Sep 27, 2010
In the words of its organizers, "LifeChain is a peaceful and prayerful public witness of pro-life individuals standing for 60 minutes praying for our nation and for an end to abortion. It is a visual statement of solidarity by the Christian community that abortion kills children and that the Church supports the sanctity of human life from the moment of conception until natural death."
For years in the Archdiocese of Toronto, parish groups have volunteered at intersections throughout the Archdiocese, drawing attention to the plight of the unborn in our country.
More than 200 locations are planned for Canada, a powerful witness when you consider that from coast to coast, thousands will participate in this peaceful event.
Campaign Life is one of the chief organizers of the LifeChain effort. They also are actively involved in the ever growing 40 Days for Life and are busy planning an International Pro-Life Conference that will run from October 28-30 in Ottawa, the city that hosted tens of thousands for the annual March for Life this past May.
Thanks to all the organizers and those who will participate in this weekend's LifeChain. It's a sombre reminder that thousands of lives are lost each year - it's our responsibility to ensure they are not forgotten.
Photo: Right to Life
Sep 24, 2010
Bishop Crosby is also a Co-Treasurer of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB).
Additional information below courtesy the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The Holy Father also accepted the resignation of the Most Reverend Anthony F. Tonnos, in accordance with the Code of Canon Law which sets the mandatory age of retirement for Bishops at 75. Bishop Tonnos, who turned 75 in August, has led the Diocese of Hamilton since 1984. As a member of the CCCB, he has served on the Permanent Council and Executive Committee as Co-Treasurer and was also a member of the former Episcopal Commission for Canon Law / Inter-Rite, and what was previously called the English Sector Commission for Christian Education and is now the Commission for Catechesis.
In 2007, he was named Bishop of the newly established Diocese of Corner Brook and Labrador, which comprises all parishes and missions in the former Diocese of St. George’s on the Island of Newfoundland, in addition to those in the territory of Labrador which had previously been part of what used to be the Diocese of Labrador City – Schefferville.
As CCCB Co-Treasurer, he sits on both the Permanent Council and Executive Committee of the Conference.
Bishop Crosby has been very involved in liturgical questions both nationally and internationally. He is currently a member of the CCCB English Sector Commission for Liturgy and the Sacraments, and has previously served as the Commission’s Chairman. As the previous CCCB representative on the International Commission for English in the Liturgy (ICEL), he has also served as its Secretary and Vice-Chair.
The Diocese of Hamilton has a Catholic population of 559,290 in 155 parishes and missions, served by 122 diocesan priests, 88 priests who are members of religious orders, 24 permanent deacons and 281 religious Sisters and Brothers.
We offer our prayers and best wishes to Bishop Crosby on this new pastoral assignment as well as giving thanks for the lengthy service of Bishop Tonnos. May he enjoy a well deserved retirement! One would expect an auxiliary bishop to be appointed to assist Bishop Crosby in his ministry - the timing of which only the Vatican knows..
Sep 22, 2010
So all in all, even if you're not a student these days, there's plenty of opportunities to sit in on a lecture, hear from award winning journalists and take yourself back to school so to speak. All without having to hand in any assignments or completing final exams. Now that sounds like a winner!
Photos: Archdiocese of Toronto, CHAO
Sep 19, 2010
The Newman Centre is a hotbed of activity year round, even more so during the school year, with all sorts of ministries and outreach programs offered for the parish community under the leadership of pastor, Fr. Michael Machacek. The church itself is simple yet beautiful and a little different than the interior architecture of most sacred spaces you see throughout the Archdiocese.
In most of the seats at the parish, you're looking directly across at your fellow parishioners, which may take a little getting used to but also brings you that much closer to the true sense of parish community celebrating the sacraments as one body of Christ.
If you're looking for some pastoral reflections on the life of Cardinal Newman, here's a couple of choices:
1) The Newman Centre of the Archdiocese of Toronto has a simple biography of the life of Newman which you can find here.
