Luke Stocking

Luke Stocking

Stocking is Development and Peace Deputy Director of Public Awareness & Engagement, Ontario and Atlantic Regions.

I had a coronavirus earlier this year.

Not THAT coronavirus. It was just a common cold, which is one of the many types of coronaviruses out there.

Fifteen years ago, on Feb. 12, a 73-year-old nun walked along a rural road in the Amazon region of Para state in Brazil. She was followed by two men with guns — Clodoaldo Carlos Batista and Raifran das Neves Sales. Both men worked for a livestock company. They asked her if she had any weapons. In response she showed them her Bible and began to read, “Blessed are the poor in spirit ….” 

The phrase “thoughts and prayers” has become so common it has its own Wikipedia page. The page outlines in detail the use of the expression by prominent public figures in times of crisis — most notably following natural disasters or American gun violence — and also offers both a criticism and defence of this practice. 

I am holding a statuette. It came to our office from the Indigenous Missionary Council (CIMI) of Amazonas state in Brazil. It is a naked Indigenous woman with long black hair. She is kneeling. A child is visible in her red womb. 

I spent the two Sundays before election day handing out small booklets entitled “For Heaven’s Sake, Vote!” to parishioners after Mass. The booklet is a federal election guide published by Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Toronto.

Some questions for the average Catholic in the pews: Do you know what the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development is? How about the Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops? Have you ever heard of the Social Affairs Commission of the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario?

“We’ll be coming to visit from July 22 to July 30,” I told my mother-in-law, who had come to Windsor from her home across the border in Michigan to see my son play soccer. 

Graduation season is upon us. Universities, high schools, elementary schools and these days even kindergarten cohorts celebrate and move forward to places unknown to them. 

The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration gestured to the buildings surrounding us on Parliament Hill. “These are the people’s houses,” said the Honourable Ahmed Hussen. “These are your institutions — please feel free and at home.” 

“Too bad the global climate strike happened while you guys were on March break,” I teased my son.

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