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.

“Change is good!” So proclaimed a brightly smiling instructor to her dismayed class, who’d just learned their school was being moved to a different corner of the city. Somehow it didn’t feel quite as good as the neon smile and cheery voice pronounced it should.

The richness of a gentle August day was all round. A drive in the countryside featured lush fields ready or almost ready for harvest, with merry little breezes riffling through. Such a day will always make me think of Margaret O’Gara, for I heard the news of her Aug. 16 death during that country drive in 2012.

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.