On a chilly Easter morning, soldiers from the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) lined up at a perfectly precise social distance from one another. Rev. Dr. Tom Korcok stood in front of the group, Bible in hand, his military fatigues starkly contrasting the bright purple ecclesiastical stole around his neck. Korcok, professor of theology at CUC and CAF reservist since 2009, and his parishioners had recently been called up to active duty. They were assigned to Canada’s primary COVID-19 pandemic response effort, codenamed Operation Lazer.
As Chaplain, Korcok was responsible for the spiritual well-being and morale of the troops stationed at CFB Borden, an Army base in an isolated location north of Toronto. “At a time when churches were not able to offer worship in person, I had the opportunity to provide spiritual guidance to a group that desperately needed it as first-responders during the pandemic,” he says.
“The pandemic has highlighted the fragility of life, but also the need for the comfort and direction that our faith provides,” Korcok says. “In times of crisis and suffering, our confession of that faith helps us keep a positive outlook. Throughout history, the Christian emphasis on the Cross and suffering brings connection to hope in uncertain times.”
This is an excerpt from a larger story about how Concordia-Chicago alumni, students and faculty have been leading and serving in their vocations since the COVID-19 pandemic began.