Sunday, September 29, 2013
Thursday, September 26, 2013
Pope Francis’ representative to the English, Dutch and French-speaking Caribbean territories has praised the Archdiocese of Port of Spain for its ability to produce priests worthy of becoming bishops.
Speaking at last week Saturday’s Episcopal ordination of Msgr Robert Llanos, Papal Nuncio Archbishop Nicola Girasoli explained to the congregation that Archbishop Joseph Harris came to him one day to make a request and also to share one of his dreams. He joked that while he didn’t have the power to fulfil dreams, he assisted with the request, which was for an auxiliary bishop. He said it was “an easy” request to satisfy since this Archdiocese has “produced many bishops for the region”.
Addressing newly-ordained Bishop Llanos, the Nuncio said: “The episcopacy must not be seen as a promotion or a position of power.” To much laughter, he described “the most common sickness” among bishops as deafness, explaining that many forget they were once priests. “Be humble. Be humble. Be humble. Imitate Pope Francis. Be faithful and loyal to your Archbishop. Together with him, clergy and laity, make the people happy.”
Concerning the dream, the Nuncio said the archbishop shared that he wanted more vocations so he could reopen the Seminary. He noted that Archbishop Harris has generated “two brothers” (bishops) but “no sons” (priests), and appealed to the faithful to help Archbishop Harris realise his dream. He ended by calling for support for the archbishop and auxiliary bishop and encouraged the faithful to “keep the unity, joy, and enthusiasm of our faith”.
Speaking on behalf of the Antilles Episcopal Conference (AEC) in the absence of president Archbishop Patrick Pinder of Nassau, the Bahamas, Bishop Francis Alleyne of the diocese of Georgetown, Guyana, said the ordination was a “special moment for the local and regional Church”. He thanked Bishop Llanos for his “yes” to the call to serve as a bishop in spite of the “decay, death and devastation” in society.
“Trinis really know how to celebrate.”Bishop Francis Alleyne of the diocese of Georgetown, Guyana – one of five T&T bishops present – effectively summed up for many the mood at last week Saturday’s Mass of Episcopal ordination for Vicar General Msgr Robert Llanos, now the Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Port of Spain.
That mood was distinctly enhanced by the well-rehearsed choir and music ministry conducted by Winston Garcia. Many could be seen tapping their feet or nodding their heads to the varied rhythms, from the purely African to East Indian and Caribbean influences. The choir comprised members of Jubilee Singers, People of Praise, Living Water Community and GRACE.
More than ten current and former bishops of Antilles Episcopal Conference territories were present, as well as Papal Nuncio Archbishop Nicola Girasoli. Two bishops of other Christian Churches participated in the entrance procession: Abuna Thaddeus, Archbishop for the Caribbean and Latin America in the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, and local Anglican Bishop Claude Berkley.
Flanked by co-consecrators Bishop Alleyne and fellow Trinidad-born Bishop Jason Gordon, principal consecrator Archbishop Joseph Harris sat and read his prepared homily (on the archdiocesan website). Archbishop Harris said the appointment was a sign of growth for the local Church and the importance the Pope attached to this archdiocese. He urged the Bishop-elect to become another Christ not only to the faithful, but also to the nation as a whole: “Another Christ who loves all, who goes out in search of the lost sheep, another Christ who loves not only the poor and sick but everyone, even those that some may think beyond redemption; another Christ who pays special attention to those who doubt, to those who have lost their way; another Christ who pays special attention to the young; another Christ who loves and respects and supports clergy and religious and who by his example calls others and animates others to join with him in this great enterprise.”
The Archbishop called on clergy, religious and laity to continue supporting the new bishop as they both work “to build the civilisation of love, here in our land, so scarred by that ever-increasing murder rate and violent crime.”At the start of the special liturgy, Arima parish priest Msgr Allan Ventour welcomed the bishops and other invited guests. Head of State President Anthony TA Carmona, President of the Senate Timothy Hamel-Smith and former First Lady Zalayhar Hassanali all occupied a front pew.
Other invitees were President of the Inter Religious Organisation Bro Harrypersad Maharaj; Archbishop Barbara Gray-Burke of the Spiritual Shouter Baptist Church; Caribbean Conference of Churches’ general secretary Gerard Granado, and Panama-born, Trinidad-based Rev Dr Lesley Anderson, superintendent minister of the Methodist Church and chair of the CCC Praesidium; and from the diplomatic corps, Argentinian Ambassador Marcelo Salviolo and his wife Cecelia Ines Slamon.
On the other side of the aisle sat the Bishop-elect’s siblings – older brother Bryan and younger brother Bernard, older sisters Reina Narine and Mariella Bailey, and younger sister Ann Marie Delzin. Ann Marie and husband Gregory did the readings, while Rev Patrick Laurence proclaimed the Gospel. After the Gospel, Vicar for Clergy Fr Clyde Harvey showed and then read the papal bull, or apostolic letter from Pope Francis announcing Msgr Llanos as auxiliary.
