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

Have you ever had an experience in your life and you are not sure if you dreamt it or lived it? Mine goes back at least 50 years and it is as vivid today as if it happened yesterday.

It was the walk that first attracted my attention. Not so much a walk as a hobble, dragging one leg painfully after the other. Dusk had descended on the streets and the chill of winter had finally given way to the promise of spring, although it was still far too cold for the many people scattered around the neighbouring homeless shelters.

Despite the promise of spring in the air, the day had turned windy and blustery, cutting sharply through the heavy jacket I reserve for evenings such as these on the street.

In many ways, gratitude is the basis of love.

One of my favourite authors is George Mackay Brown, who rarely left his native Orkney, a remote island off the coast of Scotland.

A few weeks ago, I was on an intimate online call with one of our political leaders. Well, when I say it was an intimate call, it was intimate in the way a private audience with the Pope is intimate, namely there were as many people on the call as the bandwidth could support.

By Christmas Eve the Advent wreath is aglow with the candles of love, hope, joy and peace, and we await the lighting of the White Candle which signifies the coming of Jesus into our world and into our lives. We pray again that this presence will become a reality which we can sense and touch, but for many it becomes an elusive dream that vanishes when they awaken from their restless sleep.

It’s a simple action, almost involuntary, and we seldom give it another thought. We are asked to dip into our deep pockets as we sit in the pews, and to spare some money for the less fortunate at Christmas.

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.”

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.”

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