The Toronto Star's Noor Javed reports on how the Cathedral of Transfiguration, which gave the Markham town of Cathedraltown its name, is now finally open for worship. It's good that this building is finally going to be put to some use.
For residents of Cathedraltown, the news was nothing short of a Christmas miracle.
After nearly a decade of seeing the towering Slovak Cathedral of Transfiguration in Markham closed to the public, local resident Mayrose Gregorios couldn’t believe it when she heard the news from two men doing cleanup work on the property one morning: the church would be open for weekend mass.
For as long as Gregorios had lived in Cathedraltown, a quiet subdivision near Major Mackenzie Dr., and Highway 404, whose name was inspired by the adjacent European-style cathedral, the empty building had cast a dark shadow on the community. The last service in the cathedral, which broke ground more than three decades ago, took place in 2006.
The reasons for the closure are believed to be twofold: The first, a decade-old dispute between the developer Helen Roman-Barber and the Eparchy for Catholic Slovaks of the Byzantine Rite in Canada, over the title to the land, left the cathedral without a congregation.
But in recent years, Roman-Barber, head of King David Inc., told residents the cathedral, with its magnificent 14-storey bell towers and cupolas plated in 22-karat gold, was closed so that the numerous detailed mosaics planned for the inside could be completed. An anticipated deadline of December 2015, set by Roman-Barber in a Markham staff report, came and passed. Residents stopped hoping for good news.
So two weeks ago, Gregorios woke up early and waited for the 18-tonne bronze church bells, built at the prestigious Paccard Foundry in France, to ring and announce the momentous occasion. When she didn’t hear them toll that day, she walked over to the cathedral, saw people streaming in and joined them.
“They said it was a private mass, but couldn’t stop anyone who wanted to worship,” she said, adding there were about 200 people in attendance. “It was a beautiful moment: the mass, the singing, the spirit of it all,” said Gregorios, who said the mass was in Arabic and English.
CBC News' Shane Ross reports that some nuns hoping set up in Summerside are hoping to still continue on despite the rejection of their convent's location by the city.
Nuns from Ontario still have faith they can establish a convent and daycare in Summerside, according to a local priest who has been helping them.
The nuns' request to rezone a property on South Drive was rejected this week by Summerside city council.
"Obviously they're disappointed in the decision but they're still committed to coming to Summerside so would like to try something else," said Father Chris Sherren of St. Paul's Church in Summerside.
Some neighbours opposed the rezoning because they were concerned about traffic from the daycare.
- Beyond the Beyond shares an early 17th century Catholic Church communication doubting the Earth went around the sun.
- blogTO notes the sympathy cards placed outside the American consulate in Toronto.
- Crooked Timber argues that liberal progressivism hasn't been tried in recent years and so can't have failed.
- The Dragon's Tales shares one model explaining the contradictions between the faint young sun and a warm early Mars.
- Far Outliers reports on the roles of different types of British servants in India.
- Language Hat shares a history of Canadian English.
- Lawyers, Guns and Money notes Richard Rorty's prediction of a Trump-like catastrophe and argues that economics do matter.
- On the anniversary of the Bataclan, the LRB Blog reflects on the music of France.
- The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer notes the grim predictions of Hans-Joachim Voth as to the degeneration of American life likely under Trump.
- The Russian Demographics Blog notes the relatively low population growth of France in the 19th century.
- Towleroad notes Trump's statement that gay marriage is settled.
- Window on Eurasia notes that Belarus will have less maneuvering room under Trump.
- Arnold Zwicky considers the colours of the pride rainbow.
In "Toronto’s St. Michael’s Cathedral reopens to joyous applause after five year, $128M renovation", the National Post's Joseph Breen reports on the reopening of the central building of the Roman Catholic Church in Toronto. My theological and political issues with said church aside, this is an attractive building. It is good to see it back in use.
Fr. Michael Busch, rector of St. Michael’s Cathedral in Toronto, was only making a little joke, about how people are always asking how much work it must be, renovating a huge downtown church all by yourself.
It was hardly an applause line, especially from a priest in a pulpit. But this was a midday Mass to thank the workers who spent five years shoring up the foundation of the 168-year-old centre of Upper Canadian Catholicism, bolstering the stone and brick with hidden steel, installing tiled floors and new statues, and painting the ceiling by hand.
Even after all the singing, backed by a brass band and a new Quebec-made organ, something about that reno joke sparked a contagious enthusiasm. It was the first chance for people to give thanks personally, rather than just hear Archbishop of Toronto Thomas Collins say it.
It started with one man in a worker’s jacket in the front row, rising to his feet and clapping.
Supportive applause rose gingerly from the pews. Some people around him stood up, too, but tentatively. Then the workers joined in together, and churchly decorum stood no chance.
In the shadow of Charlottetown's St. Dunstan's Basilica on Great George Street stands a statue of Angus Bernard MacEachern, the Scottish immigrant to early British Prince Edward Island who brought Roman Catholicism to the territory.
Of note is the multilingualism of the plaque explaining MacEachern's life and works, in English, French, Gaelic and Mi'kmaq.
