Mary Marrocco

Mary Marrocco

Dr. Mary Marrocco is an associate secretary for the Canadian Council of Churches. She is also a teacher, writer and lay pastoral worker. Her column, Questioning Faith, features topics about the teachings of our church, scriptures, the lives and writings of the saints and spiritual writers and theologians. She can be reached at marrocco7@sympatico.ca.

These winter days, in the “ordinary” time from Christmas to Lent, can be tough.

How difficult is human relationship! How glorious, how deeply and universally sought-after it is! Our hunger for relationship can draw out the best and the worst in us. The deepest wrestling is with one another, in relationship — be it person to person, nation to nation, or Church to Church.  

At a major-league baseball playoff game in Toronto last year, after a questionable umpiring call, disgruntled spectators started throwing beer cans onto the field of play.

Towards the end of the summer, I met my friend John for coffee. A recurring event, not nearly frequent enough, but invariably enriching to heart and mind.

On a rainy Saturday, I joined a unique gathering. In Grimsby Museum, an exhibition long in the making opened — “Sweat Equity: Grimsby Co-operative Homebuilders 1953-1956.” It documents and displays the story of 80 families who co-operatively financed and built their homes. Sixty years later, those houses still grace several lakeside blocks in this Ontario town in the Niagara Peninsula.

Walking home from the grocery store, I heard a wild cry on the street behind me. A young man had ripped open his car door, slammed it again with a thundering metallic crash, then simply stood and roared like a lion. Seeing that no one was in danger, I walked on. Another roar came, with a richly voiced four-letter epithet, and another crash-slammed door. The counterpoint of raw emotion continued for a while — door-slamming, wordless roaring, life-searing oaths. Even at a distance, I felt it. Whatever that young man was expelling into the atmosphere, something in me resonated.

On summer evenings, without intending it, one hears interesting conversations. 

It can be easy to feel lost and lonely in church; and that’s twice as lost and lonely as anywhere else.

Recently I received, on the same day, articles from three different sources. One was about the 219 girls captured by Boko Haram who are still missing. The second, about “way more” than 1,200 aboriginal Canadian women missing or murdered. And the third, about 4,472 baby girls “unaccounted for” in Canada over the past 20 years, referring to female fetuses aborted in favour of male children.

In our city, and throughout the world during this Year of Mercy, several churches have Holy Doors. They’re pilgrimage sites, just like the one at St. Peter’s in Rome, only much closer.