Fr. Raymond J. de Souza is the pastor of Sacred Heart of Mary parish on Wolfe Island, and chaplain at Newman House at Kingston, Ont.'s Queen's University.
I have crossed paths with Bishop Frederick Henry for nearly 20 years on visits to my family in Calgary. He has always been kind to me, made me welcome in his diocese and I have enjoyed the occasions we have had time to talk.
Earlier this fall, the bishops of Alberta and the Northwest Territories released guidelines to help priests offer pastoral care to individuals and families contemplating voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide. The guidelines were fully Catholic, comprehensive, compassionate and courageous, as detailed then by Peter Stockland in these pages.
Where I am able to organize things — in my parish, at the chaplaincy — we sing Advent hymns in Advent. But otherwise, Christmas concerts are the order of the day by early December. And so it was that last Saturday I had the privilege of attending the annual Christmas concert of St. Michael’s Choir School in the afternoon at Massey Hall, and then the Christmas pageant (“Gaudy” to employ the local nomenclature) at Massey College in the evening.
Fidel Castro is dead. Canada’s prime minister, whose father was an admirer and friend of the tyrant, is struck with grief, but it is not widely shared. Fidel’s death is an advance for Cuba. A more significant step forward will be when Fidel’s brother Raul, to whom power was handed over in 2006, follows his brother into eternity.
This week Toronto hosts the head of the largest of the Eastern Catholic Churches, Sviatoslav Shevchuk of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC). Within the UGCC, Shevchuk is referred to as the Patriarch of Kyiv, the common title for the head of an Eastern Catholic Church. Due to tensions with the Orthodox though, especially in Russia, the Holy See grants him the title of “major archbishop,” equivalent in all aspects to a patriarch.
For centuries there was only one Teresa, the Carmelite reformer who was canonized on March 12, 1622, in the single most impressive canonization in the history of the Church. Gregory XV crowned the Catholic Counter-Reformation that day, canonizing in one ceremony the great Teresa of Avila, along with St. Francis Xavier, St. Philip Neri and St. Ignatius Loyola.
KRAKÓW, POLAND – The most impressive moment of World Youth Day had to be at the Saturday evening vigil, with Pope Francis leading more than a million young people in praying the Divine Mercy chaplet before the Blessed Sacrament. Not only was it a powerful witness of prayer, invoking mercy upon the Church and the world, but a confirmation of the marvellous ways of Providence.
The death of Mother Mary Angelica, the American Poor Clare who founded EWTN, has produced much commentary puzzling over an apparent contradiction. An orthodox and traditional nun was at the same time an entrepreneurial pioneer in Catholic television and did not blanch from charting a path independent of Catholic bishops. How could this be? She had conservative ideas but seemed to operate like a liberal.