Letter: Catholic priest adapts to pandemic reality

To the Editor:

Amid the dark days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Thompsonites have been dealing with fear, uncertainty, loss of work and income, loneliness and doubt in a world unimaginably turned upside down. In all the chaos we turn to our faith but find we are unable to gather in our churches. 

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Our beloved priest Father Guna of St. Lawrence Roman Catholic Church, who comes from India, a country where people adapt to adversity with creative solutions, can often be heard saying, “Everything is possible!” If you were to visit India, you would understand why he says this mantra. With this same creativity, Father Guna has made it possible for his parishioners to gather together in spirit by doing live telecasted Sunday masses and posting them on the St. Lawrence Facebook page all through the Easter season, including our most cherished Holy Week. By offering prayers and distributing holy water, he encourages us to pray in our own homes and place our fears in God’s hands.

On Palm Sunday, he did a special blessing of the palms by having his parishioners gather in the parking lot of St. Lawrence, blessing the palms while people remained inside their own vehicles. Father Guna has given us a continuity of practising our faith in an ever-changing world.

For his own love and concern for the community of Thompson, on Easter Monday he did a blessing of the four directions and coronavirus protection prayer in the north, south, east and west locations in the City of Thompson. Father Guna has had to adapt a funeral mass by having it video recorded and sent to a family who were unable to attend due to the physical distancing rules. Also, he has encountered several checkpoint stops en route to do a funeral mass in the community of Cross Lake. Even though the pandemic has changed how we do things, he continues to find ways to support the community in this crisis and bring a message of hope, rising to the challenge of spreading the Good News in these most troubled times.

Reaching out to all Thompsonites by radio and video, he sends a special message. Father Guna reminds us to look out for one another, love our neighbour, and in time we will overcome this. He encourages us to pray for a fast end to this pandemic.

Lisa Larocque


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