Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Memory Lane

Where we came from

Flash Back

Dominicans at work in the humbly beings of the Church here in Trinidad and Tobago.

Getting to Know St Martin

Helen AllumHelena Allum was part of a group which went on pilgrimage to Peru in May. She shares on their experiences.
Devotion to St Martin de Porres and curiosity about the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu were the main reasons for my joining the pilgrimage to Peru last month. Gonzales Parish, East Port of Spain, celebrated last year the 50th anniversary of the canonisation of St Martin, their patron saint and the first black saint of the Americas. This pilgrimage was meant to be part of that celebration.
And so there was special significance to the Masses we celebrated at St Martin’s Chapel in Lima, which was built on the site of the infirmary where St Martin cared for the sick. His tomb is also in this chapel, along with urns containing some of his relics.
He is aptly described by Lancelot Pinard in his calypso: Dear St Martin, Blessed Martin/Help of all the sick and needy/Son of Peru, heaven chose you/An example of the new world/Race and station, pigmentation/They mean nothing to you Martin. We sang these words many times, they were our anthem, complete with guitar music and a little calypso chip. This chapel was one of many we visited in Lima, Arequipa and Cusco, some of them part of large impressive monasteries and convents.
There was another place we stood on that would have been a sacred place of retreat and worship for the Incas who lived in the Andes from as early as 1200 AD, long before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors. Machu Picchu.
This site was voted in 2007 as one of the Seven World Wonders of the “New World”. For us it proved more than a wonder: it was a mountaintop experience. At Mass on the previous day, co-pilgrim and spiritual guide Fr Clyde Harvey suggested that a mountaintop experience can be a transfiguration experience, “an experience of a God who draws us beyond ourselves” and “we come to understand that we are coming to share the very life of God”.
It was the Sixth Sunday of Easter and in the Gospel Reading Jesus had told his disciples: “If anyone loves me he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we shall come to him and make our home with him.” Fr Clyde pointed out that God wants to make his home in us and that our pilgrimage is one moment on that journey home. He encouraged us to allow ourselves to be open to the experience of Machu Picchu, the place and time, to live the moment, to listen, to be.
And really, all our eleven days in Peru were spent visiting churches and the mini art galleries that so many of them house, getting guided tours of museums and cloisters, and learning of the lifestyle of religious orders of the time; we spent time in places where St Martin and St Rose of Lima lived and worked and prayed. While our guided tours were in English, at mealtime and when shopping we had to recall the Spanish of our school days or get those more fluent in the language to help us. But what was treasured was our daily Masses where we broke bread together, listened to the Word and received some gems of understanding in terms of how it was at work in our lives.
Procession without prayers
A statue of Our Lady of Chapi, the patron of Arequipa, is carried in procession through a street in Lima.
A statue of Our Lady of Chapi, the patron of Arequipa, is carried in procession through a street in Lima.
Our first day in Lima, the capital of Peru, was a public holiday, the feast of St Joseph the Worker in the local church. It was our first Mass at Santo Domingo Church in St Martin’s chapel, a cosy space with movable chairs and altar. We were challenged to ask ourselves why we were on the pilgrimage and reminded that God had posed the same question to Elijah at Mt Horeb. Just as in Elijah’s case, Fr Clyde told us that if ever the journey becomes too much for us, to remember that God is with us, a lesson for the pilgrimage but also for our own life.
In the first reading, St Paul asked that we put on love in what we do. Fr Clyde asked us to look at our understanding of our work, and at the people for whom we work or who work for us and with us. He said there is a difference in a workplace where workers feel they are part of a family. He recommended that whatever work we do we ask the Lord to put on peace in the doing of it. He pointed out that one of the titles for St Martin that we use in the Litany of St Martin is “peacemaker in all discords”. It was a reflection that touched us deeply, perhaps because we were away from our workplaces and able to be dispassionate about our work situations.
Virgen de Chapi (Our Lady of Chapi) is the patron of Arequipa, the next town we were scheduled to visit and her feast day is in February. However on May 1, the start of the month dedicated to Mary, a procession with her statue takes place through a street in Lima. We were in time to admire the attention paid to the smallest detail on the statue of the Virgen, which is carried on a large sturdy platform on the shoulders of the bearers.
The procession began in front of Iglesia San Augustin, moved down the street, stopping at intervals. During the procession there were no organised prayers or song, but one could tell that those walking alongside the statue were opening their hearts to Our Lady of Chapi. Unfortunately, only our tour guide was able to be one of the bearers of the statue since his short stature matched the height of the other local bearers. None of the men in our group were short enough, certainly not our tour organiser Felix Edinborough or our spiritual guide. Since we had arrived late the previous night at our hotel Gran Hotel Bolivar, this was really a free day. So, many of us had an early night.
