April 11, 2021

City Hall Interfaith Service Commemorating the First Anniversary of Covid-19 in Ottawa

On Thursday, 25 March 2021, an event commemorating the first anniversary of Covid-19 in Ottawa and honouring the city’s citizens who lost their lives to the virus was held at the Marion Dewar Plaza next to the 2017 Cauldron. In addition to Mayor Jim Watson and Ottawa’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Vera Etches, the speakers included Chief Wendy Jocko of the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation, Reverend Dr. Anthony Baily of Parkdale United Church, Rabbi Idan Scher of Congregation Machzikei Hadas, Imam Samy Metwally of the Islamic Society of Gloucester and Mr. François Couillard, member of the Local Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís Ottawa. All speakers were spaced six feet apart during the presentation. Midway through the program, Cellist Julian Armour and harpist Caroline Léonardelli performed Bach’s haunting piece, Air on a G String.

Mr. Couillard’s comments on this sad occasion were as follows:

Mayor Watson, Chief Jocko, Mrs Etches and dear friends,

The Ottawa Bahá’í Community of Ottawa would like to take this opportunity to express its deepest condolences to the families and their relatives who have lost dear ones to this terrible pandemic.

We would also like to thank the selfless and tireless work of health workers and other first responders.

The hardships caused by Covid are an occasion to rediscover the values of mutual assistance and solidarity that unite us as human beings.

It is making us fully aware of our planetary interdependence, and because the coronavirus does not recognize borders, we are one and all united in our vulnerability.

The Universal House of Justice, the international council of the Baha’i Faith, wrote a message of hope over a year ago, and I would like to read a short excerpt from it:

Seldom has it been more evident that society’s collective strength is dependent on the unity it can manifest in action, from the international stage to the grassroots....however difficult matters are at present, and however close to the limits of their endurance some sections of societies are brought, humanity will ultimately pass through this ordeal, and it will emerge on the other side with greater insight and with a deeper appreciation of its inherent oneness and interdependence.

May your minds be ever bent upon the needs of the communities to which you belong, the condition of the societies in which you live, and the welfare of the entire family of humanity, to whom you are all brothers and sisters. And in your quiet moments, when no course of action other than prayer seems possible, then we invite you to add your supplications to our own and ardently pray for the relief of suffering.

The Mayor’s podium was disinfected after each speaker, and the Cauldron was lit to honour those who fell victim to Covid. There was also floral arrangement of white roses next to the podium in their memory.

Home     Contact   Site Map    Web Support

© The Local Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Ottawa, Canada