April 2020 Common Good Catholic (Newsletter)
Living with Christian hope during the worst pandemic of our lives
These are strange and unsettling times. Every day we read and hear fresh news about the COVID-19 pandemic, provoking anxiety and fear. For myself, times like these make me especially thankful for the gift of faith. One of my favourite lines from Scripture is Luke 22:42, “Yet not my will, but yours be done.” We trust God will lead us through this trial and closer to Him. In these strange times, our Pope’s pastoral mastery is a constant comfort. I’m sure many of you participated in the global rosary the Holy Father led on March 19. Pope Francis once described the church as a battlefield hospital: “The thing the church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness, proximity.” The Church as healer, as hospital for the wounded, is a vision that has never felt more relevant than now.
Here at Catholic Conscience, all of you—and all Canadians—are in our prayers. This is the first edition of our new monthly e-newsletter, jam-packed with the latest updates on Catholic citizenship and the work of our community in the world. We hope it comforts you and fills you with Christian hope in these dark times. We just completed Catholic Conscience’s strategic planning process, with many new programs and events to come. But for now, like you, we await the passing of this trial. We stand with you—together in solidarity!
Matthew Marquardt & Brendan Steven
WORKS OF MERCY IN OUR COMMUNITY
SOCIETY OF ST. VINCENT DE PAUL CONTINUES SERVING THE POOR AMIDST CORONAVIRUS
For Catholics, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul is a household name—many parishes have a Vincentian conference dedicated to serving Christ by serving our most vulnerable neighbours. The primary method of Vincentian service is person-to-person contact: building community and relationship by visiting vulnerable neighbours in their homes, providing food vouchers, clothing vouchers, and other supports. With the COVID-19 pandemic those home visits have been suspended, but Vincentians continue to serve. One Toronto conference is mailing community members food vouchers. The Greater Toronto Central Council, which oversees all Vincentian conferences in the GTA, continues their special works serving many of those most vulnerable to COVID-19: the elderly, the sick, those living with disabilities, addictions, and other challenges.
We must work together as a community to protect and uplift those people Christ loved most—the most vulnerable are those he most identified with. Consider a donation to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Greater Toronto Central Council to support their work in this difficult time.
Serving in the “field hospital” with prayer and quiet service
Pope Francis once described the Church as a “field hospital” for healing wounds. That mission has never felt more apt in the era of the coronavirus pandemic. Matt and Brendan discuss what it means to love and serve our neighbour in this crisis, and how Catholic citizens must rise to this moment. In the words of Pope Francis: “Prayer and quiet service—these are our victorious weapons.”
Spiritual Resources for the COVID-19 Pandemic
Usually we will use this section to highlight upcoming events and initiatives you can participate in—but of course, all events are currently on-hold. That has included a suspension of public Masses. How can we stay connected to the life of the Church and our life as Christians, even as we remain indoors and physically distant from each other? The Archdiocese of Toronto has compiled these excellent spiritual resources for this moment, including instructions on how to receive a Spiritual Communion—click here and learn more.
We may not be praying together in church, but we are all praying together in spirit!
SERVING YOUR COMMUNITY
FRIENDLY NEIGHBOUR HOTLINE: To help vulnerable seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic
University Health Network’s OpenLab in Toronto is helping vulnerable seniors—the group most at risk during the COVID-19 pandemic—by mobilizing volunteers to deliver groceries and other household essentials. The service gives priority to seniors living in low-income housing. Since this initiative was first announced on March 13, 2020, close to 600 volunteers have stepped forward to offer assistance to the thousands of seniors living in low-income housing across the city. Together, they operate the Friendly Neighbour Hotline, a single phone number seniors living in low-income housing in Toronto can call, connected to a network of volunteers throughout the city who can help with picking up groceries and household essentials during this difficult time.
If you’re looking for a way to support your vulnerable neighbours in Toronto during this crisis, this is a great way to do it!
FROM THE HOLY FATHER
FROM THE HOLY FATHER: The Pope’s special Easter Message for social movements
“Our civilization—so competitive, so individualistic, with its frenetic rhythms of production and consumption, its extravagant luxuries, its disproportionate profits for just a few—needs to downshift, take stock and renew itself.” These are just some of the extraordinary words of Pope Francis in a special letter addressed to social movements around the world—inspiring words as the Pope calls on organizations like ours to continue our work building a more just and humane world.
“I hope that this time of danger will free us from operating on automatic pilot, shake our sleepy consciences and allow a humanist and ecological conversion that puts an end to the idolatry of money and places human life and dignity at the center.”
Click here to read more excerpts from this beautiful letter.
|Join Pope Francis for daily Mass online|
The COVID-19 crisis has brought a new and special closeness between the Pope and the global Catholic community, no matter where we live. Since the start of the pandemic and the closure of public Masses around the world, Pope Francis has begun to livestream his daily Masses from Santa Marta chapel in Vatican City. After the live stream, a video of the Mass is posted on the Vatican News website.
Click here to watch recent Masses and the latest Mass with Pope Francis—join him in praying for all of us affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
WHAT WE’RE WATCHING
Revolution of the Heart, the Dorothy Day Story
A new documentary on the life and Christian witness of Dorothy Day—the legendary American Catholic convert and political activist—is bringing new light and attention to the example of this extraordinary woman. Though American, Dorothy’s personal and public commitment to Catholic social teaching—in her own life and in her political activism—is legendary. She is a shining example of what it means to be an active Catholic citizen.
Through Dorothy Day’s journey from young, communist journalist, to her awakening as co-founder of The Catholic Worker newspaper and “houses of hospitality,” sheltering and feeding New York City’s homeless during the Great Depression, emerges a portrait of a selfless woman who followed her heart to better the lives of those less fortunate.
You can watch the entire documentary for free via PBS by clicking here.
POPE FRANCIS’ PRAYER TO MARY DURING THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC
you always shine on our path
as a sign of salvation and of hope.
We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick,
who at the cross took part in Jesus’ pain, keeping your faith firm.
You, Salvation of the Roman People,
know what we need,
and we are sure you will provide
so that, as in Cana of Galilee,
we may return to joy and to feasting
after this time of trial.
Help us, Mother of Divine Love,
to conform to the will of the Father
and to do as we are told by Jesus,
who has taken upon himself our sufferings
and carried our sorrows
to lead us, through the cross,
to the joy of the resurrection. Amen.
Under your protection, we seek refuge, Holy Mother of God. Do not disdain the entreaties of we who are in trial, but deliver us from every danger, O glorious and blessed Virgin.