Mary Marrocco

Mary Marrocco

Dr. Mary Marrocco is an associate secretary for the Canadian Council of Churches. She is also a teacher, writer and lay pastoral worker. Her column, Questioning Faith, features topics about the teachings of our church, scriptures, the lives and writings of the saints and spiritual writers and theologians. She can be reached at marrocco7@sympatico.ca.

At a conference I attended in Belgium, people around the dinner table got talking about the different countries they were from, and the characteristic spirit of each nation.

Once, across a crowded meeting room, I recognized a face. Our eyes locked. Weeks earlier, this person and I had attended the same retreat. We both knew we needed to steal away and talk, as soon as possible.

When the opportunity came, each of us took it immediately. We found a quiet place. We talked as though we’d known each other for years. “I had to speak to you,” said my new old friend. “I feel as though we met in Narnia, and back here in the regular world I have to touch you to know it was real.” I understood instantly.  

Even the daily trip home from work can be an adventure. One wintry night, I stood on a jam-packed city bus impatiently tracking its slow progress up a crammed street. We finally came in sight of the station. And there we stopped. Stuck. Inexplicably, the bus glued itself in place while minutes passed.

“You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified. He has been raised. He is not here” Mark 16:6 (Gospel of the Easter Vigil).

At a concert put on by friends, a song brought me back to another time and place, as only songs can do: "This land is parching, this land is burning. O healing river, send down your waters."

January 29, 2015

Why we bother with Lent

How do you climb a sheer rock face, 900 metres tall (that’s almost two CN Towers), with one difficult section stacked on another all the way up? Why would you climb it? And with whom?

A few weeks ago, I attended a special prayer service. Led by two bishops (one anglophone, one francophone), it gathered Church dignitaries to celebrate an anniversary. The service was surprisingly moving: a remarkable result at the commemoration of a Church document not so many of us, even within the Church, have ever heard of. The two bishops, and three other Church leaders, reflected on passages from Ephesians and John.

“Let’s go to Bethlehem,” we students agreed with one another. We were enrolled in a summer course in Jerusalem, through a program called Bat Kol which the Sisters of Sion generously invited me to attend. The final free Saturday was approaching. We wanted to make the trip before returning home.

My sister and I used to get season’s tickets to the ballet. They brought colour, beauty and music to long winters, and gave us an opportunity to visit. They also took us to performances we wouldn’t normally select, which is how we ended up at a performance of Swan Lake. We had tickets, so we went.

Why is everybody always rushing?