complained. He was never angry or bitter or resentful."
Before Scott Hahn became a Catholic he was familiar with ways to bring people to Christ, but now he sees conversion as a lifelong process. As a Presbyterian, Hahn said he knew methods to bring people to Christ and to invite them to pray the Sinner's Prayer. They would ask Christ's forgiveness and for Jesus to come and live in their hearts. He could invite people to become Christians this way while on a plane or even an elevator.