Author: Dominic C.

Join our July 22 webinar, the newest Canadian cardinal, growing in your faith, and more

June 2020 Common Good Catholic (Newsletter)

You have your mission: To serve and lead during COVID-19
Dear friends,
We hope you’re safe and well as our communities begin to re-open, and life begins to return to normal. We echo Pope Francis’ (always) wise words: that our return to normal should not suggest a return to the normalcy of injustice in our world—that rather than taking advantage of the crisis to find new ways of trampling human dignity and seeking ways to gain personally, we should seek to build on new opportunities to advance the common good, at home and across the globe. This is a time to advance justice and build the Kingdom of God among us.
To that end, we invite you to attend our upcoming webinar entitled You have your mission! An online webinar that will help you find new ways to volunteer, serve others, and love your neighbours during COVID-19. The webinar will be live at 5 pm EST this Wednesday, July 22 – click here to RSVP. Our purpose is self-explanatory: to help Catholic volunteers across Canada find new ways to love and serve their neighbours under these strange circumstances. Many volunteer programs have been closed or suspended as a result of the pandemic. But many creative new ways to serve others have sprung up, and Canada needs Catholic leaders and volunteers to continue shaping the world by supporting their neighbours. This webinar will help you make that happen. Please share with your friends and family looking for new volunteer opportunities!
As always, we hope you find this newsletter edifying and spiritually nourishing. We hope to see you at our webinar on July 22—featuring leaders from across the community and specific ways you can get involved to help others during COVID-19.
With love,
Matthew Marquardt & Brendan Steven


Wednesday, July 22



It can be hard to remain connected to others during COVID-19. Endless Zoom and phone calls only do so much. And of course, it’s even harder to meet new friends during this crisis. Young adults can turn to our friends at Faith Connections, part of the family of Fontbonne Ministries in Toronto. In their own words:
Welcoming young adults (aged 18 to 39), Faith Connections’ wide variety of events are inclusive places to meet young adults who are searching for ways to grow spiritually, deepen their faith, and build community. Anything from a visit to the AGO for “Christ and Culture” to a discussion on politics, the environment, faith or more at “Theology on Tap”, we welcome you to join us.
Our events are open to all young adults: single, married or divorced, differently abled, religious, students, employed or not, spiritually minded or struggling with their faith… all.
Faith Connections’ events are continuing digitally and offer young adults’ wonderful opportunities to grow in faith, solidarity and friendship with one another. Click here to visit their website. And click here to sign up for their newsletter and receive updates about upcoming events.

Read the rest of the conversation by clicking here.


Taking responsibility for our personal faith formation by Father Michael McGourty

We wanted to share a beautiful and necessary reflection from the Archdiocese of Toronto’s Our Faith Alive series, written by Father Michael McGourty—pastor of St. Peter’s here in Toronto, and member of Catholic Conscience’s board of directors. In this article Father McGourty reminds us of our responsibility to grow in faith through our own attentiveness to Christ’s teachings:

The present challenges of our times — the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and our public discussion about race — are raising questions about life and its meaning in the hearts of many. People with deep and meaningful questions search the internet and YouTube for answers. Some of the answers found on the internet are good; others are motivated by evil and harmful groups. It is important that we all be aware of what we are looking at. 

As Christians, if we are really seeking life, our answers need to be rooted in Christ. Ultimately, each one of us is responsible for the information that we place our confidence in and the power that we allow it to have over our lives. In this Sunday’s readings, Jesus challenges us to allow His Word to be that which is rooted in our hearts and bears fruit in our lives.

Click here to read the full article. And consider following Father McGourty’s suggestions for deepening your faith this summer:


Across Ontario, parishes are re-opening for daily and weekend Masses. But just because our parishes are re-opening, doesn’t mean the threats of coronavirus have disappeared. Many parishes are implementing strict policies around social distancing, mask-wearing, cleaning of shared spaces, and more to ensure parishioners are kept safe. You can help ensure our parishes re-open safely.
We strongly encourage you to reach out by email or phone to your parish priest to see if you can volunteer and support the church’s re-opening.

If you live in the Archdiocese of Toronto, click here for the Archdiocese’s search engine of local parishes  – simply input your postal code, find your parish, and click the link for their contact information.



