Hall Interfaith Service Commemorating the First Anniversary of Covid-19
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
a G String.
Couillard’s comments on this sad occasion were as follows:
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.
would also like to thank the selfless and tireless work of health
workers and other first responders.
hardships caused by Covid are an occasion to rediscover the values
of mutual assistance and solidarity that unite us as human beings.
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.
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.