COVID-19: Message for Religious Celebrations

During the Passover seder the youngest member of the family asks, “Why is this night different from all other nights?” As many of us prepare to celebrate Passover, Easter and Ramadan, we are fully aware that this year is very different than any other year in our lifetime.

Houses of worship, key gathering points for many of us, remain temporarily closed as we do our best to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Celebrations will be restrained as family gatherings are limited to only those who live under the same roof. Social distancing is key – and remains the best way for us to slow the pandemic and protect those we love.

Yet we know that connecting with other people is critical for our well-being, and so we urge you to take time to call friends and family or have virtual get-togethers. As you connect with those closest to you, we invite you to reflect on the spirit of Passover, Easter and Ramadan.

With its focus on exodus from slavery, Passover honours freedom. Easter is Christianity’s great celebration of the renewal of life. And Ramadan calls people to acts of self-examination, sacrifice, and empathy.

This year, in a spirit of freedom, renewal, and self-sacrifice, let’s recognize and celebrate the professionalism, the humanity, and the courage of our health care and other essential workers.

Let’s give thanks and take pride in the open and caring society that we have built together and that supports us in this difficult time.

Let’s make this year’s holiday season a living expression of our hope for the future.

The Honourable Marc Garneau
Minister of Transport & Member of Parliament for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount
Jennifer Maccarone
MNA Westmount-Saint-Louis
Christina M. Smith
Mayor of the City of Westmount