We read with great interest the Globe & Mail’s recent profile of Cardinal Michael Czerny, the newest Canadian cardinal and among Pope Francis’ closest advisors on issues dear to the Holy Father’s heart—the environment and refugees. Cardinal Czerny is undersecretary for the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery of Integral Human Development, and one of those who helped draft the landmark Laudato Si encyclical.
“The question is how you help others who are suffering,” Cardinal Czerny says in the article. Amen!
Read the full profile by clicking here.



Readers of the Catholic Register will have recently read about the difficult situation facing St. Francis Table, a ministry of the Capuchin friars serving meals to vulnerable neighbours in Toronto’s west-end. Like so many Catholic charities and ministries, operations have suffered during COVID-19 because of declining donations and volunteers.

In normal times, up to 250 three-course meals are served daily and its mission of service has been helped over the years to a large degree through the efforts of school groups and other volunteers… (Brother John) Frampton (animator of St. Francis Table) says these volunteers have not been able to help out because of the pandemic… Donations are also down and together with fewer volunteers, that has affected the number of meals being served. Normally St. Francis Table would have nine restaurant sittings a week, but health restrictions have turned St. Francis Table into a takeout restaurant for now.

“Right now, we’re only doing six meals a week, Monday through Friday, lunch and dinner on Tuesday. If we had more volunteers, we’d be able to do more,” said Frampton.

Are you able to help St. Francis Table? Please consider donating or volunteering your time to support this critical Catholic ministry in Toronto. Click here to donate.And click here to contact St. Francis Table about volunteering.



Catholic Conscience President Matthew Marquardt offered this prayer for our country to mark Canada Day. You can find it and share it on our Facebook page.
St Joseph, Patron of Canada, pray with us, please, that as free citizens we might choose to form ourselves in accordance with the values of truth, freedom, justice, and love; the principles of the common good, solidarity, subsidiarity, and the dignity of life; and the virtues of prudence and humility, and thereby select and support leaders who will:

• Celebrate life, freedom, and the dignity of all people, so that each of us might be encouraged and enabled in our journeys back toward God, throughout the entire course of our lives on earth;

• Respect all creation, so that we and future generations alike might enjoy the bounty and the copious fruits of God’s love;

• Ensure truly dignified work for all, and encourage us in our work so that each of us might work with God as faithful co-creators of a beautiful, fruitful, and dignified world;

• Show the world the gentleness, humility, and strength of the example Canada can set for the world; and

• Remind us always that we are all here together – one family, one community, for the good of all, including the poorest, most marginalized, and most lonely among us.

Lead us, Saint Joseph, to the Most Gentle Shepherd.


Federal Election Debate from a Catholic Perspective

Re-watch the Federal Election Debate (below) from a Catholic Perspective originally broadcasted on Thursday, October 3, 2019. Hosted by the Archdiocese of Toronto.

Catholics are called to be engaged in the public square. As we prepare for the October 21 federal election, you are invited to be part of one of the largest live audience debates in Canada.

Debate topics covered:

  • Poverty
  • Christian persecution
  • Human dignity (life issues)
  • Immigratin and refugees
  • Enviroment

Effective Participation in Political Parties

Catholic Conscience and the Newman Centre at the University of Toronto presented a panel discussion on effective participation in politics and political parties on May 30, 2019 at the Newman Centre.

Members from each of the major political parties discussed the proper roles and purposes of political parties.

Political parties and civic engagement matter. The visions for society that parties support have an enormous effect on nations, particularly when they take up the reins of power. How do we, as citizens, engage with parties, and help shape those visions? How can engaged citizens make a difference in the political process?

Panelists include:

  • Jo-Ann Davis, former TCDSB chair and 2018 Liberal MPP Candidate for University-Rosedale
  • Brendan Steven, former speechwriter for Conservative Finance Minister Joe Oliver
  • Dave Szollosy, former president OECTA, and 2018 NDP MPP candidate for York Simcoe
  • Nick Wright, member of the Governing Board of the Law Society of Ontario and 2014, 2015 Green Party candidate
  • Moderated by Matthew Marquardt, Executive Director Catholic Conscience
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