WCR This Week

Catholic schools can work with gay-straight alliances

Fr. Stefano Penna
March 23, 2015
GLEN ARGAN
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

Catholic officials are welcoming new Alberta legislation which will give students the right to establish gay-straight alliances in the province's schools. "We see this legislation as something we can work within," Father Stefano Penna told reporters March 12. Likewise, the Alberta Catholic School Trustees' Association (ACSTA) issued a prepared statement saying "Catholic schools will be able to work with the legislation." Penna, vice-president of college development and advancement, spoke at a news conference to give a Catholic perspective on Bill 10, which the legislature passed March 10.

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Alta. Dioceses combine marriage tribunals

March 23, 2015
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

EDMONTON – The five Roman Catholic dioceses of Alberta and the Northwest Territories have integrated their marriage tribunals into one body based in Edmonton. In making the announcement, Archbishop Richard Smith, moderator of the newly-established Interdiocesan Tribunal of Edmonton, said the bishops hope the new body will "offer better and more timely service to anyone who requires a declaration of nullity before entering a new marriage within the Catholic Church." The new interdiocesan tribunal has its main office at the Pastoral and Administration Offices of the Edmonton Archdiocese, and an auxiliary office at the Catholic Pastoral Centre of the Diocese of Calgary, Smith said.

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Salesians continue to serve youth through parishes

March 23, 2015
RAMON GONZALEZ
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

Father Romano Venturelli grew up on a farm in Italy. He put so much dedication into his farm chores that people thought he would make a good farmer. But the young boy's heart was in the priesthood. He wanted to be a missionary in Latin America and minister to indigenous people. However, the young Venturelli was recruited by the Salesians of Don Bosco and ended up in Canada instead. In fact, he has spent most of his priestly vocation in Canada, primarily in Montreal and Edmonton.

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Parliamentarians will mark Canada's first John Paul II Day with April 1 reception

March 23, 2015
DEBORAH GYAPONG
CANADIAN CATHOLIC NEWS

OTTAWA -– The first national Pope John Paul II Day falls on April 2 to mark the day the new saint died 10 years ago. On Parliament Hill, the national day will be celebrated April 1. Conservative MP Wladyslaw Lizon, who put forward the private member's bill that became law last year, said Parliament is celebrating a day early because April 2 is Holy Thursday. Many MPs and senators will be traveling back to their ridings that day for the Easter break, he said. "We're going to have a reception hosted by the speaker of the House," Lizon said. The reception will include parliamentarians, and people from a range of different communities to commemorate the life of a great world leader.

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With God's help, young woman battles rare disease

Jennifer MacDonald
March 23, 2015
LASHA MORNINGSTAR
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

Pain-wracked, 19-year-old Jennifer MacDonald said, "OK God, you can take me now. I can't do this anymore. "I'll always remember this moment, looking at the wall and thinking, 'I am going to die now.' I've always been very scared of death. . . . Sometimes it's hard to face our own mortality." Looking at the turquoise wall in the Stollery Children's Hospital she told her mother, "I love you Mom." Her mother whispered in her ear. "I love you, and Jesus and Mary are with you."

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Cross visits city schools in memory of Fr. Mireau

March 23, 2015
RAMON GONZALEZ
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

Six months after his death at the age of 42, Father Mike Mireau's spirit is very much alive in the classrooms of the city's Catholic schools. He is the talk of the town as a wooden cross made in his honour tours Catholic schools in the city. On March 9, the travelling cross came to St. Justin School, where it began a tour of every classroom. Led by teacher Laurie Wojcichowsky, the Grade 3 class held a lively discussion on Mireau and the cross, which stood tall in a corner of the classroom. When Wojcichowsky asked the class what they had learned about Father Catfish, as the priest was widely known, several hands went up.

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Winnipeggers ponder prospect of urban reserve

Chief Glenn Hudson
March 23, 2015
JAMES BUCHOK
PRAIRIE MESSENGER

Within sight of Winnipeg's shiny new IKEA store lie dozens of abandoned buildings on acres of desolate land that First Nations are eager to transform into a neighbourhood with green space, retail shops and commercial property. But the federal government refuses to give up the land to the First Nations, and some residents of the affluent bordering communities of Tuxedo and River Heights may not want a so-called urban reserve in their backyards. "As Christians we are compelled to foster dialogue that crosses the divides of humanity," David Balzer said during a March 5 panel discussion at the nearby Canadian Mennonite University.

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Nosey neighbours helped build society's moral consensus

Fr. Robert Sirico
March 23, 2015
CANADIAN CATHOLIC NEWS

North America is at a "perilous point in history," if it loses a sense of shared moral consensus, says Father Robert Sirico. The co-founder of the Michigan-based Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty said society's moral roots form the foundation for who we are as well as the basis of civil society. "Are we simply living off the illusion of the past?" he asked at a March 7 session of the Manning Networking Conference in Ottawa.

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Abandoning the aged is a sin, says pope

thumbnail photo
March 23, 2015
CINDY WOODEN
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

Seeing the elderly only as a burden "is ugly. It's a sin," Pope Francis said at his March 4 weekly general audience. "We must reawaken our collective sense of gratitude, appreciation and hospitality, helping the elderly know they are a living part of their communities" and sources of wisdom for the younger generations, he said. "An elderly person is not an alien," the 78-year-old pope said. "The elderly person is us. Soon, or many years from now – inevitably anyway – we will be old, even if we don't think about it."

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Pope Francis calls on the elderly to offer the world their wisdom

March 23, 2015
CAROL GLATZ
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

VATICAN CITY – Don't pack it in or shift into cruise control, Pope Francis told his fellow seniors. Today's frenetic world, especially young people and families, needs the older generation's prayers, wisdom and gifts to give them the encouragement, hope and faith they often lack, he said at his weekly general audience March 11. "We, older people, can remind ambitious young people that a life without love is barren," he said to those gathered in St. Peter's Square "We can tell fearful young people that worrying about the future can be overcome. We can teach young people who are in love with themselves too much that there is more joy in giving than receiving."

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