Monthly Archives: April 2016

Rosica To Facilitate Catholic Education Congress

WELLAND – Father Thomas Rosica, chief executive officer of Canada’s Salt + Light Television Network, will be the facilitator for a Catholic Education Congress taking place at four Niagara Catholic secondary schools.

The One Family in Christ Embracing Catholic Education Congress is presented by Niagara Catholic District School Board in partnership with the Diocese of St. Catharines.


Father Rosica

Basilian priest Rosica will speak on: Strengthening the commitment of School, Family and Church in support of Catholic education.

Locations and time of the sessions are as follows:

Monday, April 25: Blessed Trinity Catholic Secondary School, Grimsby;

Tuesday, May 3: Denis Morris Catholic High School, St. Catharines;

Wednesday, May 4: Lakeshore Catholic High School, Port Colborne;

Thursday, May 5: St. Michael Catholic High School, Niagara Falls.

Each of the sessions is from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

They are open to students, staff, family, parishioners and clergy.

The program is described as “ an evening of learning and dialogue to enhance our Catholic education partnership between school, family and parish in the Diocese of St. Catharines.”

Free childcare will be available.

Rosica is well known as a commentator about the Catholic church and is a frequent newspaper columnist. He was chief executive officer and national director of World Youth Day and the papal visit of Pope John Paul II in Toronto during July, 2002.

Chris Fickling: ‘The Hope For Our Future Lies With Each And Every Person…’

chris fickling

Rev. Chris Fickling is moving on from Welland’s Central United Church. He’s pictured here with son Nahum and wife Jennifer Carter. The family is moving to Kitchener. (Supplied photo)

By Rev. Chris Fickling

WELLAND – Almost eight years ago, I remember pulling into Welland for an interview with Central United Church.  Not really knowing the town, I thought I’d explore my potential new home.  It was night, and it was quiet.  In the months and years that would follow, I learned why it felt so very quiet.  Welland had experienced such profound death and loss.  And it wasn’t done yet.  In my time here, the closures of the Deere plant as well as other closures in town have slowed Welland’s growth towards a new future.  The quiet was an expression of desperation by those worried about an unknown future.

Because of my role as minister, I’ve had the privilege to be present to these difficult conversations surrounding these losses.  I’ve listened to the heart wrenching stories of those in poverty.  I’ve heard the fears from those worried about being able to provide for their families and stay in the town they love.  I’ve listened, but soon learned that listening was not enough.  While culture seems to be shifting away from religious institutions, in my experience, it has been the people of faith hopeful enough to work towards a new tomorrow.  I’ve helped alongside those cooking and serving hot meals through Harvest Kitchen, collected for our local food banks, become aware of the many resources that this town provides those in need, yet nothing has eliminated the problems facing Welland.

I soon realized that it’s not up to one person, one group, or one church community. The hope for our future lies with each and every person working towards a life where all people can thrive.  The hope for our future lies with each and every person believing that change is possible.  That’s why I’ve been impressed with movements towards improving this town, such as the Illuminaqua concert series and the Amphitheatre, the Flatwater Centre and the hosting of the Pan Am games.

While these don’t directly address the issues facing Welland, they create an environment of positivity and growth that restores faith in our community.  It also reminds us that loss does not have to be our defining feature.  Welland is filled with so much beauty that we too often take for granted.  There’s the beauty of the people willing to fight for the city they love and to make strides to improve the lives of those who live here.  There’s beauty in the natural and constructed environment with the canals and trails, such phenomenal resources that still inspire wonder.  And even as we experience loss, there’s so much for which we can be thankful.

I’m thankful that in my time here, I’ve gotten to know so many amazing people who have taught me so much love for this area.  I’m thankful for the work we’ve accomplished, and in leaving, I know how much more work is left undone.  That’s what makes my leaving bittersweet.  The only thing that puts my heart at ease is that if I would have stayed a hundred years, the work would still be incomplete.  This task of remaking the world is daunting and unending, and it requires all of us to continue and we must, all of us, work towards a peace and justice that all people can enjoy.

Clergyman Edward Everett Hale once said…

I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do. And by the grace of God, I will.

I am profoundly thankful that even though I have been just one person, I have been surrounded by so many dedicated faithful people ready to open their hearts and lives to changing this world for the better.  In leaving, I take this profound gift of wisdom with me.

(Rev. Fickling and his family will be moving on from Welland this summer. His final service at Central is scheduled for Sunday, June 19.) 

Priest Died While Visiting Family In Nigeria

By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large


Father Obioma Anyanwu (from Diocese of St. Catharines website)

WELLAND – A Catholic priest who returned home to Nigeria to visit his family, only to pass away in his sleep while there, will be missed at his Port Colborne parish, parishioners say.

Father Obioma Anyanwu died Saturday, April 9 in his sleep, according to his obituary and also a post on the Diocese of St. Catharines website. He left for Nigeria March 30 and was scheduled to return to St. Patrick Parish, Port Colborne, in early May. He was 52.

