Luke Stocking

Luke Stocking

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

When I was 18 years old, we had a Stocking Family reunion in England. It was the first time I met many of my numerous relatives. My father is one of eleven children, spread throughout England, the U.S., and Canada. That was the last time all of them were together in person. Gathered with them were approximately one hundred of their direct descendants. It was a very formative experience for me as a young man. I was recently reading a journal entry I wrote shortly after the reunion ended,

Throughout the month of May, we have been responding to the call from Palestinian Christians to pray and walk in solidarity with them by making a “Ceasefire Pilgrimage” for peace. The idea is that people walk 42 km, either on their own or in combination with others, the distance it takes to traverse the entire length of Gaza. It is an ecumenical effort coordinated in Canada by KAIROS.

This column is a thank-you to 52,629 people — everyone who signed our Stand for the Land campaign letter to the Honduran Ambassador to Canada.  The letter draws the attention of the Government of Honduras to the struggles of people in Guapinol and the San Pedro sector. Since 2015, these communities have been protesting an open-pit iron mine that was irregularly set up in Carlos Escaleras National Park. Their struggle has come at great cost. Community members have been unjustly detained and three have even been murdered. 

We who celebrate Easter are those who have died and risen with our Lord.

The reality of life-giving sacrificial love is at the core of our 2,000-plus year existence as the community of believers. How we are called to live this existence together has been a matter of reflection from the very beginning. The first fruits of this reflection are famously captured in Acts of the Apostles, “Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned they held in common” (4:32).

Fr. Michel Cote is a voice for those seeking to be understood — literally. He is a Dominican Friar who has worked for decades as an interpreter. His small business has served virtually every multi-lingual Catholic entity in our country, from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops to my own beloved Development & Peace - Caritas Canada. In his great service, it is likely that no other single person in this country has done more to help Catholics understand one another. Global Solidarity is near and dear to his heart. To us he is more than an interpreter, he is our beloved friend and spiritual elder. A humble man, he would balk at the idea of me writing a column about him. So instead of enumerating his many accomplishments, I would like to share the spiritual invitation that I have received from him in the form of a short Lenten reflection.

Each night when I was growing up, my mother would do “prayers & lullabies” with us. One prayer was to recite a simple passage from Scripture. I am quoting my “prayer-memory” here and not the actual Scripture:

The Christmas season is a time of rest for me. To clarify, I mean the Christmas season as we celebrate it in the Catholic Church, from Midnight Mass through to the baptism of the Lord.

Advent is the time of waiting and preparation for the coming of Jesus. This Avent I await the Prince of Peace. I roll the words over my tongue and in my mind daily — the Prince of Peace. How we long for you in these days! 

Misericordia! I feel this word as a deep cry from my soul in response to these troubled times of unspeakable horror.

Pope Francis in addressing the National Confederation of the ‘Misericordie’ of Italy said, “This word misericordia — mercy — is a Latin word whose etymological meaning is ‘miseris cor dare,’ to ‘give the heart to the wretched,’ those in need, those who are suffering.”

We are last to push off from the shore into Oxbow Lake. I am in a canoe with Steph and Ava, two high school students from the Toronto Catholic District School Board. Ahead of us are 30 other TCDSB students ranging from Grades 10-12. For many of them it is their first time paddling a canoe. We are bringing up the rear to ensure no one goes astray. Leading the pack at the front is Greg Rogers, founder of this week-long Catholic Leadership program at Camp Olympia near Huntsville, Ont. He is taking us all to see Jesus.

Page 1 of 6