Tuesday, September 22, 2020


Live streaming of Mass from St. Michael's Cathedral

Covid 1- Pandemic and the Church

Hi everyone, it's me Tom. In the past, I've often written to you with little anecdotes about faith, history and family. I wanted to share with you my take on the church and how that meshes with life, love and community. With that in mind, I was somewhat challenged to write this article. I knew it had to be good. It had to be insightful yet upbeat. Obviously, it needs to address the world wide pandemic with a focus on each other with a hopeful, optimistic bent.

So here it goes. . .

As you know this is an unprecedented worldwide event. Hundreds of thousands of people are infected with the virus resulting in tens of thousands of deaths. We all have been following the news daily, even hourly. Much of the news is not good. There are few things to be happy about these days. Self-isolation can take a physical and psychological toll on us. We are social beings. We do better in groups than alone. Being cooped up in a confined space is not a healthy, both for the body and mind.

As we see the virus travel the globe, we see scenes of hospitals with doctors and nurses working frantically to save lives. We see countries fall to their knees struggling to beat this plague. Healthcare workers are doing all they can to get things under control. I personally, have been called up to attend informational webinars online to familiarize myself to the new protocols when dealing with the deceased. It's all very scary, but let's stop worrying about the present for a bit. Let's turn our attention to the future. This could be the horrific start of something wonderful. This could be the beginning of a new era for humankind.

With the exceptions of some unnamed countries, most of the world is on the same page. We know that this is without exception the world's most important issue, but it could also be an opportunity to rebalance humankind. It could be the earth's second chance. Perhaps, this is what we need to get our priorities back in place. Maybe the world now can see that we, all of humankind are in this together. Perhaps the "everyman for himself" mentality can finally be relegated to the history books as a short aberration on our development.

Imagine a world that comes together as one. All the countries of the world with the same priority of looking after each other and especially our most vulnerable and reaching the epiphany that we have no use for weapons. Imagine air craft carriers, missiles and tanks being destroyed or modified for peace and wellness. Now we understand the use of hospital ships and armies of doctors and nurses. They are the true heroes. These brave souls are fighting to save lives as they risk their own. We also now understand our governments, having, when pushed to the wall, money for the needy. Not just a small (but ever growing) segment of society but all of society, every man, woman and child. That is what Canada is doing and that is what most countries in the world are undertaking, because they have no choice.

This is why I am hopeful. I think God has a plan. Don't get me wrong. This was not His doing or idea. He is suffering with us. I just think he's given us the capacity to question the status quo. To dare question the way things are. To look at a society and world that can cooperate rather than compete. Now the world is scrambling to acquire personal protective equipment and ventilators. We just don't have enough. We do have plenty of guns, bullets and other tools to help with death. It's the equipment that promotes health and life that are in short supply. It would be advantageous to rethink our priorities.

I've been hearing about the coming pandemic since I was a child. I've watched scores of documentaries and read many books on the subject and yet I get an overwhelming urge to throw my shoe at the TV when I'm told that "we just didn't see this coming". Well it's here, and it looks like it's here until we produce a vaccine. So why not use this time to start focusing on life instead of death.

The obscene hunger of money cannot ever Trump life (pun intended). While most countries fight the virus, others are considering letting the older and immune compromised ‘take one for the team'. This cannot stand. We cannot let anyone be subject to a potentially fatal disease in order to continue to prop up an inherently evil and corrupt system. This is a wakeup call. This is a second chance. We have the chance to reevaluate what is important and what is not.

In the meantime, there is much to do. Reach out and call friends, family and neighbors, especially the elderly. Don't hoard products and food. Turn on Salt and Light to get re-energized. Watch Mass, read the missal, engage in prayer by yourself or with friends and family. During these uncertain and foreboding times, reintroducing routine prayers during dinner could be very therapeutic and beneficial. Why not restart saying Grace before Meals, before meals? Whether you like it or not, it's family time. Hold your kids and reassure them it's going to get better. Realize your work and career is a means to an end, it's not life. What we are experiencing now is.

Keep in mind our church is still there. Father Gigi still serves Mass every day privately @ 7:30 am. He still has adoration of the Blessed Sacrament from 6:00 to 7:00pm. He also wants to receive prayer intentions from our parishioners. He has asked to join him from wherever you are spiritually, staying wherever you are in silence with your personal prayer, Rosary, Divine Mercy Chaplet or Bible reading, especially Psalm 51.

We will get through this. We will be wiser and hopefully more compassionate, loving and respectful. Personally, I don't think we have a choice.



St. Norbert's Church - Toronto