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Canadian Jesuit Appointed Head of Pontifical Institute – Perspectives Daily

Today on Perspectives, Pope Francis’ weekly general audience, a Canadian Jesuit appointed head of a Pontifical institute and the Holy See removes itself from a Palestinian UN resolution.

One Rock 2015

OneRock

Last weekend, our Salt and Light team had the honour of being on hand for the sixth annual One Rock Youth Festival just outside of Calgary, Alberta. The Tsuu T’ina Rodeo Grounds provided a cozy home for the event, attended not just by young people, but young families and those of all ages from across western Canada. The bulk of the organizational effort was shouldered by the Diocese of Calgary, who with over 200 volunteers hosted three-day gathering.

Originally conceived as a “Catholic Woodstock” by the pastor of a remote parish 100km east of Calgary, the event has blossomed into something much bigger. It now draws a couple of thousand people and has the full backing of the bishops of Alberta. I noticed particularly during my time at the festival, the degree to which Calgary’s Bishops Fred Henry was invested in the proceedings. There was an obvious love for the atmosphere and those present, as was evidence by the beaming smile he bore for each of the three days he attended. Bishop Henry and his brother bishops in Alberta have shown a true desire to provide an opportunity for young people to recharge and deepen their faith lives in a way that is full of fun, but also deep in substance and truth.

There was an impressive list of speakers and musicians who brought alive the weekend, however the true stars were the volunteers and the attendees. Despite being plagued with cold and damp mid-August weather, it hardly dampened their spirits. In fact, countless numbers still camped in tents despite the conditions, and were rewarded with a bright and sunny Sunday morning Mass.

Six years in, One Rock is still in its infancy and continues to grow in size and scope. Our Salt + Light crew were able to capture moments from throughout the weekend and this fall, we’ll share with our viewers a half hour look at this budding event. It is our hope that One Rock can truly shine and that what started as a dream in a small town in southern Alberta, will become a festival that will find its way into the national spotlight.

Pope Calls for Peace in Ukraine – Perspectives Daily

Today on Perspectives, Pope Francis calls for peace in Ukraine during his Angelus Address, the family of Asia Bibi fights to see her in prison and Catholic News Service takes us to a community that will be visited by Pope Francis in Washington, DC.

A League of their Own

They don’t call it “Beautiful British Columbia” for nothing. And as much as the words stick in my throat as a Toronto native, I have to admit, BC truly is beautiful.

This past week, cameraman David Leross and I were in Vancouver for the CWL’s National Convention filming interviews for an upcoming episode of Catholic Focus, which will feature the League.

Here’s a little of what went on behind-the-scenes.

One of the highlights of the Convention was Dr. Josephine Lombardi’s keynotes. As many of you already know, Dr. Josephine Lombardi is the Assistant Professor of Pastoral and Systematic Theology at St. Augustine’s Seminary here in Toronto. Her very well-received keynote addresses reflected on the theme of the Convention, “One Heart, One Voice, One Mission”.

In the following, we asked Dr. Lombardi to share with us a little of what inspired her talks.

Stay tuned for more on this story featuring the Catholic Women’s League in an upcoming episode of Catholic Focus.

To read more about the Convention, here are some posts by S+L producer, Alicia Ambrosio:

Women’s Business
http://saltandlighttv.org/blog/faith-education/womens-business

Getting things done as only women can
http://saltandlighttv.org/blog/faith-education/getting-things-done-as-only-women-can

Practical prophets of wisdom
http://saltandlighttv.org/blog/faith-education/cwl-opening-mass-practical-prophets-of-wisdom

 


CherdianS1The Producer Diaries

Cheridan Sanders, a Producer at Salt and Light Television, reflects on her experiences as she travels the world telling Catholic’s stories.

 

An Artful Story

Sr. Catherine Martin O. Carm, in her art studio, Lacombe, Louisiana.

Sr. Catherine Martin O. Carm, in her art studio, Lacombe, Louisiana.

 

Cheridan Sanders learns how Sr. Catherine Martin, O. Carm discovers her life-long love for art through an unwitting contribution to her father’s artwork.

The best part of my job? The people. I love meeting the people who make up this beautiful reality we call the Church. There are so many stories to share and listening to these stories, always leaves me in awe at the ways that God speaks to us in the big and little moments that make up our lives.

One of the communities that we’ll feature in our new seven part series are the Sisters of Mount Carmel. Theirs is a fascinating charism which will eventually lead us to the farthest reaches of Timor-Leste. But before we get to that, I spent some time getting to know the community based in New Orleans by taking a trip to Lacombe to visit the Carmelite Spirituality Centre.