Anyanwu became pastor at St. Patrick’s in August. Prior to that he was pastor at St. Martin of Tours parish in Smithville. He also served at other parishes in the diocese since his arrival in 2005. Prior to coming to Niagara he was a priest in the Archdiocese of Gatineau where he served as pastor at Our Lady of the Annunication Church from 2001-2005.

Bettina DiGiulio described her pastor as a man who was “warm, hospitable and happy, he liked to laugh.”


Bishop Gerard Bergie: Broke the news to churchgoers at 5 pm Mass.

She said Bishop Gerard Bergie came to the church at last Saturday’s 5 p.m. Mass and shared the sad news. DiGiulio was to have been there but had to change her plans.

“Bishop Bergie announced that Father Obioma had passed on,” she said. “He wanted to break the news himself.”

She got to know Anyanwu socially when he had asked her to cook for three or four parish functions. One was a Confirmation dinner for about a half dozen guests, including Bishop Bergie.

“Father enjoyed entertaining,” she recalled. “He was a good host.”

Anyanwu was deeply committed to the parish church, DiGiulio said. St. Patrick’s is in need of repairs, she said, and the pastor “was on a mission” to raise money and see that work would get done. When she served as a reader at Mass, he would ask her to have the congregation pray: “Lord show us your plan. Lord fulfill among us your promise to build your church. Lord whatever you ask of me I will do.”

She described him as spiritual, knowledgeable in matters of the faith, and “a priest who knows the Lord.”

Shortly before he left for Nigeria, Anyanwu told DiGiulio he was in need of prayers because of what lay ahead. He would be flying first to France, where there would be a layover, then a flight to Nigeria and then a car ride of several hours to his home.

“I’m going to need a lot of prayers,” she said he told her.

As one who believes in “divine intervention”, DiGiulio said her pastor’s death at home may have been “what was meant to be.”

She said: “The Good Lord directed him there so he could die in his homeland. I believe in divine intervention and that, to me, is divine intervention.”

Mieke Van Es was at that Saturday afternoon Mass where the pastor’s death was announced.

She said the priest filling in for him while he was on vacation told parishioners they were getting a visit from the bishop.

“That made you think something was up,” she said. “People thought maybe the church was closing. But the bishop made the announcement, he said he had just learned that Father had passed on.”

The news was met with a collective gasp she said: “You could hear it, like everyone inhaled at the same time. It was unbelieveable. He went there on a holiday and that’s what happened.”

Lifelong St. Patrick’s parishioner Tom Lannan said he had known Anyanwu for only eight months, but had taken a liking to him soon after his arrival.

“He had a contagious laugh, he loved to laugh” said Lannan. “He was easy to talk to. I warmed up to him quickly ”

He said Anyanwu enjoyed ministering to children and young people.

Despite his brief period at the parish, the easy going pastor will be missed said Lannan, who is a member of the pastoral council and building and maintenance committee.

“The news came as quite a shock to us. People are still talking about it, how sad it is,” he said.

A post on the St. Catharines diocese website says in part: “We have all been deeply saddened and shocked by the sudden death of Father Obioma Anyanwu. He was a good and faithful priest filled with enthusiasm, joy and love for the Lord. These qualities were appreciated by all of us, especially by the parishioners he has served. He will be greatly missed.”

A Memorial Mass will be celebrated by Bishop Bergie at 11am tomorrow, Friday, April 15, at St. Patrick’s Parish, 123 King St., Port Colborne.

The post on the diocesan website concludes with: “The souls of the just are in the hands of God, no torment shall ever touch them.” (Wisdom 3:1)

City Shorts: Try ’em On For Size


CITY SHORTS ART: Notre Dame is staging the musical You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown, starting with the opening performance this evening, and also Friday and Saturday nights and a matinee Sunday. Shown here is a portion of the cast: from left, Paige Reid, Emlyn Toner, Alison Sheets, Tyler Simpson, Sydney Koon, Cassandra Moldovan, Madeline Resney, Alayna Battaglini. Interested in attending? Call the school Friday for ticket availability, 905-788-3060. (Supplied photo)

Compilation by Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large

city shorts

City Shorts

City Shorts is a compilation, from various sources (government websites, news announcements, press releases, church bulletins, advertisements, community service information and events, bulletin boards, requests, telephone requests, web postings, email requests etc.) of short items (in most cases) about matters of local interest in Welland. Want to submit an item for consideration? Please send to:


WELLAND – Save the Welland Hospital advocates have another upcoming meeting to discuss saving the local hospital.

Building the Plan to Work Together to Save the Welland Hospital is the theme of the meeting. It’s on Wednesday, April 20, 7 pm at Guild Hall, 72 Charlotte St., Port Colborne.

Doug Allen, a board member on the Health Coalition will speak at the Port Colborne meeting.

The meetings are sponsored by Niagara Health Coalition, Ontario Health Coalition and Save Our Welland Hospital Committee.


WELLAND – The City of Welland is rebranding, redesigning, and rethinking its image. Creating a new look and feel to the City’s corporate image calls for a new City of Welland logo.