2) Former pastor of the Newman Centre, Fr. Tom Rosica, has penned a reflection on Newman's journey from the shadows to beatification. It can be accessed at Holy Post here.
We give thanks for the life of the many saints and blessed who are models for us on our faith journey. In a special way, with the Holy Father publicly walking with Cardinal Newman on this next step to sainthood, we give thanks and offer our prayers.
Cardinal Newman's well known poem, Lead Kindly Light, (penned on a voyage through southern Europe), remains a classic. If you're a trivia buff, you might enjoy this quirky bit: it's said the poem was sung by a soloist on the Titanic during a prayer service shortly before the doomed ocean liner struck an iceberg.
Let us pray for this kindly light in the life of our faith and pray for all those who have been inspired by Newman's example...
Lead, Kindly Light
Lead, Kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom
Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home
Lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
the distant scene — one step enough for me.
I was not ever thus, nor pray'd that Thou
Shouldst lead me on.
I loved to choose and see my path, but now
Lead Thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will: remember not past years.
So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still
Will lead me on,
O'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone;
And with the morn those angel faces smile
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile.
Photos: BBC, Newman Centre Toronto
Sep 16, 2010
A full itinerary is planned and will be underway in Scotland by the time most folks are up in North America on Thursday morning. If you enjoy following the "Papal Visits", you'll be able to access all sorts of resources from a variety of sources. Of course, news outlets will put their own positive or negative spin on things accordingly.
One might suggest starting with the official resources, namely the Vatican's website which provides a full itinerary overview and, if you've got the time, a 186 page missal that covers the various liturgical celebrations throughout his visit.
It's interesting to note that for this Papal Visit, one can't just show up for the liturgies at the appropriate locations. The whole sense of pilgrimage is the theme, with organizers asking participants to link with their local parish on coordination and transportation efforts. Bus is the only way to enter many of the venues.
Another unique tact is that while, no tickets are being "sold" for liturgical events, pilgrims are being asked to help offset the costs of travel, logistics, etc. purchasing a "Pilgrim Pack" to gain access to events. Prices range from $8 (Evening Vigil) to about $40 for the Cardinal Newman beatification celebration.
As someone who's been on both sides of Papal Visits, as planner and pilgrim, I never envy those who have the mamoth task of planning such undertakings. 1,001 details to work out, endless variables changing on a moment's notice beyond your control and, of course, the weather. While we're supposed to have extra special connections in that department, it doesn't always cooperate. So make sure to say a prayer for those involved in the planning - it's likely the most exciting, scariest, enthralling and exahusting experience of a lifetime.
The official website of the Papal Visit in the UK is also filled with extensive resources on the pilgrimage. There's the usual itineraries, souvenirs and background info. A couple of interesting features you might want to utilize to follow the goings on include a live webstream of all Papal events as well as the ability to view archived video footage of the Pontiff in action.
Another feature that I've never seen is an official Flickr page complete with the Papal Visit Photostream so that you can access photos as they're uploaded to the site. Should be an interesting resource (there's already more than 200 photos uploaded including plenty of the Popemobile (seen above).
So to the thousands that will meet with the Holy Father as well as all who are planning things behind the scenes, we offer our best wishes and prayers for what promises to be a roller coaster of experiences over the next several days. May the Holy Father spread the Good news pastorally and joyfully to the people of the United Kingdom!
And remember, God can do more in a breath than we can do in a lifetime so sometimes we need to sit back and let God breathe...
Sep 14, 2010
A quick biographical snapshot of the bishop courtesy the Diocese of St. Catharines:
Born in Hamilton, Ontario on January 4, 1959, Bishop Bergie was raised and educated in Hamilton. He studied at St. Jerome's College, the University of Waterloo and St. Peter's Seminary, London, Ontario.
