Gerry Turcotte

Gerry Turcotte

Gerry Turcotte is president of Corpus Christi and St. Mark’s Colleges in Vancouver.

For now we see only a reflection, as in a mirror.

1 Corinthians 13: 12

I had the pleasure recently of attending an international conference for Catholic post-secondary presidents, and I was inspired by the range and reach of the work we do to bring the joy of faith to the community through the critical lens of education. 

Recently, I noticed a height chart next to the exit door of my local wine shop. This isn’t the first time I’ve shopped there, but it’s the first time I’ve notice the 7-foot ruler, conspicuously glued to the door frame. 

The passing of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI on Dec. 31, 2022 marks a sad close to a tumultuous year, and the end to his life-long commitment to the Catholic Church.

Advent has always had a special importance to me, a type of monumental weight signalling what is unquestionably the most consequential moment for humanity: the arrival of Jesus. It is a time of waiting and preparation, marked by the gradual lighting of the candles on the Advent wreath.

Remembrance Day is a powerful time for many, one where we are called on to honour those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. As a long-time volunteer at Remembrance events, one of the minor, and comical, issues I have dealt with is the disappearing poppy.

If a change is as good as a holiday, then I have been on vacation lately, big time. After deciding to retire as president of a university, I found myself called back to the role in a different city and context. Not as big a change as when I left Australia to return to Canada, but still different.

I have indulged in a passion for puns throughout my career. Despite feeling gleeful about this on one level, I also remember an army of English literature professors intoning that puns were the lowest form of wit. While there are legions of people who deeply oppose puns on principle, there is an equally vast array of fans that believe in them at all costs.

There is a wonderful cartoon that shows a driving instructor testing his young charge.

The Vatican Museums comprise 54 galleries of which the Sistine Chapel is undoubtedly the most famous. They exhibit more than 20,000 significant pieces of art, a mere fraction of the works in the collection of over 70,000. These include sculptures, paintings, maps and more, with the pièce de resistance being Michelangelo’s Volta della Cappella Sistina, a High Renaissance art masterpiece painted in only four years by the 33-year-old prodigy.

At a recent convocation ceremony, I closed my commencement address with a reference to one of my favourite stories: that of the famed astronomer Harlow Shapley and his discovery that Argon atoms, which make up one per cent of our atmosphere, never fade. They recirculate indefinitely.

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