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Formation Program

September 2021

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Opening Prayer

Lord, teach us to pray:
    “Our Father…”

The Reading
(To be read by the Leader)

My dear Brothers in the Lord, as I write this, (Friday Sept 03, 2021), masks are now again mandatory inside public buildings within the city of Edmonton. I am sure that you are aware, the County of Strathcona has followed suit, allowing us until September 10, to don our masks at all indoor public buildings. The exception in both situations, is when one is eating or drinking. Though other jurisdictions have not followed this lead yet, I feel safe writing in specifics because I am sure we will all be masked up sooner or later.

Brothers, I expect that it is not so much the challenge of wearing a mask that causes us the unsettledness that many are likely feeling. We, for the most part, have become semi-comfortable with carrying a mask, asking if masks are required, and of course wearing one in public situations. I can tell you in all honesty that your “rednecked, bull collared” State Chaplain, at one time, was of the mind that I would never buy into wearing masks as a common part of my daily life. Well apparently, all things are indeed possible with God. Yes, that is an understatement. Of course, all things are possible with God, including the overcoming of foolish (I think I know better) pride. Most of us have come to know and understand that masks are an effective mode of minimizing the spread of the airborne respiratory virus that we refer to as Covid. Over the course of many months, we have come to a degree of comfort with the concept of a mask as a necessary part of our daily lives. For me, this once again amplifies just how resilient, flexible, and adaptable, our God-given bodies, minds and spirits are. We have accepted and implemented much change into our daily lives in the past eighteen months and we have adapted well. I am not sure what the long term effects of this major glitch, on the radar screen of our lives will have on humanity, but short-term we have adapted well.

My supposition is that that the reason these localized mask bylaws seem like such a downer, is that implicitly we appear to be taking a step backwards on our journey to the pre-Covid freedom that most of us simply took for granted. Well, the numbers are up, dramatically, hospitalizations are up and ICU beds are filling up. We needed to do something to stem the spread of this very challenging virus. The experts tell us that vaccination is the key overcoming this scourge we call Covid. The other side of the coin is that just because almost eighty percent of Albertans have at least one shot, this does not preclude me from spreading the virus to someone else. We know that once I am fully vaccinated, my contact with the virus will not likely result in severe outcomes for me. However,

My supposition is that that the reason these localized mask bylaws seem like such a downer, is that implicitly we appear to be taking a step backwards on our journey to the pre-Covid freedom that most of us simply took for granted. Well, the numbers are up, dramatically, hospitalizations are up and ICU beds are filling up. We needed to do something to stem the spread of this very challenging virus. The experts tell us that vaccination is the key overcoming this scourge we call Covid. The other side of the coin is that just because almost eighty percent of Albertans have at least one shot, this does not preclude me from spreading the virus to someone else. We know that once I am fully vaccinated, my contact with the virus will not likely result in severe outcomes for me. However, it does not mean I am unable to transmit the virus to others. And for those others, severe outcomes are still a very real possibility. There is a good reason that prudence is a hard fought virtue. Sometimes it is challenging to do or not do the right thing.

it does not mean I am unable to transmit the virus to others. And for those others, severe outcomes are still a very real possibility. There is a good reason that prudence is a hard fought virtue. Sometimes it is challenging to do or not do the right thing.

The Reflection
(To be read by the Leader)

During the Covid era, I did hospital visits to anoint folks who had succumbed to the Covid virus. I anointed a couple of young people whom I did not think would come out of the hospital. This is when the devastating potential of covid 19 became reality for me. Strong relatively young people (one, a Brother Knight), laying in a state of comatose helplessness. Things became very very real for me at that time, particularly because in a couple of situations, I knew the individuals personally. Yes, they both came out of the hospital, (by the grace of God and great health care), but when I visited them I did not have high hopes for their recovery. I am not an alarmist; I am a realist, and I have been at many bedsides in my time as a Catholic priest.

So Brothers, if the wisdom of the experts suggest that we need don our masks once again in order to stem the spread of this Covid virus, then so be it. We have received the gift of life from God. We need to live in awareness, not in fear and if we need to take a step back to regroup and continue moving forward, so be it. My dear Brothers, times like this require leadership. Though we may not be in full swing as Knights, as practical Catholic gentlemen we can certainly lead in our families our parish and our communities by example. I must admit, I am getting a little tired of one of the outcomes of my wearing a mask on a regular basis. Too many of my dear parishioners are telling me; “Father, I like what you have done with your face.” Yes, that was meant to be funny. Together, with our cooperation and God’s good grace, we will prevail, because:

“God’s grace is sufficient for us” (2 Cor 12, 8)

Meditation Period

(The Leader now invites the members to spend a few moments in silent reflection, as the above text is not meant to be a ready-made answer but a starter for personal reflection on the theme.)

Fraternal Sharing

(The leader now invites the members to share with their Brother Knights any relevant thoughts that came to them during the meditation period.)

Closing Prayer
(Recited by all)

Let us pray:
 “Almighty ever-living God, grant that we may always conform our will to yours and serve your majesty in sincerity of heart. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.