He received a Master's degree of Divinity from the University of Western Ontario in 1983 and a Licentiate in Canon Law from the University of St. Thomas Aquinas (the Angelicum) in Rome in 1991. Ordained to the priesthood on May 12, 1984, he has served in parishes of Our Lady of Lourdes (Hamilton), St. Francis Xavier (Stoney Creek) and St. Margaret Mary (Hamilton) where he was pastor at the time of his nomination to the episcopacy.
He has occupied various positions within the Diocese of Hamilton, including Chancellor. He was ordained to the episcopacy on August 24, 2005 at the Cathedral of Christ the King in Hamilton by Bishop Anthony Tonnos, Bishop of Hamilton.
The diocese of St. Catharines has a Catholic population of 157,000 with 93 priests and 10 permanent deacons.
The new shepherd of St. Catharines is a warm, pastoral and down to earth man who loves the priesthood and the church. Many of our young people will remember Bishop Bergie and his pastoral reflections at our Archdiocesan Youth Rally at the Martyrs' Shrine.
Photo: Diocese of Hamilton
Sep 10, 2010
The teaching highlights the importance of the role of Catholic School Trustee, reminding our family of faith about the types of qualities we should be looking for in our elected trustees. His Grace also encourages all Catholics to exercise their democratic right to vote in the impending election.
A video version of the pastoral letter can be found below. We've also created a special section of our website with numerous resources relating to the municipal elections - you can access that information here.
Historically, the turnout for our municipal elections has been very poor. Let's not forget though that in terms of our day to day activities, our municipalities have a strong influence on our lives: electricity, water, local transit, garbage collection - all these are managed by our municipalities.
Bear in mind as well that the school boards in the Archdiocese of Toronto manage budgets that are larger than most cities in Canada. We should take the process seriously, pledge to learn more about the candidates, and, most importantly, vote on October 25.
Below is the text of the Archbishop's letter, also available for download here:
Dear Faithful of the Archdiocese of Toronto:
On October 25th, as part of the municipal elections, Catholic School Supporters will be able to elect the trustees who will govern the Catholic District School Boards within the Archdiocese for the next four years.
This election is enormously important; it allows the members of our Catholic faith community to have essential input into the governance of our Catholic schools. All of us have a vital stake in Catholic Education, whether or not we now have children enrolled in Catholic schools. I urge each eligible Catholic voter to assess the candidates carefully, and to vote conscientiously on October 25th.
Since only registered Catholic School Supporters are eligible to vote in the election of Catholic School trustees, I ask that you make sure that you are registered and, if you are not, that you take the steps necessary to become registered as a Catholic School Supporter.
The well-being of Catholic Education depends to a great degree on the trustees whom we elect. We literally entrust Catholic Education to the trustees, and it is crucial that they be faithful to that trust. In its brochure "A Call to Service: Catholic Trustees - Advocates, Guardians, and Stewards of Catholic Education", The Ontario Catholic School Trustees Association lists some of the basic qualifications of a Catholic trustee: trustees are Catholics who "have a vision of Catholic education that is Christ centered, are committed to educating students in the Roman Catholic tradition, are willing to work with partners within and beyond the Catholic education community, and are willing to devote time to prayer and reflection, to meetings, to public functions and to addressing concerns of Catholic voters."
In addition to these basic qualities, when you assess the various candidates, I ask you to consider the following characteristics of a suitable Catholic School Trustee:
A Catholic School Trustee should be a faithful practicing Catholic.
A Catholic School Trustee should be exemplary in personal integrity and conduct, always striving to foster the good of the children, and not personal interest. We need to elect trustees who will represent us with honour and dignity, as worthy stewards of Catholic Education, so that we may all be proud of their stewardship.
A Catholic School Trustee should have a well developed understanding of Catholic Education, and of the role of the board of trustees in setting the policy that advances the common good of the whole Catholic School District, and of all of the children entrusted to it. Competence, wisdom, maturity, fiscal responsibility, respect for the law, and the capacity to work effectively with fellow trustees for the common good of Catholic Education - these are essential qualities in a Catholic School Trustee.