St. Dunstan's stands above it all.
Of note is the multilingualism of the plaque explaining MacEachern's life and works, in English, French, Gaelic and Mi'kmaq.
St. Dunstan's stands above it all.
- The Broadside Blog's Caitlin Kelly notes the import of journalism, even now.
- Centauri Dreams looks at the bright spots of Ceres.
- D-Brief looks at gravitational wave astronomy in space and notes that fish can recognize faces.
- Dangerous Minds looks at some groovy French playing cards from the 1960s.
- The Dragon's Tales notes the permanent deployment of more Russian forces to the Ukrainian border.
- Joe. My. God. reports a claim by a New York state legislator that a bishop tried to bribe her to drop her support for child abuse reform legislation.
- The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer looks at the claim that perceived anti-Hispanic policies in California helped kill the Republican Party there, and finds it interestingly wanting.
- Savage Minds examines the decolonization of anthropology in the Pacific islands.
- Window on Eurasia suggests that Russians are not interested in fighting over the Baltic States.
- Arnold Zwicky remembers his lovers and the roses he loved.
- blogTO lists seven hidden beaches in the Toronto area.
- The Dragon's Gaze notes the discovery of a Solar twin, Inti 1.
- Joe. My. God. observes that this weekend was the time for Manhattanhenge in New York City.
- Language Hat reports on the 1950s travels of Nabokov and describes the effort to preserve the languages of the Arctic.
- The LRB Blog notes political protest in Madrid.
- Marginal Revolution worries about the premature deindustrialization of China and its effect on Chinese workers, and notes the dominance of the New York City subway system in American transit numbers.
- Personal Reflections' Jim Belshaw describes Homo sapiens sapiens tangled family history, Denisovans and Neanderthal and all.
- Towleroad notes an anti-gay Vatican official charged with seducing young men.
- Window on Eurasia notes the new Kalmyk republic mission in Moscow and describes the import of Russia's Ust-Luga port on the Baltic.
Again: Why do we fund separate school systems, with public money even, if they want to retain the right to hurt students? From the Toronto Star:
Halton Catholic trustees have rejected an update to the school board’s discipline and anti-bullying policy after one raised concerns that mentioning sexual orientation or gender identity could violate religious teachings.
The changes had previously been approved, unanimously, by a trustee committee and at last week’s full board meeting it was explained that the updates are in line with what’s required under the provincial Education Act and Ontario’s Human Rights Code, said Chair Jane Michael.
“It was a shock to all of us, I believe,” said Michael, who expected the amendments — which she considered part of a routine update — to easily pass. Instead, they failed on a 4-3 vote.
And because the board is “already so far behind” in making the required changes that were ready back in February, Ontario’s Ministry of Education “was waiting for an affirmative answer (last) Wednesday morning” after the board meeting, Michael said.
The policy, which covers discipline and safety in schools, will now go back to the same committee, and she’s hoping it will reappear, as is, on the board’s June meeting agenda.
- blogTO notes that Canadian Backpackers Hostel is set to close down to make room for condos.
- Centauri Dreams looks at ways to use the Earth's transit of the Sun to find potentially watching extraterrestrial civilizations.
- Dangerous Minds notes the human zoo.
- The Dragon's Gaze looks at the packed planetary system of young HL Tauri.
- The Dragon's Tales notes that primates in North America were not outcompeted by rodents.
- Geocurrents maps the substantial progress in development seen in Brazil.
- Language Log notes intriguing research suggesting some songbirds have a capacity for grammar.
- Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the environmental injustice of hog farms.
- Marginal Revolution notes it is now possible to get loans with negative interest rates in Germany.
- Rachel Kessler reflects on otherness and the need for empathy in the works of Octavia Butler.
- The Russian Demographics Blog commemorates the first mention of the name "Lithuania" in March 9, 1009.
- Torontoist debates Ontario's funding of the Catholic separate school system.
- Transit Toronto looks at the latest plans for Smartttrack in Toronto.
Emilio Godoy's Inter Press Service article is enlightening.
“We want Pope Francis’ message to come true…We want the rights of indigenous people to be supported, respected and strengthened,” Yuam Pravia, a representative of the Misquito native people, said in this city in southern Mexico.
Pravia, a Misquito indigenous woman from Honduras, was taking part Feb. 13-14 in a gathering of native people from Latin America in San Cristóbal de las Casas, in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas.
The forum was part of the activities organised ahead of the pope’s Monday Feb. 15 visit to this impoverished state with a mainly indigenous population.
“With the ‘Laudato Si’ encyclical we defend the rights to land, territory and forests,” was the theme of the two-day gathering, which referred to the first encyclical in history dedicated to the environment, published by the pope in June 2015.
“We want tangible results, for each country to take the pope’s message on board,” Pravia, the representative of the non-governmental organisation Asla Takanka Miskitia-Moskitia Unity of Honduras, told IPS.
Al Jazeera America notes that rising rents are driving a Catholic sisterhood out of San Francisco.