The City of Welland reserves the right to extend all deadlines associated with this contest to ensure that a sufficient number of entries are received.

logocontest2All submitted designs and source images must be the original work of the person submitting the application. No third-party artwork or images, including clipart or copyrighted graphics, may be used. The final design chosen as the contest winner may not necessarily be used as the final logo. Artwork that has been previously published or exhibited is not permitted.

By submitting an entry, the person agrees that the City of Welland will become the rightful owner of the image and any likeness of the image, and may alter and reproduce the image at its discretion. Incomplete information will disqualify the entry.

The City of Welland may choose not to use any contest submissions and retain the current logo, but if a final logo idea/theme is chosen and adopted by the City of Welland, the winner, along with his/her created logo will be featured in a future media release. The winning artist will also be recognized at a subsequent City of Welland Council meeting. All entries will be judged on the artwork’s creative ideas that reflect the uniqueness of our beautiful city.

The judging panel is made up of the City’s Mayor, Council Members, Management Team, City Information Services Division, Graphics Personnel, and select community representatives. More info on the city’s website.


trunk saleWELLAND – Welland public library is holding a trunk sale. Mark your calendar for Saturday, May 28. The trunk sale will be held in the lower parking lot (behind the Court House) from 8 am to 12 pm. Come and find collectibles, books, games and more. Booking proceeds will support new technology for the Welland Public Library.

Do you have treasures to sell? Only $20 for a spot until May 25, or $30 thereafter. Contact 905 734 6210 x 2527 to book your space or get more information.

More information is available on the library website.


WELLAND – Canadian rock and soul singer Laura Cole is featured tomorrow, Friday, April 15 at  7pm in the Theatre at the Welland Community Wellness Complex. This is a free event.


WELLAND – Thanks to the support from the community at our Trivia Night and a generous donation from the Welland Lions Club, patrons can now visit the main branch of the Welland Public Library to design three- dimensional objects that can be printed on the Flashforge Dreamer 3D Printer!

Once you register and successfully complete a 3D printer training session, you will be ready to upload a file using the form on our website that will be printed when time allows.  Children are welcome to participate in the fun, but must be accompanied by an adult who has completed the training course. More information is available here.

All 3D prints are free-of-charge in 2016 and you can print up to 3 objects per week. Please note that while staff will make every effort to accommodate specific requests for size and colour, this may result in longer wait times for your printed objects.

For more information, please drop by any Welland Public Library branch or call 905-734-6210, ext. 2521 and staff would be happy to answer any questions that you may have. To avoid disappointment, please call ahead to ensure that the printer is operational prior to your visit.

The Welland Public Library is also taking this technology on the road! If your school, service group, business or organization is interested in a free demonstration or training session, please call 905-734-6210, ext 5202 to arrange a visit!


WELLAND –Local practitioner and teacher Michelle MacIntosh will be walking you through the foundations of meditation. This session will combine different meditation techniques with teaching on how regular meditation can reduce stress and help us create a happy mind. This program will take place Wednesday, April 20, from 7 to 8:30 pm in the Community Room. To register, click here.


WELLAND – Applications are now being accepted for the Rose City Seniors Centre Foundation Bursary Award.

According to an ad on the Civic Corner page, the successful candidate(s) will be awarded $500 to pursue post-secondary school studies in fields that benefit care of seniors.

Deadline for applications is 4pm Friday, May 6.More info is available on the Civic Corner page or the city’s website.


WELLAND – Rose City Seniors Foundation Board’s annual meeting is April 19 at 1 p.m. in the Wellness Complex meeting room. An election of new officers will be held. Bring your wellness pass as ID.


WELLAND – The 23rd annual Sports Wall of Fame induction ceremony will be held at the Seaway Mall, from noon to 2pm.


WELLAND – Knights of Columbus Council #2146 is holding its annual fundraiser, a pasta dinner, on April 29 at Casa Dante, Lincoln Street, Welland. The evening also features a 50/50 draw, silent auction and penny sale. All proceeds go to Welland St Vincent de Paul Society. Doors open at 5:30, dinner served at 6:30. To purchase or reserve tickets, call Pat, 905. 732. 9475.


WELLAND – The Notre Dame College School Alumni Association is inviting all alumni to register on its new website in order to re-establish the contact list. Once logged in and registered you will be able to peruse over 65 years of Notre Dame yearbooks online. Please register at Click on Notre Dame Alumni.


WELLAND – Apply to be this year’s Welland Rose Queen! Applications are available at the Rose Festival Office, 30 East Main Street in downtown Welland.


WELLAND –Welland and Port Colborne Pro-Life annual dinner meeting is Saturday, April 30, at. St. Anthony’s Church Hall, 360 River Road, Welland.

Registration is at 6pm followed by dinner at 6:30pm. Guest Speaker is Jim Hughes, president of Campaign Life Coalition. Tickets are $30. per adult, $25. for students and $15. for children 12 and under. Please call 905.714.0547 to reserve your ticket.


WELLAND – Meet Mayor Frank Campion at the Merritt Island parking lot Monday mornings at 7:30 a.m. for a 40-minute walk on Merritt Island.