St Martin: God’s physician to us
We chose to celebrate the feast day of St Martin on May 2, beginning the Mass with the Morning Prayer of the Church. Once again we were at St Martin’s chapel and after Morning Prayer we listened to the story of the life of this much loved saint as read by Jasmin Mathura, our resident guitarist and part-time parishioner of Gonzales. Later, Fr Clyde shared the story of a man who identified with St Martin’s life story of being abandoned by his father. This man wondered how St Martin, who also used to be angry with his father, could accept his father back into his life and become a saint. Through prayer and St Martin’s example, he was able to do the same. And so we prayed for healing of wounds of the family, singing Lay Your Hands.
The first reading from Philippians asked us to fill our minds with everything that is true and noble and pure. What do we fill our minds with, we were asked in the homily. It was heartening to hear that while thoughts may come into our minds we do not have to hold on to them. Sometimes we are called to go deep into ourselves to learn what it is to love through particular circumstances. Our prayer was to ask God to open up areas of our lives that are in need of healing and to ask St Martin to be God’s physician to us.
Church of Santo Domingo
The Gonzales pilgrims on the grounds of the Church of Santo Domingo.
The Gonzales pilgrims on the grounds of the Church of Santo Domingo.
After Mass we began our tour of Iglesia de Santo Domingo. Lima was first called the City of Kings by Francisco Pizarro, the Spanish conquistador who “founded” it in 1535. This church is one of the many historical sites around Plaza Mayor, the square in the middle of the city. The Dominican Order settled on the land “given” to them by Pizarro and built a convent and what is described as “a majestic Baroque church”, which was completed in 1583 and has been rebuilt many times.
There are three naves in the church: St Dominic’s Priory of Lima, the Chapel of St Rose and The Choir – all carved in cedar brought from Nicaragua. In St Dominic’s Priory, there is a Reception Hall and two cloisters. In the middle of the cloisters is a courtyard with a garden and a fountain where, it is said, St Martin performed his first miracle.
St Martin’s chapel is in the second cloister. In a crypt under the Priory is the tomb of St Rose of Lima, a Dominican Tertiary and now Patroness of Peru. Here we prayed the Litany of St Rose of Lima and remembered and prayed for the Carib community at Santa Rosa, Arima. Like in all the other churches we visited, there are many paintings lining the walls. Here the paintings tell the story of the life of St Dominic, founder of the Dominican Order.
The Cathedral of Lima
This cathedral was built using the plans of the Cathedral in Seville, Spain. It has been rebuilt many times due to damage by earthquakes – which are a common occurrence in Peru as the country is located in a seismic zone. Although it was designed using the plans of European cathedrals, which tend to be tall and thin, this cathedral is flat and wide in order to withstand the earthquakes. There are as many as 13 chapels in this cathedral and the choir chairs in the altar are said to be a masterpiece of Catholicism. The image of the pelican is seen in this cathedral. It is a legend that in times of famine, a mother pelican would draw blood from her own chest to feed her chicks. The symbol is that of the sacrifice of Christ on the cross and also of the Eucharist.
Convento de San Francisco
The main altar of this monastery is fully carved out of wood. The corridors of the main cloister are lined with glazed tiles from Seville. There is a painting of the Last Supper here which shows typical Peruvian food items such as guinea pig, potatoes and chillies. Also shown is the devil hovering beside Judas. There are also several paintings depicting the life of St Francis of Assisi. One of these shows St Francis with his feet being kissed by the pope of the time. One of our pilgrims commented that the gesture was not in keeping with what we know of St Francis.
Becoming Vessels of God
Our Mass of Friday, May 3 celebrated the Feast of St Phillip and St James, again in St Martin’s Chapel. We prayed for the Chaguanas parish dedicated to these saints. We prayed also for the repose of the soul of Edwin Bowen, whose three daughters were part of the pilgrimage. They had come in his memory as he had had a special devotion to St Martin.
In the Gospel, Jesus says “I am in the Father and the Father is in me.” Fr Clyde said Jesus is making claims here which have to deal with his relationship with his Father. It is important, he added, for us to ask ourselves the question: “Are we really seeking to know God or are we taking him for granted?” The journey of faith, he said, requires that we grow and deepen our relationship with the Father. We need still to build the kingdom of God in our families, our communities, our professional lives. Like St Martin, like Jesus, we will be driven to our knees at times. But God makes us strong for the work he wants to do with us. We must allow ourselves to become vessels for him. And every time the Eucharist is celebrated, everything comes together in God.23#sthash.m5sar0q3.dpuf

