Happy Easter...

First off, apologies mine for such a long hiatus on this blog. I had planned a major post that I’ve been working on for the past two weeks on and off. Someone was interested in publishing it, however, and so I had to hold off using this space to host it. That post should be forthcoming on one site or another soon.

One of the subjects that this space has covered on Montreal is the at times contradictory relationship it has with Catholicism. And at Easter mass today, I was privy to one of the better examples of how this plays out in a city that many claim has lost its religion.

I attend mass in French because I don’t see how I’m supposed to be a member of the community otherwise. And Sunday’s mass was standard Easter fare at first – gone were the Lenten doldrums. The good news was here. This was especially true for all the children, as the priest noted that chocolate eggs were there for the public afterward.

It wasn’t just the children who availed themselves.

But when the priest took the microphone (which he didn’t have to use most other days of the calendar) for his sermon, his face darkened. The city, he noted, was out of sorts. The previous night, he watched processions of unhappy Montrealers limp down Ontario Street after the Habs dropped their third straight playoff game (in double overtime no less!) to the hated Boston Bruins.

And as I followed his sermon I sat there and thought that if anyone doubted that this town had religion, here was my proof. A man of the Holy Cloth offering the sacraments to throngs of the faithful; he delivered a powerful sermon on the men of the Holy Cloth. Sure, it might seem that the bleu blanc et rouge might find themselves in dire straits. But it isn’t the end of the world. Certainly contemplating the suffering of Jesus and his resurrection would put things in perspective, the priest noted. Life will go on, thanks to the sacrifices of the Son of God. 

But as I filed out of my neighbourhood church as the mass had ended, it I realized that more than likely the joyful attendees had received the good news in a way the pastor had not intended. Perhaps the Canadiens could resurrect their playoff hopes, win the next two contests, and advance once again over insurmountable odds. It could be that the end of the world was not so near after all. Perhaps the faithful would not have to spend so much time this playoff season on the cross…

And as I trotted down the stone steps of the Gothic church I attend to Ontario Street, it occurred to me that as a Catholic I really am a minority in this town.

As even the priest seemed to acknowledge, the most popular religion here is hockey.