As part of our Diocesan mission and obedience to the words of our Lord to “Feed my lambs, feed my sheep,” Together in Action granted “good gifts” of funding to many amazing organizations across southern Alberta in 2016. In Lethbridge, we granted to the Interfaith Food Bank Society, run almost entirely by volunteers. Each year, more than 100 volunteers come through their door to give “good gifts” of time to the lives of the food bank’s clients. Many of them are passionately committed, serving regularly, often several times a month. Staff are committed to giving their volunteers a positive experience. Funds from Together in Action ensure they have a quality volunteer program. This commitment promotes long term volunteer retention and helps manage organizational costs effectively.
A bit farther north, in Airdrie, Deacon Gary Haney works with St. Dismas Prison Ministries. This organization works with an extremely marginalized population – recently released inmates. Together in Action funds the organization’s Let’s Journey Together Program. Volunteers with this organization give “good gifts” of circles of support around released inmates, helping them transition back into the community. The connections built within these circles anchor these vulnerable individuals to stability, acceptance and often, housing and employment. Deacon Gary Haney loves to tell the story of this organization and passionately believes in the work.
Do you or your parish support a charity that you are passionate about? Do you have an organization that you love and give the “good gifts” of your time or money to? We’d love to hear from you! Connect with us to tell us about it! If we feel it’s a good fit for the Together in Action Granting Program, we will solicit an application from the charity. After that, it will be up to the committee and the Bishop. As the donors who make Together in Action possible, we believe you have a voice in suggesting the spread of “good gifts.” Contact the Charities & Development Office at (403) 218-5534 for more information or to get the nomination form.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary is honoured to partner with Blue Sea Philanthropy, KAIROS Calgary and the Mustard Seed to host Coldest Night of the Year.
The Coldest Night of the Year is a non-competitive 2, 5, and 10km winter-walk happening in more than 90 communities across Canada. Charities in each community raise funds and awareness in support of individuals experiencing hunger, homelessness and hurt.
2016 Giving Deadlines
Thank you for thinking of us this holiday season.
We are truly grateful for your support!
We are truly grateful for your support!
until 8:30 am on Tuesday, January 3, 2016 in observance of the Christmas Season.
If you would like to donate online, please use the “Donate Now” button at the top of this page. These gifts must be date stamped December 31, 2016.
If you would like to make a gift of Securities, this Authorization to Broker Form must be RECEIVED by OUR broker by December 30, 2016.
If you would like mail a donation, please ensure it is postmarked by December 31, 2016 to be eligible for a 2016 tax receipt. (Catholic Pastoral Centre, 120 17 Ave SW, Calgary AB T2S 2T2).
If you would like to drop off a donation, the Catholic Pastoral Centre is open until 4:30 pm on December 22, 2016. (Catholic Pastoral Centre, 120 17 Ave SW, Calgary AB T2S 2T2).
If you have any questions about these deadlines, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. (please note this email will only be checked intermittently between December 22 and 31, 2016)
Thank you again for your generosity.
Merry Christmas from The Catholic Pastoral Centre.
From the beginning of creation, God's beautiful plan for human love was inscribed on the human heart and in the human body, "Male and female he created them" (Gen. 1:27)
God created the human person, male and female, in his image and likeness, as the crown of creation. Everyone of us is a gift with the inviolable dignity of a person. We can all echo the words of the Psalmist: "I praise you, because I am wonderfully made; wonderful are your works!" (Psalm 139:14)
As an expression of how wonderfully different and amazing we really are - consider the entries of a husband and wife in their respective diaries.
Tonight, I thought my husband was acting weird. We had made plans to meet at a nice restaurant for dinner. I was shopping with my friends all day long, so I thought he was upset at the fact that I was a bit late, but he made no comment on it. Conversation wasn't flowing, so I suggested that we go somewhere quiet so we could talk. He agreed, but he didn't say much. I asked him what was wrong; He said, "nothing."
I asked him if it was my fault that he was upset. He said he wasn't upset, that it had nothing to do with me, and not to worry about it. On the way home, I told him that I loved him. He smiled slightly, and kept driving. I can't explain his behaviour. I don't know why he didn't say, "I love you, too." When we got home, I felt as if I had lost him completely, as if he wanted nothing to do with me anymore. He just sat there quietly, and watched TV. He continued to seem distant and absent.
