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

What’s the best way to wake a sleeper? Throw cold water? Tickle the feet or play loud music?

One Sunday morning in church, I wondered why the person beside me was breathing so loudly. Did he have some terrible lung ailment? Was he about to expire? It sounded almost like… snoring. 
Oxford is a beautiful town, by nature and centuries of human living.  Exploring there once with friends, we saw a memorial, arrestingly inscribed: “To the Glory of God, and in grateful commemoration of His servants, Thomas Cranmer, Nicholas Ridley, Hugh Latimer, Prelates of the Church of England, who near this spot yielded their bodies to be burned, bearing witness to the sacred truths which they had affirmed and maintained against the errors of the Church of Rome.” 
What’s the best Christmas gift you ever received?
Visiting a cousin, Joe, who lives far away, my family and I received a tour of his most unusual home. 

“The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.”

In an emergency ward, in another country, I lay on a table awaiting the physician. Lightning flashes of pain shot through my body, weak from days-long inability to take in water and food.

In a fantasy movie, two fallen angels are on a quest. As often happens with quests, violence ensues. They battle it out, angels and humans, blood and wing-feathers flying. Towards the end of the movie, when it’s too late, God wakes from a long nap and wanders in, yawning.

Brian and Adin married and lived in Canada. She was originally from the Middle East, he from the British Isles. Over the years, they had to sort out where their differences came from: from different family backgrounds, personal differences or the different nations they’d belonged to.

One day, my brother put a book in my hand. The book, a biography called Chiara Corbella Petrillo: A Witness to Joy, appealed to me. I read it into the small hours of that same night.