Here is a possible option that Catholic parishes, ministries, schools or organizations may wish to consider if applying for the Canada Summer Jobs program:
- Print out the application form
- Strike out the following clause which is currently the third bullet point in the Attestation: “Both the job and my organization’s core mandate respect individual human rights in Canada, including the values underlying the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as other rights. These include reproductive rights and the right to be free from discrimination on the basis of sex, religion, race, national or ethnic origin, colour, mental or physical disability or sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression”
- Insert the following clause (which would become the fourth and final bullet point in the Attestation: “I attest my organization will abide by the law in our hiring practices and all our other activities.”
- With the new bullet point having been added, check the box “I attest”.
- Mail or fax the completed application form by the deadline 2 February 2018.
This should highlight well how faith groups and media are questioning the government’s approach, especially in view of the Charter’s protections for the fundamental freedoms of religion, conscience, thought, belief, opinion and expression which are at stake.
In accordance with canon 401 § ii of the Code of Canon Law, his Holiness Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Most Reverend Frederick B. Henry as Bishop of the Diocese of Calgary due to health concerns.
Most Rev. Luigi Bonazzi, Apostolic Nuncio to Canada, announces that the Holy Father has named Bishop William Terrence McGrattan, currently the Bishop of the Diocese of Peterborough, as his successor.
The installation of the new Bishop will be on Monday, February 27, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. which will be at St. Mary’s Cathedral. This is a ticketed event, details to be announced soon.
In the meantime, Bishop Henry has been named Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Calgary.
We thank Bishop Henry for his unstinting service, and we welcome Bishop McGrattan to our Diocese.
To read Bishop Henry’s resignation letter sent to Pope Francis, click here.
When was the last time you picked up some spiritual reading? I mean picked up a book? Do we still have the luxury of time for deep, thoughtful reading? And is there still a place for physical books when we spend so much of our time online? The Church has a clear idea about what spiritual reading is. Distinct in its subject matter and purpose, it is a seeking out of wisdom from trusted spiritual ancestors. Confined to the following sources we read with the purpose of growing in holiness:
- Teachings of the Church
- History of the Church
- Lives and thoughts of saintly people
- Reflections on any of the above
Is holiness unfashionable now? We are required to seek it, and the practice of spiritual reading is a proven method for absorbing spiritual advice from the greatest practitioners of our faith. Here is what we are striving for: “When I read holy books then the spirit and body are illumined and I become the temple of God and the harp of the Holy Spirit, played by divine powers through them I am corrected and through them I receive a kind of divine change and I am made into a different person” [St. Gregory the Theologian]. As St. Ambrose says of God, “we address him when we pray; we hear him when we read.”
The Catholic Pastoral Centre Library contains many treasures for spiritual reading. To engage with such books gladdens the heart and strengthens our faith. As part of the Catholic Pastoral Centre Open House on September 13, you have an opportunity to find some new guides among the books we will be offering at our Feed Your Faith Book Sale. The Library has downsized a little, although we are still very much in business with a strong and current collection of books, magazines and DVDs. We can now make available, for a small donation, many great books that are either duplicates or perhaps not best fitted for our collection. These include historical items and one or two from previous bishops’ collections. There are treasures to suit all tastes. Come and browse the tables and for a donation to our Feed the Hungry program feed your faith, or the spiritual life of a friend or family member!
Has “spiritual reading” become an old fashioned luxury without merit in the modern world? No, it is a requirement for us to seek God in whatever way we can. We need the strength and inspiration available to us through past and present spiritual masters through the written word.
And can we find these resources digitally? The Internet has enabled the spread of wonderful spiritual literature and that is to be praised. But is there a downside to the flickering digital screen. The sheer physicality of a book helps us remember and absorb the text from the geography of the page. Studies suggest that we learn better from a printed page and that reading is easier on the eye. We can pass on books and share them more easily, and digest their lessons best. They can become life companions.
Drop by for the Book Sale and Open House at the Catholic Pastoral Centre on September 13!
When Don Brophy, long-time editor at Paulist Books, wrote a book introducing one hundred Catholic gems of literature, his aim was to show what a rich heritage our Church has. The challenge to explore these books was intriguing. As a life-long Catholic and as archivist and librarian for the Diocese, I could not resist the idea of attempting to read his entire list with a view to broadening my Catholic education. What insights would I find? How might the experience affect my spiritual life?
A list of 100 books is daunting even to a librarian and so this is the first of an occasional series that will reflect on some of these books, their place in history and their value for us now. I encourage you to read along and discover for yourself the spiritual riches within each. Check our Diocesan social media links for more details.
BOOK #1 • Sayings of the Desert Fathers
The Desert Fathers and Mothers were hermits and cenobites (those who live alone but in community) who lived radically simple and austere lives around the fourth century in Egypt. No longer persecuted and unlikely to be martyred for their faith after Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity, these men and women chose a new form of “death” as they sought God in the harsh purity of the desert where with silence and solitude as guides they looked inward, letting go of the familiar and pure-heartedly followed Christ. Often it was simple Coptic peasants who were attracted to this permanent state of retreat and their teachings spread through oral tradition, sermons, rules, and spiritual sayings or apophthegmata. Most of the sayings are short, surprising teachings. Some are perplexing or challenging but all seek to fostering humility by shaking the false self of the ego and creating space to encounter God.
As academic Belden Lane puts it: “When you become silent enough and empty enough, pouring out your needs to God in that desert place, you are able for the first time to hear what you had never heard before, and that’s a single word whispered by Jesus: love. It’s one of those words that you can’t hear until you are utterly silent and utterly empty.”1
The collected sayings of the Desert Fathers have much to teach us in the present day. We need emptiness, silence, and solitude more than ever in a culture that seeks to fill us with distractions, noise, and deception. Thomas Merton, the monk and mystic, who did much to popularize the Desert Fathers urges us that like them “ … we must be as thorough and as ruthless in our determination to break all spiritual chains and cast off the domination of alien compulsions, to find our true selves, to discover and develop our inalienable spiritual liberty and use it to build, on earth, the Kingdom of God” [Wisdom of the Desert, p. 24].
For me the sayings of the Desert Fathers and Mothers seem startlingly contemporary. And the landscape of Alberta can be desert-like. Even the cities have a look of mournful desolation at times despite all their activity. But the Desert Fathers’ unbending single-minded search for God is what we are all engaged in if we truly want to meet Christ and be happy in this life and the next.
Abba Poemen said, “If three men meet, of whom the first fully preserves inner peace, and the second gives thanks to God in illness, and the third serves with a pure mind, these three are doing the same work.”