Luke Stocking

Luke Stocking

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

I was recently inspired by Venezuelan goalkeeper Wuilker Faríñez. My jaw dropped as he saved shot after shot in a 0-0 draw against heavily favoured Colombia in the COPA America football tournament, currently being played in Brazil.

“When something grows, it gets bigger, but when it develops, it gets different.” These are the words of ecological economist Herman Daly.

“Paid Sick Days.” This phrase keeps showing up in my social media and news feeds. Mostly it comes from Catholic social justice and labour union friends as well as from my local MPP (a member of the New Democratic Party). The Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association has been calling for paid sick days in Ontario for some time as part of their COVID-19 advocacy. As far as I can see, they are the only significant Catholic institution that has been doing so. Does our Catholic faith support this position? Absolutely.

“You say you care about the poor … then tell me, what are their names?”

I come like a beggar with a gift in my hand. These are the opening lyrics to a song by Sydney Carter that I learned as part of the Toronto Catholic Worker community many years ago. As we enter the season of Lent and its call to prayer, fasting and almsgiving, I find myself quietly singing it to myself. The song continues, “By the hungry I will feed you, by the poor I’ll make you rich, by the broken I will mend you, tell me which one is which.”

Over my 14 years working at Development and Peace – Caritas Canada I have given a countless number of public presentations and workshops on our mission. This has involved sharing story after story of the violence, poverty and injustice of our broken world. Of all the questions people have asked me, there is one that arises again and again: “How do you stay hopeful?”

Some years ago, our priest opened his Advent sermon with some observations about how early our Western society begins to market Christmas to us.

The pandemic has led to a resurgence in the tradition of family board games, including one called Pandemic. My own family has favoured a word association game called Codenames. There is another game on our shelf though that I find myself thinking about these days — Monopoly. 

In a recent interview with Global News, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that his government will put forward an “ambitious agenda” for a green recovery. “We know the world is going towards lower carbon,” he said. It appears that he is willing to stake the fate of his minority government on such an agenda.

The killing of George Floyd by a police officer and the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement to end white supremacy and systemic racism led me to reflect on an early memory I have from my journey of work towards being an anti-racist Catholic.

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