In this newsletter you will find,

  • we pray,
  • a reflection from Father Charles,
  • a poem by Sandy Mudge,
  • regional reports and a community report on the Ecology Frontier,
  • a Jesuit initiative during the Covid-19 pandemic,
  • an end note
WE PRAY FOR THOSE WHO MOURN THE LOSS OF BELOVED FAMILY MEMBERS AND FRIENDS, WHO DIED IN THE NOVA SCOTIA SHOOTINGS. " Hear my prayer O Lord; let my cry come unto you. Do not hide your face from me in the day of my distress. " (Psalm 102: 1 - 2)
Christ the Sun Dancer
Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs , bestowing Life. Alleluia (Eastern rite Paschal refrain)

Dear CLC friends,   

     Easter greetings to one and all.

    We have just come through a unique kind of Lenten journey to celebrate the Feast of the Risen Christ for the next 50 days till Pentecost. The coronavirus pandemic has been an undeniable part of this year’s Lenten season. And it is still with us as we hear the Easter proclamation: Christ is risen. Alleluia. Is this just a utopian optimism to help us through this difficult time and other difficult moments of our life in this world?

      Paul, the Apostle tells us “that if Christ is not risen, our faith is in vain!” In other words, we would be foolish people living in a dream world. But the completion of the story of Jesus “loving his friends to the end” is not Jesus’ death and burial but in his bursting forth in love and joy out of the death-tomb into a whole new way of life – permeated with God’s glory and fullness. Gerard Manley Hopkins, sj said it beautifully:  now

            “Christ plays in ten thousand places,
             Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
            To the Father in the features of men’s faces.” (As Kingfishers catch fire)

       This “explosion of love and joy” in the resurrection of Jesus is the source of our hope and courage in living, according to his mind and heart, all the challenging moments of our human lives. And no less, this present Covid19 pandemic. We are all tempted to anxiety, worry, fear or discouragement for ourselves and others during this global crisis. But our faith in the Risen Jesus helps us to see through and beyond these “tombs” which keep us self-absorbed. Because he is risen and alive and with us in the gift of his Spirit, we can reach out and beyond these fears. And this is happening in so many places and with so many people – think of the many gestures of caring for others like bringing groceries to those who are confined, to gestures of gratitude for the frontline health workers, to the silent and prayer-filled waiting going on, to the 99 year old UK war veteran doing laps in his garden with a walker to help raise money for health care workers, and on and on…. These are the signs of the Risen Christ loving others through our love and joy…. Even if they don’t explicitly refer to Christ…..Love has conquered all forms of death in the Risen Christ Jesus….and continues even now in this pandemic. As one beautiful Easter song puts it:

               “When our hearts are wintry , grieving, or in pain,
                your touch can call us back to life again,
                fields of our hearts that dead and bare have been; 
                Love is come again like wheat arising green.

    Let us take courage with Christ’s love and joy to live this Easter season even in these difficult and unprecedented times.

      Your brother in the Risen Christ,
Easter Risings

At the rising of the Sun and the closing of our day,
We bear abundant gratitude for Truth…for Life…and Way!
We pause in recollection of our interactive God,
Who guides, in life and love profound, each earthly step we trod!
And bowing from the waist, we bless this God and one another,
Whose adoption has entitled us, as sister and as brother,
To look within those saving arms that reach beyond the cross,
Lighting our way; transforming each day… resurrecting total gain from loss!
And as we pause to notice the grace that freely flows,
And the healing touch that means so much, His Spirit within us brightly glows!
Miraculous moments freely merge from ancient wounds worn thin,
As once blocked heart roads open up to a newfound freedom birthing within!
And our journey home continues, while life and love endure,
In daring response to the visitor who first knocked on our door.
Salvation may be rooted upon that cross of old,
But Paschal Mystery’s lifeline lies in our personal stories, revealed and told.
Thus, Easter risings birth anew, in resurrected glory,
Refreshing the dream; baptising the earth through the clay of creation’s story!

From the heart, AMDG,
Sandy Mudge
rockies 4

During this time, when we’re asked to stay home, almost all local communities in our Rockies/BC region continued to meet using the video conferencing technology. A number of CLC members also reached out by phone calls/emails, taking turns to deliver meals to neighbors who are in need, and using creative ways to support one another. 

One beautiful story I heard is that on the birthday of Andre, who is a member of Emmaus community in Courtenay, friends and neighbors drove by to wish him a happy birthday outside of his home keeping a safe distance. He’s very happy and surprised by their kindness and creativity. Other neighbors took photos and were curious about this special scene when cars after cars driving by. It became a unique way of sharing our gifts and joy in the midst of difficult time.

April 22, 2020 will mark 50 years of Earth Day. I believe many of us are aware of the positive impact on our Earth when there have been less toxic human activities during the pandemic. As CLCers, we’re invited to keep reflecting on and taking actions to respond to the Ecology frontier. The following websites are helpful and I would like to share with you. (Some of you may already know and use those online resources.)

Ecological Examen   http://www.ecologicalexamen.org
Earth Day.org   The theme for this year is climate action. On April 22, there will be livestreamed discussions, a global digital surge, and 24 hours of actions that we can participate.  Visit the website to find a digital event and other “stay-at-home” Earth Day activities.   https://www.earthday.org/earth-day-2020
Zero Waste Canada which provides useful info and practical small steps we can do to protect our environment.  https://zerowastecanada.ca/resources
Love Food Hate Waste Canada which provides food saving tips and recipes, particularly useful during this time too.     https://lovefoodhatewaste.ca
Written and submitted by Janet Ho, CLC Rockies/BC Regional Representative

Prairie region's annual retreat was held on Feb. 15 with our Winnipeg groups (3 of 4 were represented by the 8 attendees) and on March 7 with our two Thunder Bay groups. (See below for a summary of the process.) Prairie Region has embarked on a communal discernment from now until June to determine what form our leadership will take. A leadership transition team consisting of our Region's elder, Ruth, our EA, Fr. Charles as the "listener" and one rep. from each of our loci of communities (i.e. Winnipeg and Thunder Bay) will be responsible for implementing this effort.

