“Some people are starving around the world,” I used to say to myself, when an unfinished meal was thrown away. In the couple times I let this comment slip to other friends, the response was usually the same.
“It’s not like I can send them my food,” or “It’s my meal, I can do what I want with it,” both of which are valid points.
One of the hardest things about moving to a small town is integrating into the community. After my last column was published, I was offered a job in northeastern Alberta and found myself moving to the town of St. Paul. It’s the centre of the diocese and at approximately 6,000 people it’s the smallest municipality I’ve ever called home.
I recently attended a men’s retreat and got three surprises. First surprise, a men’s and women’s retreat were happening at the same venue. Second, no one would be allowed to talk because it was a silent retreat. (Okay, participants were allowed to talk but only during the talks and during Mass.) The third surprise, and most important, is what I learned about masculinity and the role that men play in the Church. We also learned about what it means to be a “husband to the Church.”
This week wraps up election week for the University of Waterloo’s Federation of Students, or FEDs, as we call it. It’s been a busy two weeks of smiling, shaking hands, social media campaigns and general lack of sleep for the candidates. I can’t help but wonder if any of it is appreciated, or even noticed, by the majority of students on campus.
A journalist once yelled at me for being black and not knowing the name “Jim Crow.” At the time I was a young university student in Toronto. I did know about American history and the deep-seeded racial segregation in the United States. And yes, I should have known that the laws that supported this anti-black culture were referred to as “Jim Crow,” but I should have known this as a North American resident and not only because of my skin colour.
I was thrilled to hear that my university’s office of campus ministry was hosting a “100-mile meal” potluck, preparing a meal made with ingredients found within 160 kilometres of my home. By eating locally we become proactive agents of change. We support our local farmers and our economy.
When temperatures dropped to -12 degrees Celsius in early January, a homeless man dressed only in a t-shirt and jeans was stuck on the cold streets of downtown Toronto. Vulnerable to the freezing temperature and bitter winds, he sought protection in a bus shelter.
Four years ago, a priest gave a homily that has stuck in my mind ever since: “God loves you and there is nothing you can do about it.” He continued to say that there wasn’t a single thing a person could do, nor was there a single thing about a person that would make God stop loving that person — not his or her gender, race or sexual orientation.