Finally, with silence all around us, I decided to go to bed. About 15 minutes later, he came to bed. But I still felt that he was distracted, and his thoughts were somewhere else. He fell asleep; I cried. I don't know what to do. I'm almost sure that his thoughts are with someone else. My life is a disaster.
A two-foot putt...who the hell misses a two-foot putt?
The body expresses the person. It expresses in a visible way one's invisible soul and manifests one's masculine or feminine identity.
Pope St. John Paul II often referred to the "spousal meaning of the body." He taught that the body, in its masculinity or femininity, is inscribed with its own language - a language of gift and of communion of persons. Our bodies tell us that we come from another. We are not self-made or fundamentally isolated. Instead, we are each a son or a daughter.
We are in relation to others from the beginning of our existence, first to our mother and father, and through them to the entire human family. Our bodies tell us that we are "for" another, that we have the capacity for fruitful communion with another, in particular with a person of the opposite sex if called to marriage.
Written in our bodies is a call to spousal, fruitful love. In giving ourselves in love, we fulfill the meaning of our existence: "Man cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself."
Because of the beautiful meaning and dignity communicated by our bodies - which communicate our very selves - our bodies should be treated with the greatest respect. We, and therefore our bodies, are not meant to be "used" but "loved."
St. John Paull II taught that the opposite of love is not hate but rather using a person, as if he or she were an object. To love others is to recognize them as the gift they are, to seek what is truly good and best for them, and never to use them and thereby objectify them as something less than persons. The body, then, is not raw, biological matter open to manipulation, but is rather inseparable from who we are.
As Pope Francis has emphasized, "Learning to accept our body, to care for it and to respect its fullest meaning, is an essential element of any genuine human ecology."
I would like to share some of Laura's story, not hear real name, -
I was working at a movie theatre during high school. While I was working there, I met the 40-year-old projectionist. After hearing about my love for music, he approached me, offering free guitar lessons. Being in high school with no money, I was ecstatic and quickly accepted, not thinking anything of it.
During these lessons he told me things every girl wants to hear. "I love spending time with you," "you're beautiful," etc. As these lessons continued, we started a romantic relationship. Eventually, I was kicked out of my house for bad behaviour. As I was still in high school, I have nowhere to go, so the 40-year-old man said I should just come live with him.
In my head we were dating, so I saw nothing wrong with it. Based on the relationships I had seen as a child, this seemed normal.
In the beginning of living with him, nothing out of the norm happened. After a few months passed, he asked me to be a part of his "art project," and to be his number one model! Without any hesitation, I eagerly accepted and the "art project" began. The photos were innocent in the beginning and later became more sexual. I was forced to do unthinkable things. He monitored where I was and isolated me from my friends.
After a year and a half, he began talking about engagement. I made it a goal to leave, since I did not want to marry him. Eventually an opportunity arrived, and I was able to escape to live with a friend.
Laura's story is a sanitized modern day story about human trafficking and sex slavery. So frequently hidden, out of sight and not talked about, the physical, economic, sexual and psychological exploitation of men and women, boys and girls, which currently holds tens of millions in inhumane and humiliating bondage.
It is a reality which affects the most vulnerable in society: women of all ages, children, the handicapped, the poorest, and those from broken families and from difficult situations in society.
Our common humanity calls us to share our compassion for their sufferings and strive to liberate them and alleviate their wounds. We cannot continue to allow these women, men, and children to be treated like objects, to be deceived, raped, often sold and resold for various purposes, and in the end, either killed or left devastated in mind and body, only to be thrown away or abandoned.
In order to achieve positive results, our efforts must not be restricted to human rights legislation and various forms of government action to ensure the safety of victims, and to prevent criminals from escaping justice.
We need to look at our culture and our communications and examine our consciences. How many times have we permitted a human being to be seen as an object, to be put on show in order to sell a product or to satisfy an immoral desire? The human person ought never to be sold or bought as if he or she were a commodity. Whoever uses human persons in this way and exploits them, even if indirectly, becomes an accomplice of this injustice.
In his 2014 Lenten message, Pope Francis noted, "How much pain is caused in families because one of their memebers - often a young person - is in thrall to alcohol, drugs, gambling, or pornography."
Parents today face increasing challenges in protecting their children's innocence. Pornography can enter the home through a variety of doors. The most obvious is media and technology, which includes not only computers , tablets, and mobile phones, but also video games connected to the Internet.
