Letter from Fr. Keith (April 24)

Dear Parishioners and Friends of St. Dunstan’s,

Since last Sunday, we have all shared in the horror and grief of our neighbours and friends in Nova Scotia, as we collectively reel in the wake of the mass killing in Colchester County. As details slowly emerge, sadness, fear, bewilderment, anger are among the emotions we feel. We can hardly imagine that such a devastation could happen in our part of the world. Our prayer accompanies the victims’ families, the residents of the area, the RCMP, the various officials tasked with providing compassionate and effective leadership, and all whose lives were touched by the violence.

The tragedy puts our life with COVID-19 in perspective, leaving us scarcely wanting to mention it in the face of the plight of our brothers and sisters across the Strait. When the virus comes to mind, our hearts immediately turn to the struggle it adds to their pain, leaving them unable to gather to express sympathy and to offer support in the manner to which Maritimers are accustomed. Human ingenuity and good will, guided by God’s Spirit, will help them adapt and cope and live on. Signs of that are already seen.

As we’ve observed together before, the time of Easter never denies human anguish. In the midst of catastrophe, this holy Season hearkens us back to those inspired Gospel stories of women and men walking about in a daze, numbed by the unjust death of their innocent friend, unable to see anything but darkness ahead of them, and afraid they’ve been forsaken in the midst of their agony.

Think of them. Mary Magdalene, Peter, and the others on Easter Sunday; Thomas, last week; and this Sunday, the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, trying to put as much distance as they could between themselves and Calvary’s carnage. As they, our ancient faith-ancestors, came to experience resurrection in the face of destruction and death, we pray the same for those killed last week, and for all who survive them. May we continue to hold them and their communities in prayer.

Distractedly this week, we’ve continued to follow PEI’s latest public health developments. 26 cases, as I write this, with 24 of those deemed recovered. There has been more talk of a gradual easing of restrictions. Repeatedly emphasized is the caution that, while there is room for optimism in relation to the virus in our province, we must hold firm in our precautionary measures. Home, except for necessary excursions; and when out, careful observance of physical distancing. These are among the crucial ways we can all contribute to the common good, and join the world-wide effort to overcome the pandemic.

I want again to assure you of my thoughts and prayers, and to invite you to contact me if I can be of support or assistance: 902-894-3486; frkeithstdunstans@gmail.com The Knights of Columbus continue to hold out their offer to run errands if someone needs that service. To contact the Grand Knight, Don Chevarie, call 902-566-4337. Additionally, several people have offered to be in touch by telephone, if that would be helpful. They can be reached through me.

This Sunday morning, I will be taking my turn presiding at the 9 o’clock Mass at Holy Redeemer. It will be broadcast live on Eastlink, Channel 10 or 610. We plan to have it available at 10:30 am on our parish Facebook page for those who don’t have access to Eastlink, and would like to participate from home.

May blessings be upon you and yours in the week ahead. Together, while apart, we’ll pray for Nova Scotia, for all our health-care workers and those who provide us with other essential services, for those sick with COVID-19, for their families, for those who have died from the illness, for those who find it difficult to live with our present restrictions or don’t see the need for them, and for one another.

We’ll keep in touch.

Peace be with you,

Fr. Keith

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