Brave Fr. Benedict

Members of the congregation reach out to greet Fr Benedict Peters at the end of last Tuesday’s Mass of Thanksgiving for his 25th anniversary of priestly ordination at Our Lady of Fatima Church, Curepe. At right is Fr Ian Taylor who, with Fr Peters and Fr Michael Moses (deceased), was ordained June 19, 1988. Assisting Fr Peters is his friend Fr Michael Upson, who was also the homilist.  Photo: Raymond Syms
Members of the congregation reach out to greet Fr Benedict Peters at the end of last Tuesday’s Mass of Thanksgiving for his 25th anniversary of priestly ordination at Our Lady of Fatima Church, Curepe. At right is Fr Ian Taylor who, with Fr Peters and Fr Michael Moses (deceased), was ordained June 19, 1988. Assisting Fr Peters is his friend Fr Michael Upson, who was also the homilist. Photo: Raymond Syms
Fr Peters eager for ‘wheelchair ministry’
Though thanking God for the challenge of his disability, Fr Benedict Peters has admitted to wanting to be healed and to walk again. In the meantime, he’s more than willing to celebrate the Eucharist from his wheelchair.
Fr Peters, who has been unable to walk for the past five years following surgery, thanked God last Tuesday for being able to celebrate Mass and for giving him “life, the strength and the courage to be here”.
The occasion was his silver anniversary of priestly ordination. At a Mass of Thanksgiving at Our Lady of Fatima Church, Curepe, one of his former parishes, “Fr Ben”, 51, thanked everyone for their love and support as he continued his journey with God in his ministry of “intimacy, stillness and quiet”. But at the same time, he told Vicar for Clergy Fr Clyde Harvey – and an approving congregation – that he wanted to do more. “I’m ready to tackle a Saturday or Sunday evening Mass in a parish,” he declared, adding: “I need your prayers to help me through each day.”
Among the concelebrating priests was San Rafael parish priest Fr Ian Taylor; Frs Peters, Taylor and Michael Moses were ordained June 19, 1988 by Archbishop Anthony Pantin at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
Fr Taylor had his Mass of Thanksgiving the following day, Labour Day, at San Rafael church.
Of Fr Moses, who died March 12, 2008, Fr Peters remarked, “He’s looking down at us smiling from heaven.”
As Grace Music Ministry sang “I give myself away”, Frs Taylor, Reginald Hezekiah and Michael Upson, the homilist, laid hands on Fr Peters and prayed for healing.
Fr Benedict Peters celebrates the Eucharist from his wheelchair at a Mass of Thanksgiving for his 25th anniversary of priestly ordination last Tuesday at Fatima Church, Curepe. Concelebrating are Frs Ian Taylor and Michael Upson, assisted by Rev Murchison Sylvester (far left) and Rev Malcom Joab (far right). Photo: Raymond Syms
Fr Benedict Peters celebrates the Eucharist from his wheelchair at a Mass of Thanksgiving for his 25thanniversary of priestly ordination last Tuesday at Fatima Church, Curepe. Concelebrating are Frs Ian Taylor and Michael Upson, assisted by Rev Murchison Sylvester (far left) and Rev Malcom Joab (far right). Photo: Raymond Syms
In his homily, Fr Upson of Rochester, New York, said he became friends with Fr Peters at the Regional Seminary of St John Vianney and the Uganda Martyrs; Fr Peters was then a seminarian, and he was a lecturer. They kept in touch and he later learnt of his various health issues, including renal failure requiring thrice weekly dialysis. He visited Fr Peters in October 1994 at a Canadian hospital the day after he had a kidney transplant. Fr Upson said he tried to give him “comfort and courage”.
On another visit to Trinidad, he noticed Fr Peters walking with a limp, the result of a fall. Surgery five years ago to correct the limp left him unable to walk. “But God was working powerfully,” remarked Fr Upson, for “as difficult as life appears to be, sometimes you don’t realise how God is using us…”
Fr Upson spoke of developing one’s interior life, about meeting God “face to face to discover who we really are”. He noted that not many people developed this “intimate relationship with Christ” because they were “too busy to go there, where it is dark and lonely”. He said he didn’t know what Fr Peters was going through in his disability, but Fr Peters has helped teach him what priesthood was about.
Fr Upson explained that being a priest meant being active and available to people: “It’s draining but fulfilling.” He noted that Fr Peters’ priestly life has changed: he now had to be still while he hoped for healing.

