As a Canadian and close neighbour to our Americans friends, we are always interested in what is happening in the USA. This is certainly true regarding political issues, economy, environment and in particular the Covid 19 pandemic. 2020 has been a year of turmoil, illness and grave concern for all North Americans and our global sisters and brothers.
While Canada has been able to contain the spread of Covid, we are experiencing an increase in cases as the second wave occurs. It is worrisome to see the extremely high number of cases and deaths just across the border and this is the main reason Canadians prefer the border to remain closed to all but essential workers. Let us pray and work towards a safe and effective vaccine being available to all in the coming months. The economy in both nations has suffered greatly this year with many closures or reductions in services.
The USA has seen a dramatic change with the recent election of Joe Biden as president. Without dwelling on the policies, actions and words of the outgoing president, I would suggest many Canadians as well as the wider global population are pleased with the incoming administration. The compassion for all citizens’ welfare, climate change and the need to address existing injustices such as systemic racism and immigration policies are a refreshing and very positive change.
As we close 2020 and move forward into 2021 there remains many uncertainties for North America and the world. However, if we include a spiritually based focus and consider the common good and human dignity of every global citizen, there is real hope that we can not only overcome the adversities of 2020 but also work towards a better world.
Pope Francis’s social encyclical “Fratelli tutti” is a timely and effective description of where we are and where we can go in the coming years. He discusses a world that is more just and fraternal in our relationships, social life, politics and institutions. His reference to the Good Samaritan story is very timely and one that should help us all to reflect on our own actions, or lack thereof.
Systemic change is a topic that the Vincentian family has discussed and acted on for a number of years. There have been recent discussions and Famvin articles about systemic change and whether it is still relevant. I think systemic change is more relevant than ever before. As the world continues to evolve in a time of many changes, some because of emergency and desperation, we are also faced with an opportunity to change structures and systems as we know them in an effort to make them more affective and effective. May we all embrace the future with hope and prayer for a more just world.
About the author:
Jim Paddon lives in London, Ontario, Canada and is a Canadian Vincentian. He is currently chair of the National Social Justice Committee of the Society in Canada. He is married to his dear wife Pat and they have six daughters and eleven grandchildren. Jim has been a member of the Society since the 1970’s.