Young people born in the digital age have grown up immersed in media and the Internet, and many times are savvier at navigating this world than their parents. Since it is estimated that the average age of first exposure to pornography is eleven, many children exposed to pornography are even younger. Almost all young males and over half of all young females see pornography before age eighteen, often accidentally, such as finding a family member's "stash" or happening upon a pornogrpahic website through a pop-up ad or typo. Other times a child may search online for a term he or she heard and did not understand, or intentionally search for online pornogrpahy out of curiosity. Sex education curriculums may treat pornogrpahy as neutral or even good, in some cases even using it as a "teaching tool." Children and teens experience pressure from peers and even family members to look at pornography. More and more, young people produce their own pornography, in the form of sexual photographs or videos shared with peers. "Sexting" is associated with other risky sexual behaviours, charges of child pornography, and tragically has even led to suicide when the image is shared with unintended recipients.
The use of pornography by anyone in the home deprives the home of its role as a safe haven and has negative effects throughout a family's life and across generations. Fatherhood is gravely impacted because a son will look to his father as a model, and a daughter will to her father to understand how a man should treat a woman.
I am going to make five practical suggestions for parents culled from parental testimonies and insights, from other experts in the field and from ex-users of pornography.
- Integrated approach. Steer away from "The Talk," the birds and the bees approach, towards a more integrated approach. Having "The Talk" relies on the misguided notion that parents have educational content or factual knowledge that they are duty-bound to try to deposit into their children's brains. This approach is not only awkward and paternalistic, but can convey a sense that sexual education is a one-time, get-it-over-with ordeal. Kids require ongoing guidance and support from their parents - an expressed willingness to enter into these important discussions that stress the beauty of sexuality in marriage and what it is really for, rather than just telling them what not to do or scaring them away from sexually-transmitted diseases.
- Be attentive to opportune moments to share wisdom and stories. Because we live in a highly pornified culture, opportunities for parents to share and discuss important value assessments regarding human sexuality with their children arise often. Driving by a billboard with a risque picture or seeing something on TV might, for example, serve as an opportunity to note how it's against the love of women to use them as sex objects. Passing through a part of town where prostitutes are plying their trade might spark a discussion about how many women involved in prostitution are victims of human trafficking and the vast majority wish they could break free of it, etc.
- Regulating internet access. Avoid internet accesss in the bedroom. Sometimes parents will say, "The kids have access at school and everywhere else, so I let them have unrestricted access at home - they've got to learn how to handle it anyway." But the home setting needs to differ from the outside world, serving as an oasis and a protected environment for children. If someone offered to install a pipe into your child's bedroom that could be turned on to pump in raw sewage, you would not agree to it. Yet many parents fail to restrict what is entering their children's bedrooms through the internet and TV.
- Monitor internet usage. Check browser history and make use of monitoring software, even though a particular child may be an angel. Keep the family computer in a shared space like the living room with the screen visible so family members can be aware of each other's online activities. Laptops and tablets can pose an inadvertent temptation in this respect as teens sit cuddled up on the couch with screens not visible to others. In family life, we are called to serve as our brother's keeper. Set limits on "screen time" for children and maintain password/access control over devices. Have the neughbour's kids deposit their electronic devices on the kitchen table during visits to diminish the temptation to slip away to a private part of the house and surf the net, perhaps with younger siblings in tow. Such practices may also serve to indirectly evangelize other families in the neghbourhood regarding the serious threats from internet porn.
- Set appropriate rules regarding relationships and be involved in the kids' dating practices. Too often, parents are tempted to take a "hands-off" approach to this area of their children's lives. Setting appropriate rules for kids serves as a sign of a parent's love and concern for them. Whenever parents determine that dating should begin, it offers further opportunities and occasions to discuss problems and scenarios that can help teens set moral boundaries. Talking to kids and helping them to become good stewards of the gift of human sexuality bestowed by God is hard work. In a culture that forcefully communicates a pornified counter-gospel, though, it is certainly one of the most important and enduring gifts a parent can seek to provide for the happiness and well-being of their children.
Pope Francis reminded the Church of her calling to become a "field hospital" for the wounded of the world. All of us are wounded, starting with Original Sin and its consequences as well as our own sins. In the wake of the so-called sexual revolution, many have been hurt by their own sins, the sins of others, confusion, and broken relationships and families. In particular, the effects of pornography on the soul can be deep. However, no wound is so deep that as to be out of the reach of Christ's redeeming grace.
