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COVID-19

For all those people who missed their religious services this weekend

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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.

First Nations Trapper calling for a team to support farmers, loggers, miners, and “fossil fuel people”

Community

Staying active during COVID

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Staying active during COVID

During this unprecedented time, exercise becomes even more important to help with anxiety and stress. Let’s use exercise and physical activity to help manage any overwhelming negative emotions. We can continue to be active, despite of the pandemic with a few easy changes in our lives. Here’s Jonah, a family nurse and health basics coach from the Red Deer Primary Care Network.

Red Deer Primary Care Network (RDPCN) is a partnership between Family Doctors and Alberta Health Services. Health professionals such as psychologists, social workers, nurses and pharmacists work in clinics alongside family doctors.

In addition, programs and groups are offered at the RDPCN central location. This improves access to care, health promotion, chronic disease management and coordination of care.  RDPCN is proud of the patient care offered, the effective programs it has designed and the work it does with partners in health care and the community.

Read more stories from the Red Deer Primary Care Network.

Inspired to be healthy

 

 

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COVID-19

Opposition requests Auditor General look into 900 million dollar outsourcing to WE Charity

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Last week Prime Minister Trudeau announced WE Charity was going to be hired to pay post-secondary students between $1,000 and $5,000 for volunteer work. The outsourcing of a contract of nearly a billion dollars to deliver a government program is setting off alarm bells with the Conservative Opposition.  Pierre Poilievre has responded by writing the following letter to Canada’s Auditor General.


Dear Auditor General,
WE may have a problem.

Ms. Karen Hogan
Auditor General of Canada
240 Sparks Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0G6

June 28, 2020

Dear Auditor General Hogan,

On Thursday, June 25th, the Liberal government announced they will be outsourcing the Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG), a $900 million-dollar program, to the internationally mandated WE Charity. The CSSG will pay post-secondary students and recent graduates between $1,000 and $5,000 dollars for volunteer work. Outsourcing a $900 million-dollar program designed to pay students and recent graduates for volunteer work to a third party raises justifiable concerns and a number of questions. In addition, the connections between WE Charity and the Prime Minister are well documented.

In a display of cross-partisan collaboration, the House of Commons mandated your office to conduct an audit of the government’s COVID-19 spending. Your office included the COVID-19 spending audit in its top three prioritized audits to be completed. On June 9th, the Standing Committee on Finance passed a unanimous motion (10 YEAS to 0 NAYS) calling on your office to audit all programs associated with COVID-19, and for the government to provide your office with sufficient funding to do so. During your appearance at Finance Committee on Monday, June 22nd, you stated:

“We viewed the committee’s motion as reinforcing the importance of our work and its value to parliament. We pride ourselves in supporting Parliament to the best of our abilities. Given our current resourcing and funding levels, we need to be selective when deciding on the audits that we conduct; we will not be able to audit each, and every federal program associated with Canada’s COVID-19 response.”

Auditor General, we are writing to ask your office and team of auditors to include the $900 million-dollar CSSG program and the government’s outsourcing of it to WE Charity in your final report to Parliament on the government’s pandemic spending. By outsourcing this program to a third party, the proper channels for Opposition scrutiny, the very bedrock of our parliamentary democracy, have been circumvented. Indeed, it is your office that will provide the most legitimate and transparent examination of this program.

The Trudeau government has brought forward unprecedented levels of spending and administration of programs due to COVID-19, but this does not mean that accountability, transparency and value for money should be ignored. Simply put, they can never be ignored.

Auditor General, we look forward to your response to our request to include the government’s $900 million-dollar Canada Student Service Grant, and the administration of this program to the internationally run WE Charity, in your final report to Parliament on the government’s COVID-19 spending.

Sincerely,

Hon. Pierre Poilievre, M.P.
Shadow Minister for Finance

Dan Albas, M.P.
Shadow Minister for Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion

Raquel Dancho, M.P.
Shadow Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Youth

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july, 2020

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