For every week of every year of their entire lives, billions of people around the world in some way celebrate their sabbath. Whether Saturday, or Friday, or Sunday, it’s part of the routine of life. Going to Church, or Temple, or Mosque is no different and no less important than eating and sleeping and participating in any of our passions. We just can’t really imagine life without it.
In this part of the world (Canada’s prairies) building a Church was often top of mind for European immigrants who arrived here about 100 to 150 years ago. People who literally scraped a small farm from the earth with nothing but the most rudimentary tools and their own muscles would use that same earth to create their first home in North America from sod. Their first priority was to feed their families. As soon as they could, they’d build a box out of wood, slap a window and a door on it, and call it a house. By this time there was an extremely good chance they were also spending time with their neighbours, often from the same part of the world, speaking the same language and practicing the same faith. While they personally lived in sod or poorly insulated wood huts, they’d be building something far more substantial to celebrate their faith in.
That hasn’t changed much today. Now immigrants come from all over the earth. When they arrive, one of their top priorities is to locate other people from their part of the world. They may be integrating quickly into a new language and culture and all that means, but they are deeply attracted to any links to their language and culture, and faith. So it’s not uncommon to see Mosques on the prairie or Egyptian Coptic Churches, or a Sikh Temple.
We’ve all heard of the term Freedom of Religion. It’s an important aspect of Western Society, maybe especially for all those who understand it as being Free From Religion. That’s important too. As a result, the vast majority of people who go somewhere to celebrate their faith are doing it of their own free will. They want to be there. They feel they need to be there. They have a lot of other options.
That brings me to my life today. Our family goes to a Catholic Church every Sunday. Without fail. I’m an adult and I’ve missed a couple of Sunday masses in my life, but not many. Even at the heights of my personal struggle with faith and when I’m frankly mad at God, I still go. It’s at these times, my culture, the example my parents set for me, and maybe even the stories of the saints convince me that this anger or doubt may be deep, but it will eventually pass. I don’t go to Mass because I think it’s some kind of ticket to the afterlife. I need it. Going to Mass is part of my culture, as much a part of me as the language I speak and the food I eat. It’s who I am. So when I heard Mass was cancelled this weekend, I immediately thought of my parents. My mom has never missed mass to my knowledge. I still remember the one time my dad missed mass. He couldn’t really get out of bed that day. Unless he was going to the bathroom. Then I thought of the important role of the Eucharist in the Catholic Mass. That’s a whole other discussion.
It wasn’t until I came upon this reflection from Father Emmanuel that I started to feel better, much better. I think it’s worth sharing with anyone else who is feeling out of sorts in a way we could never imagine in this lifetime in this part of the world. We cannot attend out religious service. Please enjoy these words from Father Mbah.
From Father Emmanuel Mbah
Everything Works Out Together for Good…
When I hear people complaining about the current situation of things, especially with regards to some of the precautionary measures that have been put in place due to the coronavirus pandemic, I cannot help but marvel. I have also heard some women and men of faith crying out that this is the devil’s attack on the Church, owing that churches should remain open and should not be shut down. They see the shutting down of churches as an indirect attack on the faith. Thus, I am drawn to even a deeper wonder: Is it not true that in most cases, we fail to realize the value of what we have until after we have lost it? This cuts across individuals in interpersonal relationship and corporate bodies in employer-employee relationship.
A lot of Christians before now, complain about their different churches; either the priest/pastor is not preaching well or preaching too long, or that parishioners or church members are not friendly and welcoming. Could it be that God is also offering us this time to stay home and experience what it is like not to come together as a worshipping community on the day of the Lord? So that at the end of it all, we would be wiser and more appreciative of the deposit of our faith and the communion and fellowship that we share.
As I reflect further, I also recall Joseph’s experience in the Old Testament, when the brothers out of jealousy sold him out. But at the end of the day, there was not only a happy ending and reunion but Joseph forgave his brothers and said to them, “As for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today” (Genesis 50:20). As such, I believe that everything works out together for good… (Romans 8:28). In other words, something good will come out of our current situation. It will all end in praise to the glory of God.
Stay safe and healthy- Happy Sunday!
PS. We sort of attended Mass this Sunday. We joined a few hundred other people on a Facebook live feed from a church in Kerrobert, Saskatchewan. The Priest there is in charge of four churches in four communities. Instead of performing four masses over these 24 hours in four different towns, he performed Mass in front of a video camera, all by himself. He began the virtual Mass by telling us when the church in each community was established. The youngest one was 97 years old. In all that time, not during a world war, not even during the Spanish Flu epidemic, this was the first Sunday that the people of this faith have not come together on Sunday. We’re living in very strange times. We need all the wisdom we can get. Thank you Father Emmanuel.
Ninth Albertan dies from COVID – Dr. Deena Hinshaw’s Alberta Update for March 31
From the Province of Alberta
Update 18: COVID-19 pandemic in Alberta (March 31 at 5 p.m.)
