John Dalla Costa
I am a writer first and foremost (my passion), also teaching at Schulich and consulting as an ethicist. I am at St. Basil’s because my previous Pastor suggested that I study theology, so, I ended up getting my M.Div. at Regis College. The parish is also in my neighbourhood so it was convenient, but I have stayed because of three things:
First, my wife and I found that the Basilian spirituality that combines academic (knowledge) and heart is very nurturing and formative.
Second, as an urban parish, St. Basil’s invites all the diversity, positive and negative, of living in a big city so you have the poor and successful and lots of different cultures. Everyone is welcome and all have a role – it is a holy centre of our community.
Third for me is Father Chris’ leadership. I attend daily mass so it is enriching to see a young pastor transform the church and invite all to play a role. It is an invitation for us to be our best as Christians.
I am involved at St. Basil’s in the liturgy of the hours and RCIA and the Parish Council. This is my 6th year at RCIA and every year is richer and richer. RCIA is the heart of the parish, providing energy that shows up in other aspects like the liturgy. Also, there is experimentation in the RCIA; it is a lab to incubate things that come out in the liturgy. Joy from RCIA is how my soul grows being with others as they grow theirs. These activities have helped me to grow and become part of a community – we have a sense of each other in a way we did not before.
The daily liturgy of the hours is a perfect way to end the day. Whatever you have done that day, incomplete or happy, you are at the altar surrounded by 8 to 10 people saying a prayer. Matthew 11:28-30: “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest,” is important now because it is the end of year; but, I would say the psalms every day talk to me. When I hear the gospel I get what I need each day; it is the way the scripture speaks to me so relevantly as I need it.
It is a difficult time in the world (divisiveness and hatred) and as a business ethicist I am asked to deal with bullying and racism. It reminds us that we are able to get nourishment in the community together and be a light in the way the world asks of her. It is a direct thread to spiritual nourishment.