Friday, March 20, 2009

Ecumenical Prayer Service for victims of Helicopter Crash

On Wednesday night, people gathered at the Basilica of St. John the Baptist, the Catholic Cathedral of St. John's, Newfoundland for an ecumenical prayer service for the victims of Cougar Flight 491, a helicopter which crashed into the North Atlantic Ocean off Newfoundland, Canada as it was making its way to the SeaRose FPSO on March 12, 2009. All on board, save one man, were killed. All bodies have been recovered and most of the helicopter has been recovered as well. In total, 17 people were killed. This is very tragic for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the world over.

At the ecumenical prayer service, there were thousands of people, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Premier Danny Williams, Peter McKay, Justin Trudeau, John Crosby, and many more.

Archbishop Martin Curry was the main presider over the event. He said to make one thing clear and that is that God did not want this to happen. This is a Catholic understanding of the world. God wills that we know him and love him. Evil and bad things that happen to us are not things that God makes happen or wants to happen, but he permits them to happen. Obviously, God being omnipotent could make anything happen or prevent anything from happening, but much of the time, he allows us to make our decisions and allows natural consequences. For example, if I had a young son and I brought him to the bookstore and told him he could pick any book. He might pick Green Eggs and Ham. I would then allow him to purchase it, etc. I did not choose it for him or prevent him from having it. God allowing things to happen without preventing them is called his permissive will, as opposed to his ordained will. God willed the universe into existence, for example. This is the point the Most Reverend Archbishop Martin Currie was making. God didn't desire that those men and women perish, but at the same time, God did not interfere to change the laws of nature so that it would not happen.

During this tragedy, we must pray for the victims of the crash and their families and loved ones. Remember them in your prayers.

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