I feel better about Ed Stelmach
Well, I'm glad he beat Jim Dinning in the first place, anyway. But we had kind of been Morton partisans, insofar as we were partisans at all (i. e., not very far, but, like all Albertans, wanting a decent premier). He seemed to have decent economic ideas (and unlike Dinning, he had ideas, period), and he was so-con, which is fine by us. So I was reading about Stelmach today in the Edmonton Journal and, reading through my Journal filter, felt that he seemed to be a decent-enough pick, and at least he wasn't Dinning. I was wondering if he was Catholic or Orthodox, or if he was practicing, or what, but the paper didn't seem to have that info . . .
So, we went to the 7 p.m. Mass tonight at St. Basil (Ukrainian Catholic), the parish we've been going to since we moved in August (it's almost literally around the corner - we walk there). At the end of the Mass, Fr. Daniel, the pastor, came out and made a bunch of parish announcements and then started talking about "Ed and Marie" and whatnot and said that after the final blessing he'd have them come up and he'd bless them with the Sacrament. He also enjoined all of us to pray for Ed, reminding us of how we pray for the government in the (Eastern) liturgy, and how we must remember our political leaders and all the things they have to consider and all the pressures that are placed upon them, and also (theocon alert!) all the spiritual warfare that is enjoined around them.
And so, after the blessing, Mr. and Mrs. Stelmach came forward and knelt on the steps leading up to the altar. Fr. Daniel removed the Blessed Sacrament from the Tabernacle and held it right above Mr. Stelmach's head. We, the congregation, kneeling, prayed the Our Father, the Hail Mary, and the Glory Be, and then Fr. Daniel invoked God's blessing, asked the Holy Virgin to pray fervently for the new premier, and sought the intercession of the holy archangels Michael and Gabriel. It was very moving, as it was simply done within the context of the Sunday liturgy, without fanfare or hoo-hah. It made me feel a lot better to know that Ed Stelmach, besides being the "most well-liked guy" in Alberta politics, is no Sunday go-to-Mass photo-op Catholic, but obviously a serious man of faith - a blessing like the one Fr. Daniel gave is not mandatory! And I think these two different sides of Stelmach - the popular politician and the serious Catholic - are not unrelated to each other, in the sense that practicing the virtues of the latter can lead to the former. It can happen.
Of course, it's extremely early days yet. But it was just a really nice surprise, at our own parish Mass!
(Update: Oh, I see now in the Journal's profile where it does mention he sings in the Ukrainian Catholic church choir at home. Check out the profile - he's no Jim Dinning, word. Thank God.)