Montreal, April 8, 2020 - Following the city by-law, the Montreal Bahá'í Community has advised all of its members to take note of - and follow - the measures put in place by health authorities and the government to stop the spread of the disease. COVID-Virus 19. As a result, all community gatherings were suspended at the Bahá'í Center as well as in the neighborhoods. 

The famous Backpack-Traveler of the book "The Earth is but country", André BRUGIROUX,  made the following remark: "This Covid-19 should not be as bad as one thinks since we find in it one of the "fetish" numbers of the Bahá'í Faith; 19*. We shall see what will result from it. I've been bawling around for fifty years trying to make people understand that the Earth is but one country. This little virus has irrefutably demonstrated its possibility! "

In a letter to the Community, the Spiritual Assembly, an administrative institution that manages the affairs of the Bahá'í Community in Montreal explains: - How strange it is for us as Bahá'ís, who strive with all our heart to bring people together, to do now all we can to keep them apart! As we join the global effort to practice "social distancing" in order to play our role in limiting infections to as few people as possible, we find ourselves charting unknown waters. How to continue our activities without having a meeting?

We are very pleased to announce that the Community has taken up this challenge with enthusiasm and vigor, turning to technology to overcome our spatial distance. No sooner this challenge manifested itself, a number of neighborhoods have used web conferencing software to organize the 19 Days Feasts, using it for devotional gatherings, and pre-youth activities which continues almost uninterruptedly, online.

Indeed, the 19 Day Feast** celebration of Jalál (Glory) took place in several neighborhoods online with the participation of a large number of friends! Prayers and Sacred texts were recited and consultation on various subjects took place as usual! The missing part was unfortunately the social part! Disregarding this shortcoming, some friends had prepared cakes and tea but lack of teletransportation equipment made it impossible to taste them!

The Spiritual Assembly continues in its letter that while we are all at home, for some of us living alone, is particularly difficult. Whether for groceries, looking for something in a pharmacy or just for company, we need to take care of those who are in this situation, and try to get in touch with them to make a difference in their lives.

It should be noted that the religious communities present in Quebec have asked the population to practice their religion at home and use electronic means of communication to celebrate religious activities!

“We are trying to motivate everyone who, in the name of faith, might find it difficult to stop going to their usual place of worship, to do so as an act of solidarity with all of Quebec and of Canada," said Monsignor Christian Lépine, archbishop of Montreal and member of the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Quebec, to QUB Radio Tuesday morning.

"Religion gives strength to the soul, but the present event also is a call to stand in solidarity with others, so it is not a call to bypass science but acknowledge its value," he said.

*In accordance with Arabic numerology, the figure 19 translates to “Unity”

**19 Days Feast is celebrated on the first day of each Bahá’í month. The Bahá’í calendar is a solar year of 19 months of 19 days with 4 or 5 days called “Intercalary Days” to complete a year of 365 days.

Photos : A 19 Days Feast in Montreal and a Global Webinar by André BRUGIROUX


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