The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway is the longest continuous bridge over water.

The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway is the longest continuous bridge over water.

 

And tucked away in her little Art studio, I had the privilege of meeting Sr. Catherine Martin.
Born in Lafayette and the youngest of 5 children,  Sr. Catherine has taught art and prayer for over 20 years.

In the following she shares how she discovered her love for art.

 


CherdianS1The Producer Diaries  – Cheridan Sanders shares her experiences developing an original television series featuring women religious communities located in Africa, Asia and the United States. The globe-trotting adventure invites readers to delight in each community’s spiritual gifts as they: educate girls, minister to outcasts, prevent human trafficking, and so much more. The production is an exciting collaboration with the Loyola Institute for Ministry in New Orleans and is made possible through a grant from the Conrad Hilton Foundation.

22 Assyrian Christian Hostages Freed – Perspectives Daily

Today on Perspectives, Pope Francis’ weekly general audience, 22 Assyrian Christian hostages freed, Ghanian Catholic march for life and a look at coming events this weekend.

Soul Food, Soul Music

Cheridan Sanders visits the legendary neighbourhood of Treme, New Orleans to learn more about the life of Venerable Henriette Delille, Founder of the Sisters of the Holy Family.

 

As part of my research into the life of Venerable Henriette Delille, founder of the Sisters of the Holy Family, I recently attended aa unique Mass at St. Augustine’s Church – the place where Henriette Delille and Juliette Gaudin pledged to live in community; thus founding the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family in 1842.

St. Augustine’s has a fascinating history as it is famous for it’s “War of the Pews” which resulted in the first fully racially integrated parish in the United States.

Moreover, the historic church is also located in Treme, New Orleans, home of legendary jazz greats.

And that brings us to an interesting intersection between local jazz culture and faith.

Once a year, St. Augustine’s Soulful Voices Choir teams up with the Treme Brass Band and Yoshio Toyama of Japan to provide the musical accompaniment for Mass at St. Augustine’s.

The Mass is so well regarded that it is featured as part of the official program of the annual Louis Armstrong “Satchmo” Summerfest, which means that the church is packed to the rafters with believers and jazz lovers alike.

Here’s a taste of the opening procession.

And later the hymn before the final blessing.


CherdianS1The Producer Diaries  – Cheridan Sanders shares her experiences developing an original television series featuring women religious communities located in Africa, Asia and the United States. The globe-trotting adventure invites readers to delight in each community’s spiritual gifts as they: educate girls, minister to outcasts, prevent human trafficking, and so much more. The production is an exciting collaboration with the Loyola Institute for Ministry in New Orleans and is made possible through a grant from the Conrad Hilton Foundation.

Steubenville Toronto 2015 – Perspectives Daily

Today on Perspectives, Pope Francis’ weekly Angelus Address, a new of prayer is announced and we look back at Steubenville Toronto 2015.

Calling all Knights

KofC

This past week I had the good fortune of being able to attend the 133rd Supreme Convention of the Knights of Columbus in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Given that I am not a member of the order, it was my first time attending such an event, albeit as a member of the media. I had seen the event play out year after year on Salt + Light, however what I saw in person was something that I wasn’t quite prepared for. The sheer size and scope of the event is truly impressive.

The pageantry of the Knights was on full display, but by no means at the expense of substance. Talks and homilies like those given by Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia or of visiting bishops from Iraq and Syria are reminders of the fidelity of the order to the Church. Reports and meetings are an incredible indicator of their endless litany of charitable works around the globe.

Grand gatherings in the Church are perhaps most valuable for their ability to encourage individuals and allow them to see that they are very much a part of something bigger. For any Knight of Columbus who helps with his local Special Olympics or runs a food drive at his parish, getting to walk into a gigantic convention hall, with hundreds of priests, bishops and Cardinals along with thousands of brothers in the order, it cannot but be a boost to their efforts.

Next year, the 134th Supreme Convention will take place in Toronto. Having been able to witness the event for myself, my message to those Knights of Columbus here in Ontario and surrounding areas would be take advantage of a tremendous opportunity. There is nothing like strength in numbers, and with all the good work being done in a world where the Church is perhaps not appreciated for its good works, being surrounded by your fellow Knights of Columbus is sure to be an encouraging and uplifting experience.

