Get Flash to see
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.
Read More »
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.
Growing up in India, Joby Augustin and his siblings' main daily knew they had an important tasks before heading out to school each day. "We attended Church every day," he recalled. "We would wake up at 5 a.m. and then go to Mass." As a youngster, Augustin served as an altar boy and joined a Marian youth group. One day after Mass, a priest asked him what his life plan was. He wasn't sure, so the priest asked him if he would like to be a member of a religious order. Augustin said yes, and at age 15 he joined the Sons Of The Immaculate Conception (CFIC).
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.
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.
Hours before celebrating a huge downtown Mass with nearly a million people in Philadelphia, Pope Francis set aside some time to be with his brothers. Edmonton Archbishop Richard Smith, one of the bishops taking part in the Vatican sponsored World Meeting of Families Congress, said Pope Francis' meeting with the bishops, on the final day of his visit to the United States, felt very much like being with a brother among brothers.
The world Synod of Bishops on the family is not a parliament where participants will negotiate or lobby, Pope Francis said, but it must be a place of prayer where bishops speak with courage and open themselves to "God who always surprises us." Opening the first working session of the synod Oct. 5, the pope said the synod's 270 voting members need courage, "pastoral and doctrinal zeal, wisdom, frankness and to keep always before our eyes the good of the Church and of families and the supreme law - the salvation of souls."
A popular American psychologist and author said he hopes the bishops attending the Synod on the Family in Rome will address the importance of strong fathers in the family. "I think they need to emphasize dads taking a much more faithful leadership role," said clinical psychologist Ray Guarendi in a recent interview. "We guys have a tendency to leave it up to the women and the research concludes that a strong male figure is something much needed for the development of boys and girls."
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.
The work of Farmland Legacies - which includes providing sustainably raised, high-quality beef to Saskatchewan food banks - was highlighted at a recent Administration Day in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon. At the gathering of parish and ministry leaders Sept. 10 at the Cathedral of the Holy Family, Duane Guina, executive director of the non-profit organization based on a farm in the Wynyard area, spoke about the importance of sustainable agriculture and just food systems, as well as relating the history of Farmland Legacies and the impact of the Legacy of One project.
The head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church has urged the Vatican to show greater support for his country, as a senior Vatican diplomat warned the country risked becoming "a kind of Somalia." "I would have expected a lot more involvement by the Vatican - the time for cautious diplomacy is at an end," said Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Kiev-Halych, major archbishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Church.
Everyone has a guardian angel who is advising and protecting each individual on earth, Pope Francis said at a recent morning Mass. Whenever people hear a little voice in their head, "'Well, do this. That would be better. You mustn't do this . . .' Listen! Don't turn against him" because it is the guardian angel's voice, he said during the Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae.
The Church must rediscover its role in helping and supporting families at this fall's Synod on the Family, one of the leading Asian cardinals told The Catholic Register. More than 360 cardinals, bishops, priests and laypeople are attending the Synod of Bishops on the family, held in the Vatican from Oct. 4-25. This ordinary synod follows up on the work of last year's smaller extraordinary synod that became contentious as bishops examined the challenges facing today's families.
Representatives from parishes across the Ottawa archdiocese met recently to discover how they can help sponsor Syrian refugees. Ottawa's Episcopal Vicar for Pastoral Services Father Geoff Kerslake told the gathering the number of people requiring help is mind blowing." Even if the government increases the number of refugees by ten or twenty times, it "will only be a drop in the bucket," he said.
Every day, the devil tries to trick and seduce people with promises of riches, grandeur and power, Pope Francis said. Satan "sows snares and is a seducer. He seduces with charm, with diabolical charm, he leads you to believe everything. He knows how to sell with this charm, he sells well, but he pays badly in the end," the pope said in a morning homily.