The gathering of our OCSB community at this year’s Christian Community Day could not have been a more perfect prelude to Thanksgiving. This year’s focus filled us with gratitude as we celebrated the achievements of our very own alumni, as well as the profound impact we can have on the lives of those in our community who need it most, through the launch of our annual United Way campaign.
With such a busy start to the year, it was hard to believe that as we all excitedly gathered within the Shaw Centre doors on Friday morning, we were already well into October. What was even more surprising however, was the amount of energy everyone had considering it was only 8:00 in the morning. I cannot decide whether this energy was brought on by the long-held friendships throughout our Board that finally had the opportunity to reconnect, or if it was the fact that Christian Community Day marked the beginning of a long, restful Thanksgiving weekend. Either way, people were exuberant and ready to get started.
This energy only built as the lively OCSB choir greeted the thousands of us with their vibrant music, followed by speakers of our own community, who were as powerful as they were passionate. The usual apprehensiveness that you would find among speakers for such a massive event was nowhere to be found on Friday. Rather, everyone stood and spoke to the audience members as though they were an extension of their family.
This feeling of family, even among those we had only first met, is what made the day so special. In so many of us it inspired pride, for the realization that this loving culture is the result of our dedication to be kind to one another. As we all sat together in Mass, officiated by Archbishop Prendergast, our community finally had the chance to pray together as one.
From my eyes, it was the act of standing that symbolized the entire day. Those who stood together in joyful conversation at 8:00 am; Denise Andre encouraging us to step out of our comfort zone by stepping out of hers — from behind the podium, and taking centre stage; everyone who unanimously stood in applause for the bravery and human spirit presented in Clarissa’s speech; and every member of our community who stand together each year with shared faith in the power of a pledge to United Way.
Here is to a year filled with Good News!