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Pope John Paul II – a legacy of holiness

Pope John Paul II was in many respects a pope of firsts: the first pope to visit the White House, the first pope to visit Cuba, and the most widely traveled Pope in history. As one of the longest reigning popes in the history of the Church, his influence will be felt for generations. Join host Cheridan Sanders as she speaks with Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB about the life and times of Saint Pope John Paul II in this episode of Catholic Focus.


Lino Rulli on Catholic Focus

Pope John Paul II once said that “The Gospel lives always in conversation with culture, for the Eternal Word never ceases to be present to the Church and to humanity. If the Church holds back from culture, the Gospel itself falls silent.” (Address to the participants in the plenary meeting of the pontifical council for social communications, March 1, 2002.) Also, Pope Francis, during his homily at the Closing Mass of World Youth Day 2013 in Rio de Janeiro, said that the best tool to evangelize a young person is another young person. Can we assume then, that the best circumstances in which to evangelize a young person is when what we do engages culture and when it is done by another young person? Or rather, if you are engaging culture and your venture is done by young people, does that mean that what you do is something that will attract other young people?

Lino Rulli is the host of the Catholic Guy, a radio talk show on the Catholic Channel on Sirius XM satellite radio (channel 129). Before hosting this radio show, Lino was the producer and star of the Emmy award-winning TV program, Generation Cross, a show that was done by young people and that very effectively engaged culture. It was a very successful show, but was it a successful evangelization tool?

In order to answer these questions and to explore this subject further, Deacon Pedro sits with the Catholic Guy himself, Lino Rulli in an all-new Catholic Focus, today, Wednesday, October 2nd at 7 and 11pm ET; 8pm PT (rebroadcasts on Saturday, Oct 5). Learn all about how Generation Cross came to be, what is the thinking behind the Catholic Guy radio program and about Lino Rulli’s new book, Saint, now available from Servant Books.





Safe haven for refugees

The Meera’s look like any other family at the ethnically diverse parish of St. Anthony of Padua in Brampton, Ontario. They warmly greet fellow parishioners as they arrive for Mass, as if they have been here a lifetime. But just a few weeks prior, they were stuck in one of the most dangerous countries on earth.

The family of six — Habeeb, his wife Landa, and their four children — were originally from Iraq. The family was forced to flee to neighbouring Syria, but war would soon follow them there, as well. Ultimately, they were sponsored by St. Anthony of Padua parish to come to Canada as refugees.

Their story is featured on a new episode of Catholic Focus, which airs tonight at 7 and 11 pm ET, repeating on Saturday at these same times. The program is also streaming on demand above.

Is there Faith in the City?

Issues of an ecumenical and interfaith nature hold a special place in my heart. In John’s gospel account, I hold Jesus’ words to be true when he speaks with his disciples and says, “Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you; and these know that you have sent me. I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” More than that, the Church calls us to everything we can to foster and work towards fruitful ecumenism and Christian unity.

Earlier this year, I had the chance to take part in an informative ecumenical and interfaith symposium in Toronto.

Faith in the City is an initiative of religious leaders, clergy and lay-people from several faith traditions including the Catholic Church. Along with concerned members of Toronto City Council, Faith in the City set out to rally and encourage religious communities to work in areas of common social concern that will improve the lives of their neighbours.

Following the event, I sat down in studio with Joe Mihevc of Toronto and Shaikh Habeeb Alli of the Canadian Council of Imams. Together, we reflected on the successes of the 2013 symposium at Toronto’s City Hall and look ahead to the future.

Join us tonight on our network, immediately following Perspectives Daily for this episode.

Wednesday, June 19
7:05pm & 11:05pm ET
4:05pm & 8:05pm PT

If you can’t watch Salt + Light later this evening, you can watch it on demand here.

Many thanks to the City of Toronto and Faith in the City for their cooperation and participation.

Credit: City of Toronto

Catholic Focus heads to Ireland

When you think of religious pilgrimage, the Holy Land comes to mind, or perhaps the Vatican. But there’s another pilgrimage destination where ancient ruins emerge from a dramatic landscape – testaments to an over 1500-year-old Christian tradition. This destination is Ireland, whose heritage was celebrated at the 50th International Eucharistic Congress. Catholic Focus takes a trip to the holy sites of Ireland, while back in Canada, host Kris Dmytrenko speaks with guests Dr. Ann Dooley and Fr. John Reddy, CSB.