Sister Mary Benedicte wants to focus on feeding the hungry lined up outside a soup kitchen in a gritty part of San Francisco.
But the city's booming economy means even seedy neighborhoods are demanding higher rents, threatening to force out an order of nuns who serve the homeless.
The sisters of Fraternite Notre Dame's Mary of Nazareth House said they can't afford a monthly rent increase of more than 50 percent, from $3,465 to $5,500, and they have asked their landlord for more time to find a cheaper place to serve the poor.
"Everywhere the rent is very high, and many places don't want a soup kitchen in their place," Sister Mary Benedicte said Tuesday, in French-accented English. "It's very, very hard to find a place for a soup kitchen where people can feel welcome and where we can set up a kitchen for a reasonable price."
Since 2008, the modest kitchen has sat on a derelict street in the Tenderloin neighborhood, long associated with homelessness and drug use. But it's within walking distance of a revitalizing middle Market Street area, led by the relocation of Twitter in 2012.
There's been a "dramatic increase" in residential and retail rents in the middle Market area since 2010, spilling over into the Tenderloin, said Brad Lagomarsino, an executive vice president with commercial real estate company Colliers International.
The still-seedy neighborhood, in other words, is trending up.
The Globe and Mail's Caroline Alphonso describes a case of alleged discrimination by Ontario's Roman Catholic school system against a student that does, in fact, make me think defunding the separate school system is a good idea.
When Claudia Sorgini asked to be excused from religious courses and liturgies at her Catholic high school in Ontario, she was taken aback by the response: She would also be excluded from a variety of non-academic activities and assemblies, including a mental-health awareness assembly, the graduation-preparation assembly and an honour-roll breakfast. The school considered them “faith-filled” events.
Ms. Sorgini has filed a human-rights complaint against the school, the school board and the trustees’ association for “a continuous pattern of discrimination and reprisal in connection with her request for an exemption from religious courses and activities” in her last year of high school, according to her application, a copy of which was obtained by The Globe and Mail.
The complaint, launched with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, comes two years after a court ruled that students cannot be forced to participate.
According to a provision added to the Education Act in the 1980s, any student qualified to attend a public high school cannot be required to take religious courses. Public boards accept all students. But some Catholic schools are finding loopholes and making it more difficult or outright denying exemptions, earlier complaints to school boards indicate.
The issue of granting exemptions from religious studies has some observers wondering if the province really needs a publicly funded separate school system.
- blogTO looks back to see when Yonge and Dundas was cool.
- James Bow is decidedly unimpressed about Toronto's ever-shifting plans for mass transit.
- Joe. My. God. notes the opposition of Pope Francis to Italy's civil unions bill.
- Language Log notes Hong Kong's mixture of Cantonese and English, and shares a bit of pop music.
- Personal Reflections' Jim Belshaw wonders if Australia has peaked in the 1970s and 1980s, if its originality ended then.
- Emily Lakdawalla at the Planetary Science Blog shares XKCD's charting of the spaces for undiscovered but possible planets in our solar system.
- The Russian Demographics Blog notes that the Ukrainian population is continuing to decline.
- Spacing Toronto examines the history of the Toronto Coach Terminal.
- Transit Toronto suggests that current mass transit plans evoke Transit City, the difference being that Transit City would be substantially done by now.
- blogTO notes that all TTC streetcars will support Presto by the end of the year.
- Crooked Timber continues its examination of Piketty's thoughts on inequality and social justice.
- The Dragon's Tales reports on German surveillance of Germany's allies.
- Joe. My. God. notes the support of the Pope for the anti-gay marriage movement in Slovenia.
- Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the fundamental economic problems with law school.
- Marginal Revolution notes that genetic testing may be coming to the business floor.
- The Russian Demographics Blog maps population change in Poland over 2002-2011.
- Strange Maps shares a map predicting the liklelihood of white Christmases in the continental United States.
- Torontoist notes the need not to forget non-heterosexual Syrian refugees.
- Window on Eurasia looks at continued Russian emigration from Tuva.
- blogTO notes a big retail shift in the Junction and looks at new expensive condos on Dupont Street.
- The Dragon's Gaze links to one paper suggesting the light curve of KIC 8462852 can be plausibly explained by a large comet family, notes another simulating what Saturn would look like as an exoplanet, and found a third suggesting that the Fomalhaut system's configuration is likely temporary.
- The Dragon's Tales links to a report on silicon chips for supercomputers.
- Joe. My. God. notes that Ireland has passed legislation protecting all teachers, including those employed by Catholic schools, from discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.
- Language Log notes an odd Chinese typo for the name of Obama.
- Marginal Revolution starts a discussion on the fragility of complex civilizations.
- Torontoist features an essay by a lesbian Ontarian who talks about how the current sex ed curriculum would have helped her.
- From Tumblr, vagarh notes medieval texts and laws on abortion.
- Window on Eurasia looks at the impact of the Russia-Turkey crisis on the Orthodox Church, suggests Russian project their own shortcomings on the west, and looks at patriotism among Ukrainian Muslims.