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29 December 2020

“The door is open”: Serving the most vulnerable

When the pandemic hit earlier this year, the Archdiocese of Vancouver initiated the “Church Never Stops” campaign, and religious men and women have been essential in the Church’s ministry of bringing the light of Christ to all, including migrant workers, homeless, and students in schools. The Carmelite Sisters of Our Lady of Monte Carmelo Community have been on the front lines of the #Churchneverstops movement as they serve hundreds of meals a day at the Door is Open drop-in Centre. Sister Chita, co-manager of the Door is Open, wrote the following reflection.

It does not matter if you are serving indoors or outdoors because when you are called to serve in the Downtown Eastside you cannot completely sever the ties with those whom you serve. A warm welcoming smile still accompanies the “Hi” and “Hello”, answering an invitation to help old men and women, their hands already shaking, holding hot soup and hot coffee. What can we do but to come near and help them – not forgetting the threat of the virus, but drawing as close as we can, given the precautions of masks and gloves, and physical distancing. While we normally do not hesitate to embrace our brothers and sisters, we have to remember that physical distancing is as much for them as it is for us, given that our guests are amongst the most vulnerable in our population. I pray that God will put His selflessness into our hearts so that we can offer to love every person who comes to us for help. The pandemic hit in Lent, a reminder for us that Christ gave His life – why can we not do the same. Matthew 16:25 “for whoever saves his life will lose it, whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

Sister Chita Torres, Carm. OL

This text is taken from the Fall 2020 issue of the ad vitam webzine “Hope in Times of the Pandemic”.