Last update: 12-Dec-2013 1:27 am
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Pray for deliverance of T&T
Two weeks ago, our lovely, but hurting nation of Trinidad and Tobago was consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary by Archbishop Joseph Harris, as did Roman Catholic bishops all over the world, in response to a request by Pope Francis. But what makes this act of consecration even more significant is the fact that the mother church of the archdiocese has been, for much more than a century, dedicated to Our Lady as the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. It has happened even as the cathedral is undergoing a major refurbishment exercise, the consecration was done during celebrations to mark the close of the annual Marian devotions at Laventille, a public activity that has gone on for decades. And notably all these things have happened in October, regarded the world over as the month of Our Lady.
What does this mean to Roman Catholics in this country? Will they ensure there would be increased devotion to our Blessed Mother from here on in, or will we just shine for the moment, growing lukewarm as we go along to finally fade away like an old flower? Right now this broken nation needs to be healed and can use all the help it can get for true healing to be a possibility. Sure all our parishes are full of prayerful people and they pray endlessly for the creation of a better country. But it is the belief of many that more needs to be done, because there can never be enough prayers. Adapting a prayer used by Blessed Pope John Paul II, our Archbishop Harris prayed, “Today we here in Trinidad and Tobago, acutely aware of the tremendous gifts which the Father has given to us as individuals and as a nation, aware also of the situations of violence, crime, domestic abuse, murder and corruption, we come before you asking your maternal intervention in the minds and hearts of our people.”
The Archbishop was even more pointed when he asked for Our Lady’s help in bringing to an end the “bobol and corrupt practices” which now seems to be intricately woven into the very fabric of our society at all levels. As we rapidly approach the end of the Year of Faith in a few weeks, the local church is being called upon to continue praying for the deliverance of our nation to once again become a loving community full of hope while increasing expressions of love and humaneness that is necessary to develop a spirit-filled T&T. In short measure also, the church will begin observances to mark the start of the Third Pastoral Priority—“Regenerating Moral and Spiritual Values”—as mandated by Synod 2009. There is hardly anyone in this country who is not cognisant of the fact that standards and values in almost every area of society have dropped significantly and it might be regarded as providential that the new pastoral priority has to do with declining morals and values. This would mean that those responsible must put in place strategies which would allow not only Roman Catholics but the society in general to begin working towards putting the standards even higher than they were before the slippage. Such an effort would require all hands in the vineyard—from bishop to members of parish ministries.
Vernon Khelawan is media relations officer of Catholic Media Services Ltd, the official arm of the Archdiocese of Port-of-Spain. Its offices are located at 31 Independence Square. Telephone: 623-7620.
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