Have you ever passed something in your community without paying much attention to it ?
I had passed this strange winged lion statue near my house many times without having much interest in it.
Then, several years ago in Venice, Italy, I saw another statue just like this one ! So I checked out what it meant.
This is a symbol of St. Mark, the Evangelist. His tomb is at the San Marco Basilica in Venice, and he is considered to be the patron saint (protector) of this city.
In 1497, the explorer John Cabot set sail from Venice, and landed in our little community ! Although he was Italian, (Giovanni Caboto) , he was working under the commission of Henry VII, and thus he claimed this part of North America for England.
However, he did not ‘discover’ North America, since there were already indigenous populations living here long before the arrival of European settlers. There is a lobby in our town asking people to stop using the term ‘discovered’, since it is disrespectful to the native people of Newfoundland.
Some local residents are rightly insisting that June 24, 1497 be no longer called ‘Discovery Day’.
Using this term is just a grim reminder of how harshly aboriginal populations were treated by the ‘discoverers’.
May God give us the grace to treat everyone with dignity and respect, and may he grant us the wisdom and courage to speak up against all forms of oppression.