Written by: Maria Koropecky, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
After more than a year of watching church services on my laptop every Sunday morning in my pajamas with a mug of black coffee handy, I was finally able to visit St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church in person on May 30, 2021.
Although it was good news that some of the restrictions around the COVID-19 Pandemic had been lifted in British Columbia, Canada, where I live, the looser guidelines came on the heels of the tragic discovery by the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation, who found through ground-penetrating radar, the remains of 215 children on the site of an Indian Residential school in Kamloops, BC, that was run by the Catholic Church from 1890 to 1969.
So far, at the time of this writing, the Pope has yet to issue a formal apology for this injustice which now has been added to a host of other scandals currently lingering like heavy soot in the Vatican.
My heart goes out to all of the lost children and their families of First Nations ancestry who had suffered and died in this shameful chapter of recent history in my province that robbed Indigenous Peoples of their cultural heritage. I would also like to acknowledge all of the other souls who had similar experiences with people who wrongly used their religious or political authority to justify their actions—misguided thinking at best; immoral behavior at worst.
During the sermon, my priest said everyone had a chance to become a saint, and we should be proud to be Christians. As I stood in my pew, I could not help but question my association with a church whose parchment rap sheet scrolled for more than two millennia.
I thought about my options.
A: Do I stand by and pick and choose what I like about the Catholic Church and discard the rest, or is being a card-carrying member of an organization an all-or-nothing proposition?
B: Do I throw my hands up in the air and walk away from the Church for good? Do the corruption, greed, arrogance, dysfunction, and contradictions run too deep? Will the big wigs ever change and update their thinking?
In other words, should I stay or should I go?
Then I thought about one of the things I liked most about Christianity – the idea of redemption. Everyone likes a good ‘triumph over adversity’ or ‘rags-to-riches’ or ‘sinner-to-saint’ story, and everyone can redeem themselves if they want to. If that is true, I must extend the possibility of redemption to the Church as well.
What if the Pope, cardinals, bishops, monks, nuns, priests, and parishioners finally recognized how far off the path they have strayed from Jesus’ golden message of love? What if the Church turned its teachings about love, compassion, forgiveness, making amends, and taking responsibility towards itself?
What if, this time, it was the Church’s turn for a miracle transformation? What if we traded places, and they were the ones asking us for forgiveness after losing their way? How forgiving would we be? Can we start fresh after a major overhaul?
Here is what I would ask of the Catholic Church if it wanted to come back into my good graces:
Honor our ancestors because they endured a lot of hardship so we could live today.
Be inclusive of everyone no matter their race, nationality, age, gender, religious upbringing, financial status, health status, marital status, sexual orientation, spoken language, education, political affiliation, disabilities, diet, or past.
Accept bio-diversity and multi-culturalism. If God wanted us to all be the same, look the same, and think the same, why are there millions of varieties of flowers, trees, crystals, mushrooms, birds, fish, insects, and mammals covering our planet?
Embrace the Divine Feminine (the gatherers) in all of us and let women contribute equally with the Divine Masculine (the hunters), also in all of us, to the conversation. Plus, open up some leadership roles for us, too.
Respect children because they are our future.
Rather than accumulating more art and properties, give 50% of the Church’s wealth and resources away to all of the groups of people around the world who were denied your assistance when they needed it.
Practice what you preach. If Jesus were physically alive today, what would He say about this?
Let go of “traditions for traditions” sake way of thinking and help the whole world live into a brave new future, a real demonstration of “On Earth as it is in Heaven.”
Love your neighbor as yourself because we all have at least one thing in common – our hearts – and if you saw our humanity and our divinity within each of us and valued all living beings, there is no way you would ever be insensitive, selfish, or destructive again.
When I received Communion after all of these months, my eyes welled up unexpectedly. I realized I had some hope for the Catholic Church after all. I believe it is possible for a new Catholic Church to emerge from this pandemic. There is a reason why all of these buried secrets are rising to the surface into our awareness during this plague. The time and opportunity to clean things up and make things right has come.
We have a lot of work to do, and I’m willing to roll up my sleeves and do what I can as a coach and writer to help people elevate their own voices, speak for those who have no voice, and share their stories.
I feel I’m on my own spiritual journey, and I’m open to meeting people from all walks of life, whose philosophy and daily practices are based on love, and who are on a mission to make the world a better place. To me, love is the life force of the Universe, and it’s up to us to be generous and pass it on.
Maria Koropecky, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Maria Koropecky is many things: a Creative Writing Coach, Author, Writer, Storyteller, and Crystal Mapper.
She is well aware that 81% of all people want to write a book someday and, as a result, has set out to build a creative writing coaching business that is geared towards helping writers, artists, and introverts discover their own gold, breakthrough writer's blocks, and write the book they've always dreamed of writing so that they can leave a legacy.
Maria's own forthcoming novel, Who is Donna Tiva, the first book in a trilogy, was inspired during her solo backpacking trip across Spain at 50. It follows the journey of a single woman as she searches for love, her life being lit up and guided by the colorful characters she meets along the way.
Maria feels confident she can help other people in the world, who have also gone on an adventure of a lifetime, to write and share their stories with others.
Maria also has a wealth of qualifications that inform what she does, ranging from an Honours BA in English Literature to certifications in Life Coaching & Mentoring, to Spa Therapy as well as Crystal Reading.
Her mission is to encourage new voices to enter the arena.