Hike and Prayer at Doors Open Toronto

As part of the 15th annual Doors Open Toronto, our Faith Connections’ Hike and Prayer on May 24, 2014 took us through downtown Toronto to various historically, culturally, and socially significant buildings. Our starting point was at St. Michael’s Cathedral where we got an opportunity to introduce ourselves to our fellow hiking companions before engaging in a group prayer. We asked God to help us be open to His presence in each moment and in each space.

Our second stop was at the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre, which can be summed up in two words: timeless and elegant. As I gazed in amazement at the leafy ceiling of the Winter Garden Theatre, I reflected on the interplay between the arts and our faith. Pope Francis has said that, “In every age the Church has called upon the arts to give expression to the beauty of her faith and to proclaim the gospel message of the grandeur of God’s creation, the dignity of human beings made in his image and likeness, and the power of Christ’s death and resurrection to bring redemption and rebirth to a world touched by the tragedy of sin and death.” Simply put, art expresses the beauty of faith.

Our next stop was at the Great Gulf Utilities Art Exhibit featuring photographs taken by artist Michael Cook in the sewers, drains and waterways beneath the streets of Toronto. By viewing the photographs, not only did we get a chance to imagine and think about the systems that make our city work, but we also reflected on ways that we can respond to our universal call to be co-creators with God.

Our hike then took us to the Complections College of Makeup Art & Design. After touring this state-of-the art facility, we paused to discuss the true source of beauty, which we as Catholics understand to be God, who is the ultimate source of truth and beauty and goodness. Since we are all made in the image of Him, the more we embrace the image that we were made in, the more that beauty is going to be reflected to the world.

We then proceeded to the Bank of Upper Canada, which provided a unique mix of preserved heritage features as well as modern interior design elements. As we did at all our previous stops along the hike, we regrouped for discussion and prayer after touring the place. Our final stop was at the beautiful St. James Cathedral, a place of worship for many in the downtown community. As our hike came to an end there, I took a moment to again thank God for the architecture of our city. We were also blessed with wonderful weather, faith-filled conversations, and new friendships that formed from the Hike and Prayer. The buildings and historic landmarks that we visited remind us of God’s generosity and hospitality in the midst of a busy and vibrant city. Let us always remember to seek Him in everything and everywhere. Glory to God!

— by Judith Kwok