In a story covering the exciting win of our Women’s Olympic Hockey Team over the equally impressive American Team, CBC published an article on its website that began with an eye catching, “Canada simply wouldn’t give up on its Olympic hockey title.” The article goes on to highlight how the team averted disaster to the point of giving Canada a second life, and let’s face it, they really needed it, because as I learned from the article, one player was even passing pucks with a broken hand.
Most interesting was a quote highlighted from Hockey Night in Canada’s Cassie Campbell-Pascall. Referring to Marie-Philip Poulin, the twenty-two year old athlete that both tied the game to force overtime, and then made the winning shot for Team Canada, Cassie said, “And Canada, if you didn’t know Marie-Philip Poulin after the Vancouver Games, you better know her now.”
There is something profoundly spiritual about athletics to begin with, but I could not help but read the article in light of Canada’s spiritual heritage, and this country’s struggle to retain Catholicism at various cultural levels. To look at our current circumstances in light of the hockey metaphor, it is obvious to anyone, religious or not, that Catholicism trails behind the secularist mindset in this country by a little more than two goals. Our strongest players (at least historically) are broken in one form or another.
The great Catholic institutions that stood as shining examples of faith in action leave us (the apparent observers) on the constant lookout for an opportunity that can avert present and coming disasters. The religious orders that made this country so rich in faith in times past have too few players on the ice, and those that are playing seem to have lost all passion for the game. And let’s not forget that formidable all star we call Quebec. In our times at least we seem to be witnessing an ugly trade. The opposing team called secularism has lured Quebec and has nearly emptied her from our benches. All is not well in this game for Canada, and we are in the third period.
And yet, there is hope. There are more and more Catholics in Canada who are seeing what is at stake. These are people who realize that we need new fervour, new expression and new methods in spreading the Gospel. They are bringing in new equipment such as Chosen, the newest and arguably best Confirmation program currently available. They are staying connected and learning from other pros out there who are making key changes in similar contexts. These Catholics, which as I have said, are a growing phenomenon, know that the game is not over and they refuse to give up. These are the people that Canada had better know. They are the invisible today but the saints of tomorrow.
The first evangelization of this country worked because of the same determination that helped us to win the day over the American Olympic Hockey Team. So come on, if we can do it for a gold medal, then we can do it for Christ and our next generation. Canada simply can’t give up.