I urge you to attend any candidates meetings that are held in your area. Assess the candidates carefully, and hold them to the highest standard of excellence in Catholic trusteeship. The quality of Catholic Education in our Archdiocese depends greatly upon your vote in the election of Catholic School Board trustees on October 25th.
It is the general policy of our Archdiocese not to allow political campaigning on church property, but because of the extraordinary importance for our Catholic community of the election of highly qualified Catholic School Board trustees, I have chosen to make an exception for the October 25th election: candidates for Catholic School Board Trustee will be permitted to present information to parishioners outside of our churches, from Sunday, September 12th until Sunday, October 17th.
I urge all parishioners to be registered as Catholic School supporters, to assess the candidates rigorously according to the highest standards, and to vote conscientiously on October 25th.
Archbishop of Toronto
Photos: Archdiocese of Toronto, OCSTA
Sep 8, 2010
The passage is read aloud in full, then each piece is extracted into bite size sections. The Archbishop offers a personal reflection on each piece before reading the entire section in full once again. The entire experience lasts about 45 minutes. With Vespers (evening prayer) beginning at 7 p.m., the evening lasts till about 8:15 p.m.
The Archbishop began the practice while he was Archbishop of Edmonton. The first four months of this year's series focus on the book of Revelation. Anyone who knows the Archbishop will know that the book is near and dear to his heart - he specialized in the book, the last in the Bible (often referred to as the Apocalypse) during his studies abroad, obtaining his Licentiate in Sacred Scripture in Rome.
Consider checking out Lectio Divina this year. It runs monthly, with the exception of October, until June 2011. For those who can't make it down to the cathedral, Salt & Light Television film the evenings and broadcast them on numerous occasions throughout the month. You can also access archived Lectio Divina evenings online through our website or YouTube channel.
Speaking of Lectio Divina, His Grace is working on a book for Ave Maria Press on the theme of Lectio Divina. While publication dates have not yet been finalized, a target of the spring of 2011 has been discussed.
So bring a friend and stop by the cathedral September 12 for the first installment in what promises to be a most insightful and faith-filled experience.
Photo: Archdiocese of Toronto
Sep 3, 2010
For many years, the Archdiocese has had a significant presence at Toronto's Pearson International Airport. Have you ever stopped by the chapel at an airport? If I ever have a layover, I always try and make an effort to pop into the chapel, say a prayer and see how they're ministering to travelers from around the world.
There's daily mass for staff and travelers and a presence at both Terminal 1 and Terminal 3. You can check out the Toronto Catholic Chaplaincy website here. Professionally, I spent some time there earlier this year as it provided a wonderful backdrop for interviews with Bishop Vincent Nguyen. Prior to his ordination as Auxiliary Bishop for the Archdiocese, he went to the airport to meet with siblings arriving from Vietnam for a family reunion that was 30 years in the making. We had a chance to set up some interviews in the Airport Chapel - before the chats, both the bishop and I had a chance to pray and it provided a certain sense of calm before the storm as the next several days were somewhat chaotic especially for the bishop but also for our office as we were working on arrangements for his ordination.
We also have Catholic priests who serve as chaplains for our local police services, fire departments, doctors, even chaplains for those who work on boats and arrive sporadically at the Toronto Harbour. Another unique type of ministry is one that made a brief stop in Toronto this July.
Fr. Phil De Rea, MSC (Missionaries of the Sacred Heart), serves as the Catholic Chaplain for the Indy Racing League, a unique ministry that takes him from city to city during the IRL season. He was in Toronto this summer for the Honda Indy and caught up with Salt & Light Television to speak about his work (brief 2 minute video below). He's been a chaplain at racetracks since 1971 and his love of the sport grew from a childhood friendship with well known race car driver, Mario Andretti.
You might say that they're fueled by Christ...
Photo/Video: CNN, Salt & Light