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Editorial: Our hope for 2021

  • December 23, 2020

There is always something a little magical that happens as the calendar turns to Jan. 1. It’s like a giant eraser appears and wipes our slate clean, throwing off the dust of all that marred the previous 12 months. It’s a new year, a fresh start, a new dawn, another shot, a blank sheet.

Logic tells us that seeing the hands of the clock move from midnight to 12:01 really doesn’t change anything, but it can change our attitude, which admittedly has taken a rather savage beating in 2020.

This was the year of the pandemic, casting a giant shadow of sickness and death over the planet. We cannot forget, either, the impact of events like the tragic mass shooting in Nova Scotia, the despicable acts born of systemic racism, the demoralizing revelations of abuse by Jean Vanier, the continuing erosion of the value of human life or the devastating reports of the Church’s mismanagement in the abuse cases of Theodore McCarrick and former Montreal priest Brian Boucher.

Were there moments to celebrate this year? Certainly. The pandemic, in spite of all its horror, brought out some very real acts of heroism, kindness and charity. The best in us shone.

For all our human frailties, Christmas is the season of hope, when the birth of Jesus and His everlasting promise gives us strength. It is in that spirit we approach 2021 anew, with prayers of hope:

  • We hope for peace and aid in countries where humanitarian crises are an everyday reality — Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Congo, Yemen, to name but a few.
  • We hope for an end to discrimination of all kinds, and in particular racism, which was so dramatically witnessed in the death of George Floyd.
  • We hope the forces for religious freedom stay strong in the face of an increasingly aggressive secularism.
  • We hope some of our politicians fight as hard for meaningful and comprehensive palliative care as they have for opening up euthanasia laws in this country.
  • We hope the Church does not slacken its efforts in providing justice for victims of clerical sex abuse and to aid in their healing.
  • We hope for an end to the persecution of some 300 million Christians worldwide who cannot freely practise their faith.
  • We hope COVID-19 fades in its deadly force, and that the vaccine is effective in protecting our most vulnerable.
  • We hope that Catholics, having been denied the Eucharistic sacraments, are inspired to return to church with renewed faith.
  • We hope the Canadian government quickly passes and follows through on its legislation to adopt the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
  • We hope that the principles of fraternity and social friendship as laid out in Pope Francis’ encyclical Fratelli Tutti may offer a roadmap in the post-COVID world.

Finally, we hope and pray that your year may be filled with good health and blessings. Bring on 2021.

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