Martyrs of Compiègne on an all-new Catholic Focus

No one should go out of their way to look for martyrdom, but Christ did say that following him does mean embracing the Cross. However, little did a group of 18th century French Carmelite nuns realize that their commitment to follow Christ would also be considered a crime.

Deacon Pedro visits the Canadian Opera Company and then speaks with Fr. Jay Comerford, O.Carm and Sr. Agnes Roger, Carmel DCJ, to learn about Carmelite spirituality and about the martyrdom of the Carmelites of Compiègne in an all-new Catholic Focus.

Photo credit: Dialogues des Carmélites (Canadian Opera Company, 2013)
(front, l – r) Hélène Guilmette as Sister Constance and Isabel Bayrakdarian as Blanche de la Force in the Canadian Opera Company’s production of Dialogues des Carmélites, 2013.

Rediscovering the Bible on the new-look Catholic Focus

It’s the most popular book in history, and yet it’s possibly the most misunderstood: the Bible. On this week’s Catholic Focus — featuring the new look for our flagship current affairs series — host Kris Dmytrenko speaks with Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, who are bringing the Word of God to a new generation through “The Bible” television miniseries. We also visit Sr. Marie Paul Curley at Pauline Books & Media, who offers helpful tips for those who want to start reading the Bible.

Jesus versus the zombies

 Photo by ©2012 A+E Networks, LLC / Photo Credit: Joe Alblas Copyright 2011
The headlines proclaimed an epic showdown: Jesus versus the zombies. This wasn’t an imaginative retelling of a familiar story (an increasingly popular subgenre of historical fiction). Rather, this was a battle for cable TV ratings, pitting “The Bible” miniseries on the History channel against AMC’s zombie hit “The Walking Dead”. When their season finales aired head-to-head on Easter Sunday, “The Bible” edged its macabre competitor 12.32 million to 12.29 million.

By now, Hollywood surely gets that there is an enthusiastic audience for programming with a Christian message. Still, adapting the whole Bible for TV — as opposed to one particular book of Scripture — was an ambitious, big-budget endeavour. So the executive producers, reality TV mastermind Mark Burnett and his wife Roma Downey of “Touched by An Angel” fame, embarked on a major publicity tour to preview the project to the media and church communities. Salt + Light’s Kris Dmytrenko interviewed the duo when they came to Toronto.

Though the finale has aired, Burnett and Downey insist it’s only the beginning for “The Bible”. A Spanish version and a theatrical cut are planned and DVD sales are underway.

You can watch our interview with the makers of “The Bible” series on tonight’s new episode of Catholic Focus. The program, which debuts the new look for S+L’s long-running current affairs show, airs at 7:00 and 11:00 pm ET/8:00 pm PT, repeating at the same times this Saturday.

Photo credit: A+E Networks, LLC/Joe Alblas

Catholic Focus: Get me back to the garden!

Get Me Back to the Garden, I’m Chockin’ on the Weeds is a one-woman-show by Halifax-based actor, Judy Savoy. Tonight on an all-new Catholic Focus, she shares her personal conversion story and her experiences as a performer with host, Deacon Pedro.

Catholic Focus, daily at 7pm and 11pm ET; and 8pm AT/PT.

Don’t miss it!

Airport Chaplaincy: “Flying with Faith”

Why does the Catholic Church have a vested interest in chaplaincy at airports? Simply put, providing pastoral care for people on the move is a special concern for the Catholic Church. It is summarized in the two greatest commandments, that being “love of God” and “love of neighbour”. More than that, Airport Ministry is a mission of proclaiming the Good News, a work of evangelization that takes place in airports around the world.

Since 1970, the Toronto Airport Catholic Chaplaincy has been a ministry of the Archdiocese of Toronto, in conjunction with the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People.

Join me for this latest edition of Catholic Focus, as we uncover several airport chaplaincies (one in Toronto, Canada and another in Chicago, Illinois.) Together, we will come to understand the impact and great service they are providing both Catholic and non-denominational travelers.