Noting the large turnout, Fr Upson said to Fr Peters, “God is working through you; you’ve touched the lives of many people. Your ministry has changed, but your ministry is powerful because of your persistence…. We may be brought down low, only to see how high God can raise us up.”
Fr Upson thanked all who continued to support Fr Peters: “Saying thank you would not be enough.” He said all clergy needed the support of the faithful, to be thanked for their ministry, and to know that they were loved since they were “human, weak, fallible, and make mistakes”.
Fr Upson addressed Fr Peters directly as he concluded his homily: “Your ministry has changed for a while. Continue to love, continue being priest, continue being the person we know and love but never stop growing in interior life because you can lead us to a place we prefer not to go.”

The readings were done by Fr Peters’ brother Alvin and Umilta Yuille Mitchell; Rev Dennis Bryan proclaimed the gospel. The Prayers of Intercession were done by persons from parishes in which Fr Peters has served. Fr Peters, meanwhile, prayed for his deceased parents, Donald and Augusta; for Frs Vincent Compton and Henry Charles, Archbishop Anthony Pantin and Fr Arthur Lai Fook, whom he knew from Lourdes House and whom he admired for his humility.
Fr Peters later conducted the Eucharistic rite, utilising a low table placed in front of the altar.
Seated in the front pews were Fr Peters’ younger siblings Anthony, Frances, Richard, Myrna and Myrnelle.
Just before Fr Peters addressed the gathering, Vicar General Msgr Robert Llanos read out a letter from Archbishop Joseph Harris – who was abroad, and Fr Harvey made some brief remarks.
Fr Harvey began by saying “Ben can be stubborn like hell” but that his stubbornness was “a source of strength in difficult circumstances” and a source of inspiration for him. Fr Harvey praised the many caregivers who “walked with Ben” and “stuck by him through thick and thin….The archdiocese owes them a deep deep debt of gratitude”. He also thanked the doctors who care for Fr Peters and other clergy.
Archbishop Harris congratulated Fr Peters and thanked him for “the ministry which you perform from bed and wheelchair. We thank you for the daily prayers and the offering of the pain, physical and psychological, which you offer each day for us”.
The archbishop’s letter ended, “Be assured of our prayers for you but be assured much more of the tremendous love which God has for you, his faithful servant, and may Mary, Mother of God, your mother and our mother, accompany you always.”

