Robert Kinghorn

Robert Kinghorn

Robert Kinghorn is a deacon of the Archdiocese of Toronto.

You can read his column, "The Church on the Street" in The Catholic Register.

You can contact him at robert.kinghorn@ekinghorn.com

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.”

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.”

As I write this it is the feast of the Holy Innocents (Dec. 28), the memorial day for children who endured the wrath of King Herod as he set out to ensure that the Light of the World would never be allowed to shine in the darkness of his kingdom. As it was 2,000 years ago, so it often is today. 

I’m sitting in the shadow of a Christmas tree weighed down with lights and finery, while a stuffed teddy bear with a beguiling smile sits patiently at the base watching me through button eyes. It could be one of countless Christmas trees anywhere in the world, but this one holds special meaning for myself and the young lady sitting next to me. 

Jesus said that we are called to be the light of the world and the salt of the Earth. But to be honest, some evenings on the street I just feel lightly salted. 

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. 

There is a truth about great journalists that long after their columns have faded into the ghosts of time, their words still come back to haunt or to comfort. 

I have always wondered what the conversation between Jesus and an image consultant would be like. 

One of the great joys of the Church on the Street has been the memory of a spiritual group that used to meet at a women’s shelter. 

Contrary to what most of my professors believed, I sometimes paid attention when I was in the diaconate formation program at St. Augustine’s Seminary. Liturgically I may not have known my ambo from my elbow, but when it came to pastoral care I was totally present.

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