Grade 7 – 12 students and staff came together for Mass in Our Lady Oratory, the school’s Chapel, on Friday, January 29th. The theme of the mass was “The Other” and was celebrated by Fr. Wayne Bolton, S.J. The music was chosen and performed by a number of our senior students, Ben Mason and Ryley Winsor served as readers, and Grace Moffatt gave a reflection on “The Other,” following the Gospel. Grace’s reflection, “Everything is Beautiful” can be found below.
Everything is Beautiful
By: Grace Moffatt
A headline in The Evening Telegram on Tuesday of this week caught my attention. It said “everything is beautiful” – these were the words of the mother of a newly minted Canadian family – the al Homsi’s – who arrived in Corner Brook approximately one month ago from Syria. She was describing her feelings towards the community of Corner Brook and in particular the people of that community. How wonderful it is that this community on the west coast of Newfoundland and Labrador could open its arms to this family and let them drink from the cup of human kindness. This family, who represent a small piece of a larger global crisis have found what the desperately needed – a safe community, shelter, the ability to learn and people around them to embrace them as they enter a new chapter in their life.
The people of Corner Brook should be proud of their warm reception of the al Homsi family and for both literally and figuratively wrapping their arms around each one of them during these early days. When the al Homsi’s arrived in our province they were (pause) “the other”. On reflecting about the warm welcome offered to this Syrian family it should challenge each of us to also respond with equal kindness to our not only our new neighbors but also to the neighbors who don’t appear on the front page of the telegram and simply go unnoticed. Each and every one of us has experienced a time where we are vulnerable and need support from others around us. Think of a time when you have been parachuted into a situation, which makes you very uncomfortable. Whether it is being the weak link on a sports team, completely bombing a test where everyone else around you got a 95% or maybe being excluded from something either by accident or on purpose because you weren’t cool enough, or funny enough or popular enough. How did you feel? I think you felt like (pause) “the other”. While these experiences wouldn’t make headline news I’m sure for that moment it felt like headline news to you. I bet you felt like you were standing on one side of the fence looking over while everyone on the other side of the fence was looking the other way. Reaching out to “the other” can be really quite simple and its pay back huge. Boey up the weaker player on the team with encouragement and inclusion, lend a hand to a classmate who is struggling in Math 2200, be willing to connect with those who are less popular and little bit on the fringe by simply inviting them to Star Wars three in theatres with a couple of friends. In our own school community, I witness simple acts of kindness towards “the other” everyday. Always being able to count on a “good morning” from Brother Joe as he walks down the stairs from mass every morning; The lady with short brown curly hair at Georgetown bakery who sells you the sesame seed bagel even though you are 25 cents short; The middle aged volunteers who go to the Emmaus house to help feed the hungry in our city. Hayley Barrett helping almost all of the physics 2202 students out during her lunch hour. It is these simple acts of selflessness that often go unnoticed. So next time, if you see someone looking over from the other side of the fence, instead of looking the other way simply open the gate. A little act of kindness can mean so much more then you would ever imagine to someone might need it.
So, like the community of Corner Brook who have welcomed this Syrian family, each of us are challenged by God and our own moral conscience to show human kindness to “the other” in our community. In doing so we will ensure that as Mrs. al Homsi said, “everything will be beautiful”.