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Archbishop wants church for the poor
Following in the footsteps of newly appointed Pope Francis, Archbishop Joseph Harris said he wanted to make the local Roman Catholic Church a church for the poor. He was speaking at a special thanksgiving mass for Pope Francis held at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church on Harris Promenade, San Fernando yesterday.
“I will appoint a committee to study the ways in which we can embrace the notion of being a church for the poor and to suggest ways in which this can truly be reflected in the life and activity of every parish in our archdiocese,” Harris said.
The archbishop, who celebrates his birthday tomorrow, said there must be transformation in the Roman Catholic Church. Noting that Francis is the first non-European Pope in over 1,000 years, Harris said: “He is from Latin America. The Caribbean forms parts of Latin America and as such he is from our region. He is a truly Latino Caribbean person.”
Harris also told the congregation that they must embrace those who have sinned. “The good news is that God deals with all of us in a non-condemnatory way. He encourages us to sin no more. Today we have a pope who calls us as individuals and as a church to self-examination as Jesus called the Scribes and the Pharisees to self-examination,” said Harris.
“How often are children just pawns in the games of litigation between estranged parents? How often are people and districts just pawns in the political struggle for power? How often does this happens even within the church?” He called on his congregation to pray for the new pope.
“We must pray for Pope Francis that his faith must not fail. As we thank God for the news of Francis, let’s not forget the good news of Pope Benedict XVI who taught us how to recognise the moment when to give up power and not to hang on to it,” Harris said. Worshippers from several parishes attended the mass.
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