Recently some momentous events have happened in our Church and in our country. On the positive side we have had the ordination of Archbishop Joseph Harris to be our new Church leader and the ordination of Msgr Jason Gordon as bishop of Barbados and St Vincent and the Grenadines. In synod implementation we are now at the start of implementing our second pastoral priority and parishes are proceeding towards consulting, shaping and implementing their own pastoral plans.
We have recently buried some people of sterling quality who have selflessly given to our country – Pat Bishop, Ivis Gibson, Janet Baptiste-John.
On the negative side we have had the spate of violent crimes that has caused the Government to institute a State of Emergency in the country. And yet the murders and the rapes continue. We have been hearing a lot about “racial profiling” and the targetting of certain “hot spots”. We have been listening to the issues surrounding CLICO and many citizens are appalled by what they have heard; the sheer numbers alone are staggering.
In the midst of this, we as Church are challenged to “revitalise Catholic Culture and Identity”, we are called to be Church. Our revitalisation calls for prior deep-down, heart-felt conversion to the Lord and not “flash in the pan”, as my mother used to say.
I was reading a book recently where the author calls on us to live CHRIST-IANITY and not CHURCH-IANITY…our allegiance is to Christ through the Church and not the other way around.
At the ordination of Archbishop Joseph Harris I was struck by the words of the Principal Consecrator in the “Examination of the Candidate”.
It seems to me that the promises made by both the new Archbishop and the new bishop are the stuff of revitalisation.
These promises, although made by these two men are the very same promises in essence that we ourselves made at our baptism and are called to live out now at this crucial time in our country.
I adapt some of them to fit us, the baptised. In doing so I am by no means minimising the mandate given to these new bishops:
• Are you resolved to be faithful and constant in proclaiming the gospel of Christ?
• Are you resolved to build up the Church as the body of Christ and to remain united to it
• Are you resolved to be faithful in your obedience to the Pope?
• Are you resolved to be a devoted father to sustain the people of God and to guide them on the way of salvation?
• Are you resolved to show kindness and compassion in the name of the Lord to the poor and to strangers and to all who are in need?
• Are you resolved as a good shepherd to seek out the sheep who stray?
• Are you resolved to pray for the people of God without ceasing?
I want to add a few more “resolutions”
• Are you resolved to listen to and answer the call to holiness given us by Christ?
• Are you resolved to make justice an integral part of your living?
• Are you resolved to speak non-racial words, treat people equally without reference to creed, colour or race and not “label” them; to be a healer of the racial pains of our society?
• Are you resolved to be a uniting force among the religions in T&T, simply by treating people of all religions with respect and not ascribing negative qualities to them because of their religion?
• Are you resolved to be a healer right in your own family and community, where often there is tension because of differences of creed, race, religion, status, marriage, etc? – Sr Marie Young, Catechetical Coordinator, Northern Vicariate