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

This is we Priest

Bishop Gabriel Malzaire speaks at Fr Elton Letang’s June 6 ordination Mass. Photo: Fr Peter Hill CSsR
Bishop Gabriel Malzaire speaks at Fr Elton Letang’s June 6 ordination Mass. Photo: Fr Peter Hill CSsR
A new priest will soon be at work in the Archdiocese of Port of Spain, in Barataria to be specific. Ordained by Bishop Gabriel Malzaire on June 6 at the Church of Our Lady of Fatima in Newtown, Dominica, Fr Elton Letang CSsR will begin his priestly ministry at St Theresa’s in Malick, Barataria – where he served as Deacon for the last year.
Archbishop Emeritus Kelvin Felix and some 30 priests from across the region and the United States attended the ordination, including Fr Alistair Elias CSsR, who was ordained a priest just three days earlier in Grenada and who was there to support his classmate.
The church was filled to capacity and the congregation included 37-year-old Fr Letang’s mother and other family members and friends – plus nine parishioners from Malick, Barataria. Both the outgoing and incoming Barataria parish priests – Glanville Joseph and Vanti Auguste, respectively (both Redemptorists) – concelebrated the Mass.
The Mass was very lively with the music and sounds of a combined choir from the Chapel of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Holy Spirit Chapel, Church of Our Lady of Fatima and Cathedral of Our Lady of Fairhaven – under the direction of Mervin Alexander.
The master of ceremonies was Fr Denis Sweeney CSsR, the Redemptorist formator stationed in Boston, while Fr Mark Owen CSsR, Regional Superior – English-speaking Caribbean Region, addressed the congregation at the end of the Mass.
The culture of the Dominican people was evident during the Mass, for example the offertory included gifts of fruit and vegetables from the farmers of Fr Letang’s Giraudel community, considered as the food and flower basket of Dominica.
Bishop Malzaire, in his homily, urged Fr Letang to use his power as priest well, always remembering that it must be used to lead people to Jesus.
He said people must always see their priests as servants, as Christ’s stewards, and they must earn the people’s trust.
Bishop Malzaire urged Fr Letang to grow in love of the Eucharist and to celebrate every Mass as if it were his first and last.
The bishop prayed that Fr Letang would develop the greatest respect for the Body and Blood of Jesus, saying this would have a tremendous influence on the faithful.
Fr Letang was clothed in his priestly garments by his mother, assisted by Fr Peter Hill CSsR, former parish priest of Holy Cross, Santa Cruz.
At the end of Mass, the new priest gave his first blessings to Bishop Malzaire and Archbishop Felix and then to other individuals, including his mother and siblings.
A reception followed at the parish hall. But Fr Letang’s aunt had her own special way of celebrating.
After Bishop Malzaire presented the new priest, she left her seat in the pew, dancing and singing, “This is we priest!”
Fr Letang is the first priest from the community of Giraudel-Eggleston, and celebrated his first Mass on June 9 at the chapel of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Giraudel. His first Mass at Barataria will be on June 26 at 6 p.m.

Nuncio tells new bishop: Stay humble, listen to poor

Bishop Burchell McPherson
Bishop Burchell McPherson
Don’t change just because you’re now a Bishop. That was the advice from Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Nicola Girasoli to newly ordained Bishop Burchell McPherson on June 8 in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
Before a packed congregation at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, the Nuncio said: “To become a Bishop is not an honour; it is a call to service. Too many bishops start to change after ordination. Remain who you are. Listen to the poor; listen to the priests; look after the people and priests.”
In an address with several indirect references to popular tunes of Jamaican music legend Bob Marley, like “One Love” and “Redemption Song”, the Nuncio reiterated: “Continue to listen.”
Bishop McPherson later replied: “I promise I will not change, Your Excellency.”

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Abundant Vocations of St Joseph Province, NY

