Toronto, ON April 7, 2020 – I was recently reminded of the words of Saint Pope John Paul II, “We are an Easter people and Alleluia is our song.”
But, the impact of the Covid-19 crisis now adds, “best to keep it to yourselves”.
We are being challenged on whether we take our beliefs seriously, that this vale of tears is merely a passageway to the greater glory of eternal life.
The Pope’s urbi et orbi blessing was stark in its loneliness, but it was something. The message of Jesus in the boat in the raging waters was “have you so little faith?”
We need to act safely and avoid contact as an act of charity and love for our neighbours.
It is an absolute tragedy that so many doctors, nurses, and priests, have already died in Italy and Spain and elsewhere.
But, the closure of churches is depriving the faithful of the sacraments in the short term, at the most sacred time of the Christian calendar. Those in need of confession, or extreme unction, cannot access the grace of these sacraments. We are having to live with spiritual communion.
The longer-term impact may be to deprive folks of fundamental freedoms, especially given that we are only flattening the curve to avoid a medical deluge. No real improvement over the current quarantine conditions will occur without immunization, which may be a year or more away.
We have suppressed the communal aspect of our witness to the gospel.
The Triduum may provide a time for a more public witness.
Is it not possible for our closed churches to erect Easter banners that could be hung from their facades? For Eastertide we propose, Christ is Risen or He arose and appeared to many.
Perhaps for this year’s Easter Triduum, let’s take a moment to place crucifixes in the front windows of our homes, or on our front porches, if possible. It would be an outward sign of our veneration of the cross, through which we come to the glory of the resurrection. Placing a candle in those places on Easter would be a further sign of the light of Christ.
League supporters could lead the way and encourage their pastors to make a similar suggestion to their parishioners.
Let us continue to evangelize in these difficult days. There may be a need for a phone call or email to a distant relation or friend, or perhaps assisting someone in need with an Easter basket.
I think of the first bishop of Toronto, Michael Power, who rests under the altar at St. Michael’s Cathedral Basilica in Toronto. He tended to those in our city in the fever sheds during the typhus outbreak in 1847. He contracted the illness and died.
It is true that we are now more in communion with so many of our Christian brothers and sisters who are regularly denied the sacraments, owing to persecution or oppression.
A coronavirus from Wuhan has infected the world. Let us avoid becoming as oppressed as Chinese Cathoilcs in response.
Let us remember that we are citizens of that other Kingdom, the heavenly Jerusalem, and that Jesus Christ is our King, to whom we owe a greater allegiance.
In the face of these current limitations, let’s not hide our light under bushel baskets.
As Lent comes to a close this week, we appeal to any of you not financially impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, who may wish to accomplish more almsgiving by sending a donation to the CCRL by clicking here or by mailing a cheque to the CCRL at 2305 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON, M6S 1P1, or by calling the office at (416) 466-8244 or 1-844-722-CCRL.
About the CCRL
Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL) (www.ccrl.ca) assists in creating conditions within which Catholic teachings can be better understood, cooperates with other organizations in defending civil rights in Canada, and opposes defamation and discrimination against Catholics on the basis of their beliefs. The CCRL was founded in 1985 as an independent lay organization with a large nationwide membership base. The CCRL is a Canadian non-profit organization entirely supported by the generosity of its members.
To donate to the CCRL, please click here.
For further information:
Christian Domenic Elia, PhD
CCRL Executive Director