Our Regional meeting, held via Zoom on March 12, wisely decided to hold our March 23 World Day of Prayer gathering virtually online also via Zoom. As a result, we had the best attended regional gathering for a very long time, 18 participants versus only 8 participants at our Feb.15 face-to-face retreat that we held in order to reflect on the fruits of the National Assembly.

Recently, when I was in Calgary, I stayed with Leanne Salel and her family. Upon my return, Leanne sent me the photo below: deer grazing in Fish Creek Park, Calgary. Her observation that the rest of nature is oblivious to current events resonates deeply with me. It introduces a more comprehensive view of the world than most of us can manage or even imagine right now, except for that afforded by a life of prayer. 
The process for our annual retreat:

We reflected on the National Assembly using the following reading and focus questions.

The crowd ate and were filled; and they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full. Mark 8.1-10

After reflecting on the Assembly Writing Team Statement: A Sacred Story and considering the National Discerned Priorities…

What energizes/challenges you about the discerned priorities for action?
Which ones appear most urgent based on your
experience, locally, regionally, nationally?
How do you see ourselves
working together with these priorities?
Is there one that particularly
engages you?
The meeting included an initial orientation on the National Assembly Narrative and the National Evaluation Working Group, personal prayer time, a time for spiritual conversation, Evaluation and Appropriation Eucharist.

Respectfully submitted by,
Howard R. Engel,
CLC Prairie Region Rep. (outgoing)

“CLC is our way of life.” AMDG

Central Region's groups have been striving to promote our mission of Integral ecology and our CLC life in general. Walking in the Light, our group from Manitoulin Island has been very busy actively working on Ecology through a Lenten series: Loving the Creator in all Creation; video Pachamana considering "where are we and How did We get Here?; A New Story: What's Possible Now?; Where am I in the Story? Resources such as an 'Awareness Examen on Plastic Pollution' developed by the Zachariahs and The Global Catholic Climate Movement's 'Repenting of Ecological Sin and Cultivating Ecological Virtues were used. On Mar. 4th they also had Fr. John McCarthy give a retreat on "Message of a Planetary Pope on Care of Mother Earth Our Common Home. The poster advertising this has gone to Rome. Kudos to Walking in the Light for all they've been able to accomplish. 

Hearts Afire are doing the Spiritual Exercises as part of their formation and that is their focus now. The Pilgrims have been very active in guiding a Young Adults group. Mar. 7th they presented 'Imagination in the Gospels', Mar.21st. Scripture and Prayer and Apr.4th Key Elements in My Spiritual Life'. This focus on youth and a new CLC group is in keeping with Projects 173 that we reflected on Mar. 25th for World CLC Day. Holy Ground had a break over the winter and are just starting to meet again.

Spirit of Living Water, a diverse on-line group is studying Christus Vicit, the Pope's post-synodal exhortation. Prior to that, they were working through Loius Savary's 'The New Spiritual Exercises-In the spirit of Teilhard de Chardin. They will return to that after finishing Christus Vivit. They are also active in the formation team , which is currently looking at ways to assist communities to communicate electronically during this pandemic. Because they are all physically distant, their action for the environment is done individually.

Written and submitted by Susan Rogers, CLC Central Region Representative
The Ecology Frontier:A community report from Faithful Companions, Kitchener-Waterloo

Faithful Companions has had a blessed year. We have grown together as we have supported each other through illness, bereavement and times of joy. We have become more aware of the gifts of Ignatian tools, particularly Blessed History and discernment using the four-column method. These tools, through which the Holy Spirit guided us in our time of amalgamation in 2019, are even more necessary now as we discern another step in our communal life.
Currently, in support of Central’s mission of Integral Ecology, we intend to support local reforestation initiatives through donating part of the funds we have collected this year as well as increasing our personal practices of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle & Refuse. We look forward to greater involvement, as we are able, in tree-planting once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
It has been a steep learning curve but we are now meeting weekly on Zoom. Being together, sharing our loving Lord’s presence in each of our lives helps lift our sense of isolation and give us a sense of purpose.

Mary Stevens
Talk to a friend
 A network of listeners for those suffering because of COVID-19

Dear Friends of the Jesuits, 
These are difficult times for all of us. If you are in need of a friendly voice, for someone to talk to, the Jesuits would like to help.
The Jesuits want to listen, and invite you to begin a conversation with priests, deacons, religious and lay people who are experienced in listening to people with life difficulties.

You can email  talktoafriend@jesuits.org  7 days a week and someone will reach out to you and arrange a time to talk, to offer comfort and solace, whether you're a caregiver who needs to be listened to, or you're grieving for a loved one, or you have COVID-19, or just want to chat.
Please feel free to share this with anyone in need, and please remember that the Jesuits are praying with you and walking with you during this difficult time.
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AN END NOTE: In this pandemic time, many videos and articles about wildlife exploring quiet cities have been posted on various websites and social media. The absence of human aciivity has reduced air and water pollution. Toxic fog and dying rivers have been replaced with blue skies and clear water. This "inconvienent truth" can be an invitation to pray the "Two Standards". Under the Standard of Christ, Earth and her life are experiencing a renewal, a resurrection. How can we follow so that all life , including ours, is free to" sing of Your love"?