'You are not alone': Sask. vigil planned to mark one year of COVID-19
A nurse gets a swab ready to perform a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
SASKATOON -- More than two dozen Saskatchewan religious leaders and public agencies are planning an online vigil to mark World Health Organization’s declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The vigil is scheduled for March 11 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. and can be viewed on Zoom or YouTube.
“COVID has taken a lot from us as a province, a country, a world; but it has also shone a light on many community heroes,” says a statement on the vigil website.
“You are not alone in your loss. You are not alone in your hope!”
The province announced its first COVID-19 case on March 12, 2020 and marked its 400th COVID-19-related death on Tuesday.
The group is chaired by Blake Sittler with the Catholic Health Association of Saskatchewan.
“We tried to get as many partners on as possible. We started the first meeting in January and we’ve been meeting since then,” Sittler told CTV.
Sittler said they are proud of all of the partners they were able to bring on board, with representation from multiple religions and groups.
The vigil will include a few appearances by Saskatchewan personalities such as pianist Thomas Yu and CEO and president of the Saskatchewan Roughriders Jim Hopson, who will deliver a prayer.
“There’s going to be aspects of the vigil that will look and feel like a religious service, and there’s going to be aspects that will look like a gathering. The event is intended for the people of Saskatchewan, we want to make this as broad as possible,” said Sittler.
Some of the performances and appearances will be pre-recorded and some will be live according to Sittler.
The vigil will be split into two parts. The first will focus on loss and mourning, then the second will focus on hope, and looking into the future with an optimistic attitude.
“It’s focused on ‘What are the things we're looking forward to?’ Hugging, music concerts, just gathering and not wearing masks to work, going back to work,” Sittler told CTV.
Sittler said he is excited when he thinks about the moment when everyone will be asked to light their candle and hold it up to the camera, and is looking forward to being a part of the vigil.
“This is for the people of Saskatchewan and it’s just a very small, humble offering as a place to virtually gather and do what we can to let people know they’re not alone,” Sittler told CTV.