There are some sounds you just don’t expect to hear downtown. Police and ambulance sirens intermingled with fights and screaming are commonplace, but as I passed a darkened lane, I heard the soothing sound of someone singing the 1929 chart topper, “Tiptoe through the tulips.”

Published in Robert Kinghorn

If “The Church on the Street” were a weekly contribution to The Catholic Register, then I would frequently have the wrath of the editor on my shoulders as I submit, “Walked around downtown; nothing happened. The end.” Especially in these COVID-ridden times the streets are devoid of much of the activity that unfortunately led one journalist to write-off the area as “plagued by crack addicts, drug dealers and low-rent sex trade workers.”

Published in Robert Kinghorn

We all want to be known for something. In moments of self-doubt and weakness we look back on our lives and ask ourselves, “Did my life have meaning to anyone? What will people remember me for?” Pastoral care is the ability to walk with others and to assist them in uncovering within themselves the Gospel that they have written through their lives.

Published in Robert Kinghorn

With the needs of the less fortunate exasperated in so many ways by COVID-19, volunteers with the summer Street Patrol ministry have continued providing meals to those living on the streets of downtown Toronto.

Published in Canada

Many years ago, I heard the story of a school principal in South Africa who quit his job rather than submit to the school’s apartheid policy of racial discrimination. His friends told him he was crazy, but he said, “One day I am going to meet God, and God will ask me, ‘Where are your wounds?’ If I reply that I have no wounds, God will ask me, ‘Was there nothing that was worth fighting for?’ I could not face that question.”

Published in Robert Kinghorn

At school I was told that before the advent of radio and television, the great novelists such as Charles Dickens would write their books to be read around the fireplace in the evening. In so doing they would make their chapters short enough for an evening’s read and closed with a cliff-hanger.

Published in Robert Kinghorn

I have always wondered about the names they choose for sports teams: the Vikings, the Giants, the Predators. Vicious sounding names that strike fear into the hearts of the opposition.

Published in Robert Kinghorn

Often, we do not see the softer side of people’s nature as they put up a facade of toughness and independence. This is especially true on the streets where the law of the street is, “Don’t show weakness, don’t show compassion.”

Published in Robert Kinghorn

It was a different time and a different crisis, but in the small village of Bronte, Ont., work was hard to come by in the early 1950s.

Published in Robert Kinghorn

Driving downtown, the weather forecast came on the radio: “The temperature tonight is expected to plummet to a low of minus-14 degrees with a windchill factor making it feel like minus-25. The health department has issued a warning that at these temperatures frostbite to exposed skin can occur within minutes.”

Published in Robert Kinghorn

I was driving to Nova Scotia with my wife Ria several years ago when we stopped at a garden centre. Since I cannot tell a weed from a wallflower, I hung out in the knickknack section where people can find garden signs that say things like, “I don’t remember planting this.”

Published in Robert Kinghorn

There is a sense that protection is required when we step out into the unknown darkness of life, whether it be the darkness of suffering or of a lifestyle tinged with fear and regret. Traditionally the Church has called upon the angelic hosts for such protection. 

Published in Robert Kinghorn

It was one of those nights when I was challenged by Pope Francis’ insightful observation in The Joy of the Gospel: “The Gospel tells us constantly to run the risk of a face-to-face encounter with others, with their physical presence which challenges us, with their pain and their pleas.”

Published in Register Columnists

We all have a longing for a place to call “home.” For people who spend many aimless years living on the streets, “homelessness” is more than a condition of the body, it is a condition of the soul. 

Published in Register Columnists

I have become used to the cacophony which inhabits the downtown of the city and usually treat it as background noise as I walk around. 

Published in Register Columnists
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