The greatest act of solidarity in the history of the world?

May 2020 Common Good Catholic (Newsletter)

Coming closer to God, our Christian community, and to the Canadians we serve – even as we remain apart Dear friends,

We hope you and your families are safe and healthy as we continue our lockdown in the face of coronavirus. This has been a strange time for all of us. It’s been defined by so much fear—for our own health, the health of our loved ones, and the health of our wider society. And of course, for so many, those fears have been cruelly realized. Too many have died from this terrible disease and too many loved ones have been lost. We pray for all of those who have suffered loss at this time.

At the same time, we remain hopeful for the future of Canada and our fellow Canadians because we’re seeing extraordinary solidarity within our communities. Beyond this, so many are growing closer to God in this time. We hear from so many friends and family that there is more praying, more spiritual thinking, more striving to understand God’s purposes for us. And of course, even as we are isolating, we continue to serve our neighbours—donating our time and money, offering hot meals, comforting the sick and afflicted, and more. We at Catholic Conscience continue our program planning for 2020. We’re excited to bring you new programs and events once this crisis passes—all aimed at our mission of forming Common Good Catholics rooted in Catholic social teaching, to serve Canadians in politics and civic life.

We hope you enjoy this edition of the Common Good Catholic, rich with stories of hope and Christian love in dangerous times. May they remind you that even as we remain physically isolated from one another, our collective love for neighbour has never been stronger. We hope you find your own way to express that love through concrete acts of service. Read below for just some ways you can give of yourself!

With love,
Matthew Marquardt & Brendan Steven

WORKS OF MERCY IN OUR COMMUNITY

HOMELESS PEOPLE ARE AT A GREATER RISK OF COVID-19. LUCKILY, THERE’S A GOOD SHEPHERD.
 
On the streets of Toronto, Good Shepherd Ministries is a comforting name. A Catholic agency, the Good Shepherd provides hot meals, clean clothes, a clean bed, and more for homeless people living in Toronto. Good Shepherd brings together volunteers, donors, religious, and others to bring dignity and love to those living on the streets. In the words of their Executive Director, Brother David Lynch, “Homelessness isn’t my problem. It isn’t your problem. It isn’t the government’s problem. It isn’t the faith community’s problem. Homelessness is our problem. Only when we work together can we make a difference.” Let’s work together with them, now when our neighbours need us more than ever before.
 
Read more about Good Shepherd Ministries on the Archdiocese of Toronto’s blog by clicking here. And click here to donate to Good Shepherd Ministries and support their work during COVID-19—let’s stand with the most vulnerable among us and see Christ in every person!

CONSCIENCE CONVERSATIONS

CONSCIENCE CONVERSATION: The greatest act of solidarity in the history of the world

In this edition of our Conscience Conversations, Matt and Brendan reflect on the everyday heroism and holiness of ordinary people in the time of COVID-19— “A holiness found in our next-door neighbours, those who, living in our midst, reflect God’s presence.”

“In this moment of agony I can’t help but see God’s reflection in all those around me and across the country, Christian and irreligious alike. I see it in every kindness and small act of service. And I see how these little actions, compelled by the Holy Spirit, are together moving mountains of holiness in the world. An enormous plurality of humanity is locked indoors together. Is this the greatest single act of solidarity in the history of the world? Billions of people huddled inside, to prevent the transmission of a virus which destroys the life of the most vulnerable among us? I can’t help but see the holiness in that. I can’t help but drink up its implications.”

Read the full conversation by clicking here.

UPCOMING EVENTS

GLOBAL CATHOLIC CLIMATE MOVEMENT: #LiveLaudatoSi Learning Webinar on Women of Faith & Ecoleaders
 
Our friends at Global Catholic Climate Movement are hosting a webinar with two women of faith leading the way in building an integral human ecology and sustainable future for the world. This webinar is a part of Laudato Si Week, an excellent time to reflect on the crisis of climate change and how we can collectively build an economy and culture which promotes the full, authentic development of the human person, closely connected to God’s creation, as Pope Francis called for in his ground-breaking Laudato Si exhortation.
 
Click here to RSVP!

SERVING YOUR COMMUNITY

Join the COVID-19 Volunteer Response Team

Volunteer Toronto—Canada’s largest volunteer centre, connecting volunteers to the organizations that need them—has been organizing a special volunteer response team for COVID-19. They periodically send email updates to subscribers, sharing volunteer roles to help play a part in serving those most affected by the crisis. Sign-up if you’re still looking for ways to help your community get through this struggle.

Click here to sign-up.

FROM THE HOLY FATHER

Photo of Pope Francis
FROM THE HOLY FATHER: Pope Francis says pandemic can be a “place of conversion”
 
In a rare English-language interview for The Tablet in April, Pope Francis reflected on the coronavirus crisis and the personal and societal changes he hopes to see after the crisis ends:
 
“You ask me about conversion. Every crisis contains both danger and opportunity: the opportunity to move out from the danger. Today I believe we have to slow down our rate of production and consumption (Laudato Si’, 191) and to learn to understand and contemplate the natural world. We need to reconnect with our real surroundings. This is the opportunity for conversion.

“Yes, I see early signs of an economy that is less liquid, more human. But let us not lose our memory once all this is past, let us not file it away and go back to where we were. This is the time to take the decisive step, to move from using and misusing nature to contemplating it. We have lost the contemplative dimension; we have to get it back at this time.

