LONDON, ONTARIO – There was a glowingly optimistic feature in last Saturday’s Free Press about the promise of revitalization and an economic turnaround for East London that might be spurred by the overhaul of the gargantuan old Kellogg’s cereal factory as a mixed-use space that will eventually house a relocated Children’s Museum and Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, a distillery, a brewery, some kind of simulated golf course, a hotel, a market and food hall, and more executive offices than you can shake a stick at. Well, I don’t want to rain on anybody’s parade here but I’ll believe it when I see it. It could, of course, be that I’m old and out of touch and worn down to a cynical nub by the regularly repeated experiences of my lifetime when one over-hyped new elixir after another has failed to effect the promised transformation of London’s east end.
LONDON, ONTARIO – When Larry Henderson died thirteen years ago this fall, obituaries printed in newspapers from coast to coast and short clips tucked into the later portion of all the national TV news reports, focused primarily on Larry as the first full time national news anchor on CBC TV from 1954-59. During this pioneering period in electronic journalism, the CBC was the only national broadcaster around and for the better part of that decade, Larry’s was the best known face in a country full of TV sets that mostly pulled in just the one station.
LONDON, ONTARIO – This week I set before you a series of snapshots which I believe are not unrelated, outlining the gradual fraying of our social fabric. Let's start with the very earliest of them all; recounting a hot afternoon in my 13th year when I was taking temporary leave from my most constant companion that summer to go home for supper.
We had decided to run an experiment. My friend stood on the sidewalk in front of his house on the south side of Baseline Road as I walked backwards up the very long block to Wortley Road, and every ten feet or so I would call out “goodbye” and if he could still hear me, then he’d wave his arms and holler back. We were testing to see whether we would first move beyond one another’s range of sight or sound.
LONDON, ONTARIO – This Easter will mark the thirty-sixth anniversary of my conversion, baptism and confirmation into full membership in the Roman Catholic Church. Getting out my handy actuarial table I see that I have now spent the better part of my life as a Catholic. In one way, that feels about right. I know that this is the Church where I belong and I have felt that way from the moment Bishop Sherlock baptised me and anointed me with holy oils at the great Easter Vigil at St. Peter’s Cathedral on April 22, 1984. Yet in other ways – thirty-six years into this glorious game – I still feel like a callow newbie, hopelessly out of my depth in the company of those lifelong Catholics who live the life of the faith at its fullest.
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THE AQUINAS LECTURE
G.K. CHESTERTON AND THE GIFT OF GRATITUDE
ALL LIFE IS A GIFT :
THE IMPORTANCE OF TRADITION :