A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

First on the Scene

Posted on: October 23, 2014

Ottawa, despite its status as Canada’s capital, sometimes feels like a small town.

And so it’s an understatement to say I was shocked when my mother phoned and my husband texted me at the same time to share some news: a reservist had been shot at the National War Memorial and, after gunfire on Parliament Hill, one gunman had been killed.

How surreal it was to listen to reports about gunfire in the Centre Block of Parliament and view footage of bulletproof vest-wearing officers with guns drawn in downtown Ottawa…to hear that schools and government buildings were on lockdown, interprovincial bridges were closed and a security perimeter was in effect.

Putting it mildly, it wasn’t a typical day in the capital.

Today we mourn the loss of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo. We commend the bravery of Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers. And we give thanks that the three people who were wounded have been discharged from hospital.

We also need to take a moment to think about those first on the scene in this and other emergency situations: police officers, security staff, fire crews, and emergency medical technicians. We don’t often think about the way they put themselves on the line to keep the rest of us safe, to remove us from harm’s way, and to ensure we receive prompt medical attention. But we should.

In the aftermath of yesterday’s crisis and Monday’s hit-and-run attack in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu that injured one soldier and led to the death of another, we need to take a moment to pray for first responders. We need to pray that God would protect them on the job, help them to stay calm and focussed in their work, and guide them in coping with job stress in a healthy way—and that the Lord would be with the families who wait for their loved ones to return home safely after each shift.



Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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