The Province of St Joseph NY Receives 18 into their Novitiate
At a time when the Church and indeed the Order is
 experiencing drought in vocations, at a time when
 some provinces in the Order do not have a total 
number of 18 brothers in formation, the Province
 of St Joseph, New York is receiving 18 men into
 their novitiate for the 2013/2014 novitiate year.
They will start their novitiate year on July 25.
 Two of them are candidates for co-operator
 brother while the rest are clerical brothers.
 They will receive the Dominican habit on August 8, 
2013, the feast day of our Father St Dominic. We 
thank God for this oasis of vocations.
According to the Director of Vocations, fr Benedict 
Croell, all thanks goes to God, the Blessed Virgin,
 St Joseph, Patron of the Province and St Dominic
 for sending them vocations to preach the Gospel for
 the salvation of souls. Apart from the obvious 
divine assistance, the Province and the Director of Vocations must be doing something right. This is why we
 have decided to take as sneak peak at the vocations programme of the province.
The province has 4 main vocation weekends in February, April, September and November and they are 
always fully booked. These vocation weekends are golden opportunities for aspirants and anyone with an
 element of interest in the Dominican life to have a practical knowledge and experience of it.
The aspirants are welcomed to the Dominican Formation House at Washington DC for the weekend. They join the brothers at prayers, meals and recreation and they interact with them – both students and formators. It is also hoped that during this period, the aspirants will open their hearts at prayers and contemplation to the voice of Jesus who continually calls men to become preachers for the salvation of souls.
Between these formal vocation weekends, aspirants are also welcomed to visit the formation house informally with advance notice. They are always warmly welcomed during such informal visits.
In addition to the vocation weekends, there are also several vocation events throughout the year at different
parts of the province, mostly in school and university campuses and chaplaincies. These events are
 widely publicized and the responses have been encouraging. The reception of 18 men into the 2013 novitiate 
class is the fruit of all these efforts. This is indeed a very active, rich and effective vocations programme
According to fr Benedict, the person behind all these, there are already 5 men who are interested in the
 2014 novitiate class. Apart from the formal visit to the formation house, he encourages the aspirants to visit
 at least two other Dominican houses before they take their final decision. This is obviously working.
We rejoice with our brothers in the Province of St Joseph, NY and we pray God to sustain these vocations 
to the end. May He continue to bless the entire Order with vocations.

  • Wednesday, June 5, 2013

    Dominican friars in Puerto Rico annual retreat with Bishop Raul Vera Lopez OP
    Photo: Frailes Dominicos en Puerto Rico de retiro anual con Mons. Raúl Vera López OP

Del lunes 27 al viernes 31 de mayo de 2013, los frailes dominicos del Vicariato General de la Santa Cruz en Puerto Rico tuvieron su retiro anual acompañados del Obispo de Saltillo, México, Mons. Raúl Vera López OP.  En un ambiente de paz y descanso, en medio del campo puertorriqueño en el municipio de Caguas, los 13 frailes que actualmente viven y trabajan en esta Isla del Caribe pudieron compartir oración, estudio y fraternidad.

Ante el proceso de reestructuración que está viviendo toda la Orden, en especial los  Vicariatos Generales, el Obispo dominico invitó a los frailes a reflexionar sobre los signos de los tiempos en las exigencias que la realidad pone a la evangelización dominicana: la opción de Cristo por los excluidos y marginadas, por los y las empobrecidos, por la realidad de las fronteras. Contemplando los textos neotestamentarios de las Bienaventuranzas, de Jesús con las mujeres, y sus discursos sobre lo que Mons. Verá llamó, "el acceso de vida plena para todas y todos," especialmente en el evangelio de Lucas.

El testimonio de vida del Mons. Raúl como profeta de la justicia social fue particularmente aleccionador para los frailes, mientras recibían también de este hermano dominico obispo, consejos sobre qué tener en cuenta en el proceso de discernimiento en el camino hacia transformarse la entidad puertorriqueña en un Vicariato Provincial.

A esta experiencia se unió uno de los frailes estudiantes de Puerto Rico, fray Emmanuel Toledo Ramírez OP quien, al finalizar el retiro, el sábado 1 de junio, en la Iglesia Invención de la Santa Cruz de Bayamón, recibió los ministerios del acolitado y el lectorado por fr. Ismael Fernández Torres OP, Pro Vicario para el Vicariato General.  Fr. Emmanuel es actualmente estudiante de teología en la Provincia San Luis Bertrán de Colombia.  Oramos por fr. Emmanuel en su camino hacia el presbiterado en la Orden de Predicadores.
    Dominican Friars in Puerto Rico

    From Monday 27 to Friday, May 31, 2013, the Dominican friars of the Vicariate General of Holy Cross in Puerto Rico had its annual retreat accompanied by the Bishop of Saltillo, Mexico, Bishop Raul Vera Lopez. In an atmosphere of peace and rest, in the middle of the Puerto Rican in the Caguas municipality, the 13 friars currently living and working in this Caribbean island were able to share prayer, study and fellowship.

