Deacon Pedro Guevara-Mann, the Salt & Light Canadian Catholic TV producer’s talk with Gérald Lacroix, Archbishop of Québec, one of the IEC guest speakers.
Cardinal Gérald Lacroix is serving as head of the Archdiocese of Québec, which involves about one million of Catholics, and is grouped in 38 parishes. Half of the diocese lives in cities, while the others reside in more remote areas, scattered over vast distances for several hours of driving from each other. In the recent months both Québec City, and the province of Québec itself were hit very hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. In terms of the virus, close to half of the contaminations were detected in these remote areas, the hardest hit particularly affected the island-city of Montreal, the most populous territory in the province. As everywhere at all corners of the world, mainly elderly people have passed away from virus.
Community and faith
The East-Canadian Catholics had to give up many events of major importance. In the diocese of Québec there were 650 marriages scheduled for the current year, but most of the couples have decided to postpone it until the next year. Funerals also have been delayed. Many, in line of their First Communion should wait another year to meet the Holy Eucharist.
As for the tremendous potentials the modern era’s tools ensure, Lacroix said: „I was fascinated by the amazing creativity of our diocese and elsewhere around. Our pastoral teams have found and developed a whole new way to get in touch with their parish members. I happily noted how they tried to reach out for their people by the help of various smart phone applications to celebrate the common faith and to share the joy of the gospel.”
Along with the temporary advantages of the intelligent devices, the Archbishop highlighted the invaluable personal relations: „Surely, this virtual world is very interesting, and is giving us lots of opportunities, still I do not think we want to live like forever. Never would all of these technical staff replace the personal meetings and celebrations.”
[…] „We were not born to live on an isolated way. We were made
to live in community, and to celebrate our faith together as a
family. Christianity is a family faith that brings us together, and
where we have to take care of each other.”
- said the Cardinal.
Preach the gospel!
Cardinal Laxroix made a further important remark in terms of the quarantine: “Never before have we needed so strongly the strengthening of the so called home churches, better say the family bonds. Many families suffered a lot from the confinement, being extremely difficult for them, since they were not used to live closed in together, father, mother, kids in the same house for 2-3 months.
As to the Cardinal, lonely, elderly people were suffering the most during this quarantine period: “For me that has been quite a shock to hear in the media that 90 % of people living in long term care homes for the elderly do not receive any visits. This is not admissible for us, Christians. We need to reach out with a helping hand for them, while finding a way for a better care of them. This was like a wake-up call for us, to serve as a missionary church from now onwards.”
Regarding the mission of the Catholic Church he noted: “The missionary aspect is top priority, we have to take care of people not only inside our walls, but outside as well. It’s time to stop just talking about the importance and urgency of the matter, but rather we should go out to meet people and to preach the gospel.”
The world is waiting
In response to Pedro’s question, whether this unprecedented hard times have strengthened our faith, the Archbishop noted: “This crisis is the time of opportunities. […] In time of crisis, we can definitely grow in our faith just as much as we can do so along positive events, should we recognise how to pass through it.”
As for the challenges, Lacroix referred to the Acts of the Apostles, wherein we could get information on the missionaries’ struggling work. The Apostles had to face serious difficulties, still –true to their vocation- they shared the joy of the gospel, thus Christianity spread and new communities were born.
The Archbishop learned with sadness, that Canada, as well as the entire world is less and less devout. Thus, there is a tremendous need “for opening the doors, the windows and going out to the world.”
Finally Lacroix was contrasting the potentials of the crisis and his own, private and personal challenge he had faced recently. As a consequence of his overweight, this January he had to go through a gastric surgery, which was followed by a very strict 3 months recovery period. The Church Leader has been forced into a complete lifestyle change with a brand new type of diet. Currently he can serve Lord in a far better health condition: “Although this surgery and the health problem meant a crisis in my life, at the same time it was a fantastic opportunity! By now I feel great, I have lost a few kilos and I’m healthier.”
Source: Salt and Light Media/YouTube