Sixty-four additional cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 754.
There is one additional death in the Calgary zone.
- Cases have been identified in all zones across the province:
- 453 cases in the Calgary zone
- 187 cases in the Edmonton zone
- 51 cases in the Central zone
- 50 cases in the North zone
- 12 cases in the South zone
- One case in a zone that is yet to be confirmed
- Of these cases, there are currently 26 people in hospital, with 11 admitted to intensive care units (ICU).
- In total, there have been 49 hospitalizations, with 17 admissions to ICUs.
- Seventy-five of the 754 cases are suspected of being community acquired.
- Seventy-seven confirmed cases involve health-care workers, including staff in continuing care facilities. We continue to refine reporting for health-care worker cases.
- There are now a total of 120 confirmed recovered cases.
- There are a total of nine deaths in Alberta – five in the Calgary zone, three in the Edmonton zone, and one in the North zone.
- Alberta Health is tracking outbreaks in the following facilities. Updates on confirmed case numbers will be provided in the April 1 update:
- Calgary zone: McKenzie Towne Long Term Care and Carewest Glenmore Park centre
- Edmonton zone: Shepherd’s Care Kensington
- Aggregate data, showing cases by age range and zone, as well as by local geographical areas, is available online at alberta.ca/covid19statistics.
- All Albertans need to work together to help prevent the spread and overcome COVID-19.
- Restrictions remain in place for close-contact businesses, dine-in restaurants and non-essential retail services. A full list of restrictions is available online.
- Albertans are prohibited from attending gatherings of more than 15 people, and they must continue to observe two metres of social distancing. This includes events both indoors and outdoors, such as family gatherings, weddings and funerals. Further details are available online.
Access to justice
The Court of Queen’s Bench will now permit counsel to submit master and justice consent orders for processing through email. More information: www.albertacourts.ca/qb/resources/announcements/processing-of-master-justice-consent-orders-by-email
Charities and non-profit organizations
Eligibility criteria for emergency funding for charities and not-for-profit organizations impacted by COVID-19 is available at https://www.alberta.ca/emergency-funding-for-charities-and-not-for-profit-organizations.aspx.
List of essential workplaces
The list of essential workplaces that can continue to operate in Alberta can be found online.
Emergency isolation supports
Emergency isolation supports are available for Albertans who are self-isolating or who are the sole caregivers for someone in self-isolation, and have no other source of income. Applicants can view eligibility criteria and apply at alberta.ca. To carefully manage the flow of applications, we are periodically closing access to MADI and the emergency isolation support. We will provide daily updates about system availability.
There is no formal deadline for emergency isolation support. This is a temporary program to bridge the gap until the Federal Emergency Care Benefit is available.
- The most important measures that Albertans can take to prevent respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, is to practise good hygiene.
- This includes cleaning your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds, avoiding touching your face, coughing or sneezing into your elbow or sleeve, disposing of tissues appropriately.
- Anyone who has health concerns or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should complete an online COVID-19 self-assessment.
- For recommendations on protecting yourself and your community, visit alberta.ca/COVID19.
#RedDeerStrong – If you’re struggling and you need to consolidate debt through a mortgage refinance, Kristen is here for you.
What does your business do?
I’m a Mortgage Broker. I am able to help you and your family with:
-New home purchases
-Negotiating your mortgage at renewal
-Reverse mortgages (Age 55+)
-Investment property financing
-Vacation properties & 2nd homes
-Alternative lending options & more
How has COVID-19 affected you?
In many ways, its still too early to say exactly how my business will be affected. In the last couple of weeks since we’ve gone into serious isolation mode, many of my customer’s jobs have been affected. Many have either been laid off, or had their hours reduced. My husband has also lost his job. As you can imagine, uncertainty around income and employment, can really throw a wrench into finalizing your mortgage.
Many people have put off their plans to buy a home this year, even if they are still working, simply because they’re scared. If you’re one of those people, I don’t blame you one bit! Some people who have been thinking about refinancing or renewing early, have been frantically trying to close their new mortgage, before their employment is potentially affected.
What are you doing to adapt?
I have always conducted a lot of my business over the phone, as well as through text and e-mail. Before Covid-19, I was having face-to-face meetings about 30% of the time, which I’ve had to discontinue for the time being.
I’ve always tried to be more of a support or a teacher to potential customers, so I have really been focusing more on that lately. I’m here for you!
What kind of help do you need?
My business thrives on positive word of mouth and referrals from friends, family, and happy customers! If you hear of someone who is still planning to purchase a home, needs mortgage advice for an upcoming renewal, or needs to consolidate some debt through a mortgage refinance, I would be honoured to help.
What do you want the community to know?
I’m here to help you! If you have been struggling financially up to this point, a catastrophic event can leave you feeling incredibly stressed and anxious. If there is something that I can do to help you, let me know. I’m always more than happy to provide you with advice and resources, even if I can’t help you with your mortgage.
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