We as church, as a field hospital, are called to proclaim the truth of the human person in love, to protect people - especially children - from pornography, and to provide the Lord's mercy and healing for those wounded by pornography. Ultimately, Christ is our hope!
Love you sweetheart
A group of women were at a seminar on how to live in a loving relationship with their husbands. The women were asked, "How many of you love your husband?" All the women raised their hands.
Then they were asked, "When was the last time you told your husband you loved him?" Some women answered today, a few yesterday, and some couldn't remember. The women were then told to take out their cell phones and text their husband: "I love you."
Next, the women were instructed to exchange phones with another woman, and read aloud the text message she received in response to her message.
Here are 9 replies. If you have been married for quite a while, you understand that these responses are a sign of true love...who else would reply in such a succinct and honest way:
- Who the hell is this?
- Eh, mother of my children, are you sick or what
- Yeah, and I love you too. What's wrong?
- What now? Did you wreck the car again?
- Don't beat about the bush, just tell me how much you need?
- Am I dreaming?
- If you don't tell me who this message is actually for, someone will die
- I thought we agreed you woudn't drink during the day
- Your mother is coming to stay with us, isn't she?
Kinda tugs at the heart, doesn't it?
"Create in Me a Clean Heart"
☩ F. B. Henry
Bishop of Calgary
Being a person of faith requires both a practical and a philosophical response to the call God places on our hearts to enter in communion with Him. Diocesan events strive to offer practical, tangible ways that we, as Christians, can respond to Jesus call to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” [Matt. 28:19] and to “love one another, as He has loved us” [John 13:34]. Whether it is a workshop that teaches us how to comfort the bereaved, a festival designed to set the faith of our youth on fire, a walk to raise funds for agencies serving the homeless, or a gala raising awareness and support for agencies changing our world for the better, we seek to give all of you a chance to truly make a difference.
The 2016 Bishop‘s dinner did so on Thursday, October 20 for more than 400 people in attendance. In an uncanny coincidence (or at the Holy Spirit’s divine prompting) this year’s dinner is just one of about a dozen events happening in Calgary in October and November that seek to provide education, awareness and an opportunity to fight against sexual exploitation. The events cover the impacts of human trafficking and the Bishop’s Dinner’s other difficult topic: pornography. Many of these events are being held in churches or by church communities. Why are they involved in such dark, secret topics?
In his keynote address at the October 20th event, Bishop Henry made that “why” very clear. The Church has a bright light to offer into the dark, dark world view of humanity, sex and sexuality that secular society perpetuates. A bright light highlighted — a philosophical response — by Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, which the Bishop referred to multiple times in his address.
“St. John Paul II taught that the opposite of love is not hate, but rather using a person as if he or she were an object. To love others is to recognize them as the gift they are, to seek what is truly good and best for them, and never to use them, and thereby objectify them as something less than persons. The body, then, is not raw, biological matter open to manipulation but is rather inseparable from who we are.”
But it is not enough to just ponder these issues. We actually need to do something about them — a practical response — even when it seems our small gestures do little to combat the bigger picture. If even one life is saved or fundamentally changed is that not enough? The second half of Bishop Henry’s talk focused on actions that we, as families, can take to reduce the impact a corrupted world view of sex can have on our youth, especially as it relates to pornography:
- Take an integrated approach. Kids require ongoing guidance and support from their parents… rather than just telling them what not to do or scaring them away from sexually transmitted diseases.
- Be attentive to opportune moments to share wisdom and stories.
- Regulate Internet access.
- Monitor Internet usage. Check browser history and make use of monitoring software.
- Set appropriate rules regarding relationships and be involved in the kids’ dating practices.
By purchasing tickets to the Dinner, each attendee also made a practical gesture: monetarily supporting the four beneficiary agencies. Their generosity raised more than $20,000 to be split between Catholic Family Service, Next Step Ministries, the Joy Smith Foundation and YWCA Lethbridge. That was one of many bright spots during the evening. Another saw The Stouthearted Knights of Airdrie perform their music with great enthusiasm and talent to entertain an appreciative audience.
It is not too late to participate! If you would like to contribute financially, are interested in connecting to this cause in other ways, or want to know more about the event, please contact Samantha Jones, Event Manager at (403) 218-5531 or email@example.com.