    Before the restructuring process that is living the entire order, especially the General vicariates, the Dominican Bishop invited the friars to reflect on the signs of the times demands that reality puts the Dominican evangelization: the choice of Christ by the excluded and marginalized by the impoverished by the reality of the borders. Contemplating the New Testament text of the Beatitudes of Jesus with the women, and his speeches about what Bishop Verá called, "access of full life for everyone," especially in the Gospel of Luke.

    The testimony of Msgr. Raul life as Prophet of social justice was particularly sobering for the friars, while received also this brother Dominican Bishop, tips on what to take into account in the process of discernment on the road towards the Puerto Rican entity become a Provincial Vicariate.

    This experience was joined one of the friars students from Puerto Rico, fray Emmanuel Toledo Ramírez OP who, at the end of the retreat, on Saturday, June 1, at the Church invention of the Holy Cross in Bayamon, received the ministries of the acolyte and the readership by fr. Ismael Fernandez Torres OP, Pro Vicar for the General Vicariate. Fr. Emmanuel is currently a student of theology in the province San Luis Bertran de Colombia. We pray for fr. Emmanuel in his path to the priesthood in the order of preachers.

    Dominicans of the Caribbean: For one and one for all

    Dominican Friars in the Caribbean-Frailes Dominicos en el Caribe. There's still hope that a Caribbean Dominican Mission can be done together!!!

    Tuesday, June 4, 2013

    Caribbean Formation

    ON the 30 June to 4th July 2011 the Formators of the Caribbean held a conference in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. This involved Dominican Formators of CIDAL form the Caribbean Zone.

    Bro Emmanuel Toledo Ramírez Receives OP Minor Orders

    On the Saturday June 1, 2013 Bro. Emmanuel Toledo Ramirez OP of Bayamon, Puerto Rico received minor orders of Acolyte and Lector .

    Monday, June 3, 2013

    Rosary Welcome New Sister

    In the Trinidad and Tobago branch of the Irish Province, there has always been extensive collaboration between the various members of the Dominican Family, especially between the friars and contemplative nuns of Rosary Monastery.
    Renessa Tang Packis presented as Sr Mary Magdalen by Rosary Monastery Prioress Sr Ann (Bradshaw), as Fr Stanislaw Gurgul OPand Fr Thomas Lawson OP look on.
    Renessa Tang Packis presented as Sr Mary Magdalen by Rosary Monastery Prioress Sr Ann (Bradshaw), as Fr Stanislaw Gurgul OPand Fr Thomas Lawson OP look on.
    Dominican Nuns of Rosary Monastery with Dominican friars of the Irish Province. Photo by Dominican aspirant Sean Crepin.
    Dominican Nuns of Rosary Monastery with Dominican friars of the Irish Province. Photo by Dominican aspirant Sean Crepin.
    There is a history of mutual support that stems from since 1874 when the first nuns, as refugees from Venezuela, were welcomed to Trinidad by the diocesan authorities and the Dominican Fathers. The Dominican friars did all they could to make their adjustment smooth. Here is an example of the support received in the words of a past Prioresss of Rosary Monastery, "The only consolation we knew in those dark days came to us through the Dominican Fathers. They protected us, and gave us all the spiritual assistance of which we were in need. All this was done at great personal sacrifice caused by their innumerable duties and the distance of our Convent from the heart of the city. The edifying example of such good religious was a powerful means of sustaining us in such a long and difficult trial…" – The Sisters of the Holy Order of Preachers in Trinidad by Fr Bertrand Cothonay OP(1891). Moreover, past Archbishops who belonged to the Order who lent great support to the fledgling community include Archbishop Patrick Vincent Flood OP, Archbishop John Pius Dowling, and Count Finbar Ryan OP.
    This legacy of generosity of the early friars in Trinidad continues more than a century later. Over the years, we have had excellent chaplains like Fr Paschal Tiernan OP and Fr Brendan Clifford OP. Our more recent chaplains, Frs Karol Wielgosz and Stanislaw Gurgul OP, have continued in this pattern of generous service. Last year, we at Rosary Monastery were blessed to have ex- Provincial Fr Pat Lucey OP as our official visitator; he also generously helped to build up our formation resources. Fr Vincent Travers OP also visited, sharing with us his insights and his writings and taking a kind interest in our community. To end off the year we were graced by an inspiring talk on the Year of Faith by Fr Ferdinand Warner OP.
    On April 7, 2013, the Octave of Easter and Divine Mercy Sunday there was a wonderful show of support from our brothers as five from the community attended the clothing ceremony of our novice Renessa Tang Pack, now Sr Mary Magdalen of the Resurrection. During Vespers, Fr Stan gave a short homily on the goals of the novitiate, then he and Fr Thomas Lawson OP stood by to bless the scapular and rosary before Sr Ann clothed our novice with them. It was truly delightful having our brothers in St Dominic chant Divine Office with us and we got some inkling of how life at the time of the founding of Prouilhe may have been. The date of the ceremony also had special significance for our Polish brothers of the Irish Province, Fr Stan and Fr Karol, since it was the feast day of the devotion spread by one of their national saints Sr Faustina.
    A million thanks to all our brothers for their spiritual and moral support and to those who attended our most recent ceremony, Fr Stan and Fr Lawson, and also Fr Karol and Sean Crepin, our official photographers of the day.