“And speaking of contemplation, I’d like to dwell on one point. This is the moment to see the poor. Jesus says we will have the poor with us always, and it’s true. They are a reality we cannot deny. But the poor are hidden, because poverty is bashful.”

 
Click here to read the full interview.
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

WHAT WE’RE WATCHING: Cardinal Collins’ reflection for Catholic Education Week

In the parish, the home, and the school, we are blessed in Ontario to enjoy world-class Catholic education across our province. This education grounds us in our faith, our Gospel values, and it’s where the mission of forming Common Good Catholics begins—for the good of us all. We greatly enjoyed last week’s reflection on Catholic education by Cardinal Thomas Collins, as Ontarians celebrated Catholic Education Week.

“That’s what Catholic education is all about: It lifts us beyond ourselves, and sends us out to serve our neighbour, and in doing that, to serve our Lord God.”

Watch the full reflection by clicking here.

To learn more about Catholic education in our province, follow Catholic Education in Ontario on Facebook by clicking here.

PRAYER

THE PRAYER OF SAINT FRANCIS
 
Pray for all of those who live burdened by the injustice of racism, and those whose lives have been harmed by the social upheaval across North America. Keep them all in your hearts.
 
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
Where there is offence, let me bring pardon.
Where there is discord, let me bring union.
Where there is error, let me bring truth.
Where there is doubt, let me bring faith.
Where there is despair, let me bring hope.
Where there is darkness, let me bring your light.
Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.
O Master, let me not seek as much
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love,
for it is in giving that one receives,
it is in self-forgetting that one finds,
it is in pardoning that one is pardoned,
it is in dying that one is raised to eternal life.

At the end of April, our Holy Father wrote and shared two new prayers with the Catholic faithful, both aimed at bringing a swift end to the coronavirus crisis. Please join the Catholic community all around the world in praying these words with our Pope.

First Prayer to Our Lady

O Mary,
You shine continuously on our journey
as a sign of salvation and hope.
We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick,
who, at the foot of the cross,
were united with Jesus’ suffering,
and persevered in your faith.
“Protectress of the Roman people”,
you know our needs,
and we know that you will provide,
so that, as at Cana in Galilee,
joy and celebration may return
after this time of trial.
Help us, Mother of Divine Love,
to conform ourselves to the will of the Father
and to do what Jesus tells us.
For he took upon himself our suffering,
and burdened himself with our sorrows
to bring us, through the cross,
to the joy of the Resurrection.
Amen.

We fly to your protection,
O Holy Mother of God;
Do not despise our petitions
in our necessities,
but deliver us always
from every danger,
O Glorious and Blessed Virgin.

The second Prayer

“We fly to your protection, O Holy Mother of God”.
In the present tragic situation, when the whole world is prey to suffering and anxiety, we fly to you, Mother of God and our Mother, and seek refuge under your protection.

Virgin Mary, turn your merciful eyes towards us amid this coronavirus pandemic. Comfort those who are distraught and mourn their loved ones who have died, and at times are buried in a way that grieves them deeply. Be close to those who are concerned for their loved ones who are sick and who, in order to prevent the spread of the disease, cannot be close to them. Fill with hope those who are troubled by the uncertainty of the future and the consequences for the economy and employment.

Mother of God and our Mother, pray for us to God, the Father of mercies, that this great suffering may end and that hope and peace may dawn anew. Plead with your divine Son, as you did at Cana, so that the families of the sick and the victims be comforted, and their hearts be opened to confidence and trust.

Protect those doctors, nurses, health workers and volunteers who are on the frontline of this emergency, and are risking their lives to save others. Support their heroic effort and grant them strength, generosity and continued health.

Be close to those who assist the sick night and day, and to priests who, in their pastoral concern and fidelity to the Gospel, are trying to help and support everyone.

Blessed Virgin, illumine the minds of men and women engaged in scientific research, that they may find effective solutions to overcome this virus.

Support national leaders, that with wisdom, solicitude and generosity they may come to the aid of those lacking the basic necessities of life and may devise social and economic solutions inspired by farsightedness and solidarity.

Mary Most Holy, stir our consciences, so that the enormous funds invested in developing and stockpiling arms will instead be spent on promoting effective research on how to prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future.

Beloved Mother, help us realize that we are all members of one great family and to recognize the bond that unites us, so that, in a spirit of fraternity and solidarity, we can help to alleviate countless situations of poverty and need. Make us strong in faith, persevering in service, constant in prayer.

Mary, Consolation of the afflicted, embrace all your children in distress and pray that God will stretch out his all-powerful hand and free us from this terrible pandemic, so that life can serenely resume its normal course.

To you, who shine on our journey as a sign of salvation and hope, do we entrust ourselves, O Clement, O Loving, O Sweet Virgin Mary. Amen.

THE PRAYER OF SAINT FRANCIS
 
Pray for all of those who live burdened by the injustice of racism, and those whose lives have been harmed by the social upheaval across North America. Keep them all in your hearts.
 
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
Where there is offence, let me bring pardon.
Where there is discord, let me bring union.
Where there is error, let me bring truth.
Where there is doubt, let me bring faith.
Where there is despair, let me bring hope.
Where there is darkness, let me bring your light.
Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.
O Master, let me not seek as much
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love,
for it is in giving that one receives,
it is in self-forgetting that one finds,
it is in pardoning that one is pardoned,
it is in dying that one is raised to eternal life.

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