Nagasaki: City of Martyrdom, Destruction and Hope

(C) 2015 Gabriel Chow

National Shrine of the Twenty-Six Martyrs of Japan, Nagasaki

Three days after the demise of Hiroshima, on 9 August 1947, a second atomic bomb devastated the port city of Nagasaki. The “Fat Man” bomb, with 6.4 kg of plutonium and supposedly 30% more destructive power than the Hiroshima counterpart, missed the original city centre target by 3 km and hit the Urakami valley area at 11:02 in the morning. Despite the shielding by the hills of the city from much of the bomb’s power, 39% of the buildings in the city collapsed in the fire storm of wind of 1,005 km/h and 3,900°C. As many as 80,000 people perished over time due to the bomb, with many more severely injured with burns and radiation.

(C) 2015 Gabriel Chow

Urakami Cathedral, Nagasaki

500 metres northeast from the atomic bomb hypocentre was the majestic Church of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, commonly known as the Urakami Church. Situated on the top of the Urakami hill, the church aided the B-29 bomber to identify Nagasaki and hasten its demise. The church took 50 years to build (1875-1925) but only an instant to be destroyed. It was the largest church in East Asia at the time of completion, but it also suffered the most horrific destruction. Two priests who were hearing confession and 20 penitents died under the rubble on that Thursday morning; outside the church, 8,500 out of Urakami’s 12,000 parishioners met the same fate. Most Catholics in Nagasaki inhabited in this region.

Nagasaki is the birthplace and capital of Catholicism in Japan. St. Francis Xavier became the first missionary to set foot in the country in 1549. Missionary activities flourished in subsequent decades; the number of converts surpassed 300,000. Most of Nagasaki’s inhabitants became Catholic. Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the ruler of Japan, became suspicious of European activities in the country, and issued a ban on Catholicism in 1587, a precursor to decades of persecutions of the Church and a stream of martyrdom.

(C) 2015 Gabriel ChowFollowing a month-long parade from Kyoto with their faces mutilated, 26 priests and laypeople were crucified in Nagasaki and pierced with spears on 5 February 1597. When the news reached Rome, Pope Clement VIII was in shock over the manner of their martyrdom. This group of martyrs, St. Paul Miki and companions, was promptly beatified in 1627 and canonized in 1862, is celebrated as a memorial in the General Roman Calendar on 6 February every year. Persecutions intensified in the 17th century, especially during the Great Martyrdom of Nagasaki in 1622. 205 martyrs of Japan were beatified in 1867. Lawrence Ruiz and 15 companions were beatified in 1981 and canonized in 1987. Petrus Kibe Kasui and 187 companions were beatified in 2008.

(C) 2015 Gabriel Chow

Oura Church, Nagasaki

As missionaries were driven out and churches were torn down, the Catholic Church was thought to have totally disappeared in Japan. In fact, the Catholics went underground, with a majority in the Nagasaki region. After 200 years, when Japan reopened its doors to missionaries, the Paris Foreign Missions Society sent Fr. Bernard Petitjean for missionary work in Japan. He built a church (locally known as the Oura Church) in the French region of Nagasaki in honour of the 26 martyrs and blessed it on 19 February 1865. On March 17, a group of local people requested to pray inside the church and asked him where the statue of the Virgin Mary was. The priest then came to the realization that these Kakure Kirishitans (hidden Christians) were descendants of the underground Catholics from 200 years ago, who passed the faith from one generation to the next. For this significant event, called the Shinto Hakken (discovery of followers), Pope Pius IX appointed Fr. Petitjean as the first Vicar Apostolic of Japan in the next year, and the Oura Church became the cathedral.

(C) 2015 Gabriel Chow

Urakami Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Nagasaki

As history unfolded, Bishop Petitjean too suffered persecution from the government. However, no one would have imagined that this non-stop persecution of Nagasaki would even be topped by its annihilation by a nuclear weapon. To our consolation, Christ always wins. The Urakami Church was eventually rebuilt in 1959 and received the honour of cathedral from the Oura Church in 1962. In a country where Catholics are only 0.43% of the population, the Nagasaki archdiocese unexpectedly boasts a 4.3% Catholic population. The Church truly grows from the blood of martyrs.

During this year we are not only somberly marking the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing, but also joyously celebrating the 150th anniversary of the discovery of followers in Japan. In the face of escalation of tensions between nations, rise of terror groups and incessant nuclear arms race, we must work for peace in the world. God never fails to surprise us.

(C) 2015 Gabriel Chow

Nagasaki National Peace Memorial for the Atomic Bomb Victims, hypocentre of the atomic bomb

 

Photo credit: Gabriel Chow
Originally posted in Sacrosancta Ecclesia