    Three Caribbean ordinations this week - Jun 2

    Catholic communities in three AEC territories will this week celebrate two priestly ordinations and one episcopal ordination.
    Bishop-elect Burchell McPherson
    Burchell McPherson
    Rev Alistair Elias
    Rev Alistair Elias
    Rev Elton Letang
    Rev Elton Letang
    In Grenada tomorrow (Monday), Rev Alistair Joseph Elias, 32, will become a Redemptorist priest. His ordination will take place at St Peter’s Church, Gouyave. “I believe that a vocation to the priesthood and religious life is as valuable as any other vocation; it is not always easy, but we have to face the challenges day by day, and trust in God to empower and strengthen us to live our vocation,” Rev Elias told Grenada’s monthly newsletter,Catholic Focus.
    On Thursday, June 6, it will be the turn of Dominica as Rev Elton Letang will be also ordained to that congregation. Rev Letang – ordained a deacon last October 24 by Archbishop Joseph Harris at St Theresa’s Church, Barataria – will become a priest at Our Lady of Fatima Church, Newtown, Dominica.
    Finally, on Saturday, June 8, the diocese of Montego Bay, Jamaica, will welcome their new shepherd, Bishop-elect Burchell McPherson, one of the first Episcopal appointments made in the Americas by Pope Francis. A number of Caribbean bishops will be present to bless and welcome their new brother bishop, including his predecessor Archbishop Charles Dufour of Kingston, Bishop Neil Tiedemann of Mandeville and Archbishop of Port of Spain Joseph Harris.

    Saturday, June 1, 2013

    Archbishop Pantin A National Icon

    The late Archbishop Anthony Pantin has been declared a National Icon. The announcement was made last Monday night at an awards ceremony at Hilton Trinidad, hosted by the Ministry of Planning and Sustainable Development. Archbishop Pantin was one of 60 Icons honoured on the night, which was the Government’s last major activity in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Independence.
    The public had been invited to nominate persons who contributed to the development of T&T since Independence and nominations were received in such spheres as Arts/Culture, Business/Entrepreneurship, Public Service/Community Service, Media, Sport, Religion, Politics/Philosophy, and Academia. Archbishop Pantin – who served as the first local Archbishop of Port of Spain from 1968 until his death in 2000 – has been named a National Icon in the category of Religion.
    In an address at the awards ceremony, Minister Bhoe Tewarie stated: “The Icons we celebrate this evening represent people whom we can admire, learn from, seek to emulate and to whom we can pay respect.
    They have set the standard for themselves and raised the bar for the entire society. This evening, collectively our Icons prompt us all to reach for higher heights and to nurture loftier aspirations.”