The Editor: I would like to connect two articles in the Oct. 14 issue of the Prairie Messenger.
Carol Glatz, in her article, “Families need homilies connecting to life,” reported that Maria Gomez, a family and life director in a parish in Dubai, said that “families need to hear homilies that connect the Gospel to the troubles and joys they experience.”
Then, Tom Saretsky, in his column, “The chaos of our lives is essential to growth,” shows just how that can be done. Who would have ever thought that in a matter as mundane as a request for a “new towel” we could find a connection between family life and the Gospel? The Gospel calls us to love in the moment, right where we find ourselves. It may be easy to love someone far removed from us but more challenging to love a parent or a sibling, sometimes for the most ordinary reasons such as a request for a new towel.
Jesus lived in the moment connecting what he and others experienced to the love of God. Jesus knew that people knew the law so repetition was not enough. Jesus connected what people knew to their experiences.
If pastors are to offer homilies which make a difference, they need to connect the dots as Jesus did. Sometimes I wonder if someone, living alone in a rectory, remembers what it was like to argue about a towel. Perhaps an alternative could be to have reflections offered by people not ordained but who are able to join the dots between the Gospel and family life.
I have heard reflections by non-ordained people and their presentations were well thought out and connected to what we experience in family and daily life. Another benefit of this could be to reinforce that pastors do not have to be all things to all people; there are gifts given by the Spirit for different purposes to different people for the benefit of the faith community. Let us employ these gifts wisely to help the faith community grow in faith. — Anthony Chezzi Sudbury, Ont.
The Editor: There is in the city of Regina an initiative referred to as “the unwanted guest.”
I wondered: why does this initiative bother me? I don’t like being scared as I walk downtown when walking to my car after Globe or a meal or walking home from work. So, I should support such an initiative, shouldn’t I? But I can’t because my internal barometer says something is wrong.
I’ve heard people discuss this initiative. It’s racism. What about the impact on people with mental illnesses and addictions? What about when winter comes? Will poverty factor in? Will it result in more people being incarcerated because they won’t have the money to pay the $250 fine that could be assessed if they break the ban that a business can impose upon them?
One night I thought how many times I’ve been told to look for Jesus in the margins. I’ve never wanted to encounter Jesus in the “unwanted.” I want to encounter the person. If I enter an encounter grounded in fear and mistrust the relationship will only result in more fear and pain. If there are “unwanted” guests in Regina, perhaps we — perhaps I — need to seek to encounter them with respect, trusting that they, like me, are just trying to live within our community the best way we know how. — Terry Hochban, Regina
The Editor: On behalf of my community, I wish to thank all those involved in initiating and organizing the Called To Serve celebration in Regina, Oct. 1.This was a truly remarkable occasion in all aspects of its preparation and production to honour women religious in Saskatchewan.
The celebration recalled the first women religious who left cultural, economic and other enviable living situations to come to this pioneer land. Over the past 155 years more than 5,500 women religious were instrumental in establishing schools, hospitals and other humanitarian programs in Saskatchewan. The celebration also acknowledged our present moment when religious communities have drastically declined.
However, the values, spirit, structures and perhaps even the cemeteries remain indicative of what has been and what endures.
I offer sincere appreciation to every individual involved. — Miriam Spenrath, OSU, Bruno Ursulines, Muenster, Sask.