The rite of ordination began after the homily with the Examination of the candidate and Litany of the Saints, during which Msgr Llanos lay prostrate on a carpet placed before the consecrators and the altar. This was followed by the laying on of hands by the bishops; the holding of an open Book of Gospels above Msgr Llanos’ head by deacons Reverends Michael Smith and Malcom Joab; the anointing; the presentation of the Book of Gospels; and the investiture with the ring, mitre and pastoral staff. The rite ended with a Sign of Peace, a welcoming hug from Archbishop Harris, and fraternal embraces from his new brother bishops. He was then presented to the congregation as the archdiocese’s new auxiliary bishop. The Mass continued with the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
Before the dismissal, Archbishop Girasoli, Bishop Alleyne and Bishop Llanos addressed the congregation.Bishop Llanos, who will celebrate his first Mass as bishop on Tuesday at the Pro Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in San Fernando at 10 a.m., thanked God and everyone for their presence at his ordination: “Every one of you, in sometimes small ways and at other times significant ways, have contributed to my spiritual journey and priestly vocation which have brought me to this moment. This for me is Church and I thank each and every one of you from the depths of my heart.” Among those he thanked specifically was the choir.
The celebration continued with refreshments outside the parish hall, and a luncheon for specially invited guests at Fatima College Hall.
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
On Monday the 9th of September 2013 the Master of the Order, Brother Bruno Cadoré, had a private audience with Pope Francis at the Apostolic Palace. This was the first direct contact between Brother Bruno and Pope Francis who was elected as Bishop of Rome on the 13th of March 2013.
Brother Bruno was warmly welcome by the Holy Father with all the normal protocol of a papal audience. Earlier in the summer the Master had written to the Pope to tell him about the general chapter of Trogir and Pope Francis had replied, through the Secretary of State, offering his best wishes for the chapter. This meeting was a chance for Brother Bruno to thank the Pope for his good wishes and to thank him also for the apostolic blessing which he had imparted to the Chapter and to the whole Dominican Family. It was an opportunity for the Master to speak with the Pope about the discussions and decisions of the Trogir Chapter, and to present him with a copy of its Acts.
The Master spoke about the Order’s desire to place its charism at the service of the Church particularly in the work of evangelisation. He shared with the Holy Father his hopes for the formation of the brothers and for their availability for the mission of the Church. They shared thoughts about the place of religious in the local churches and of their freedom to move from established commitments to meet new needs. Other themes discussed were the Order’s commitment to the study of theology and the link between centres of study and research with the apostolic and pastoral mission of the Order.
Brother Bruno also spoke with him about the Jubilee celebrations of the Order centred on the year 2016 and Pope Francis assured the Master of his willingness to participate in some of the Jubilee celebrations taking place in that year.
The Pope and the Master took leave of each other looking forward to their next meeting which will be on Ash Wednesday 2014 at Santa Sabina.
Brother Vivian Boland, OP
Monday, September 16, 2013
As of Saturday, September 14, Archbishop Joseph Harris would have ordained two bishops – but is yet to preside at a priestly ordination.
Archbishop Harris was due to be the principal consecrator at Saturday’s Episcopal ordination of Msgr Robert Llanos as Auxiliary Bishop of Port of Spain. It would have been his second time in that role in the two years he has been a bishop – the first coming just one week after his own Episcopal ordination, when he had to step in for Archbishop Edward Gilbert at the ordination of Msgr Jason Gordon as Bishop of Bridgetown and Kingstown.
The date – September 14 – also marked the second anniversary of the Episcopal ordination of Fr Joseph Harris as Coadjutor Archbishop of Port of Spain, and so he and Auxiliary Bishop Robert Llanos will now share an anniversary.
However, the new Auxiliary Bishop is to be addressed as “Your Lordship”, as distinct from “Your Grace”, which is used for the Archbishop. And, since “Monsignor” is an honorary title, he retains it as Bishop.
Also, the words “Auxiliary Bishop Robert” were to be added to the Eucharistic Prayer from this weekend’s Masses.
The Coat of Arms of Auxiliary Bishop Robert Llanos
A Coat of Arms is traditional in heraldry. Symbols are placed on a shield which is often surrounded by distinctive markings to denote the occupation of the person and in this manner personal recognition is afforded. It is customary in the Church for each Bishop to have his own Coat of Arms. As the distinctive mark of his office a Bishop has a hat, cords and twelve tassels placed around his shield. In coloured reproductions these are all in green; in addition there is a cross behind the shield with one cross bar.
Auxiliary Bishop Robert Llanos’ shield is divided in three. The upper third bears the Crest of the Llanos family from the 16th century in southern Spain. The castle in the centre denotes authority and leadership, with a tiger on either side being the guardians of that authority. The gold background represents hope, the green represents peace and the red chivalry.
The second segment bears a chalice and host in the centre flanked by a dove on its right and the hearts of Jesus and Mary (reverse of the Miraculous Medal) on its left. The chalice and host speak of the Eucharist which is the source and summit of our Catholic faith and centre of the Church’s life. The dove symbolises the Holy Spirit who is the gift of Grace that is the life of the Church and all its members. The hearts of Jesus and Mary contain the miracle of love after which we all strive for perfection in Christ. The blue background represents the waters of Baptism and new life. The spiritual life of Auxiliary Bishop Llanos is centred on these three elements.
The third segment bears three symbols that pertain to our beloved nation of Trinidad and Tobago. The three hills are the Trinity hills symbolising Trinidad and Tobago. The steelpan with sticks celebrates all our culture no matter what our heritage may be. The image of the Holy Family reminds us of the centrality and importance of family life for the Church and the nation. Auxiliary Bishop Llanos therefore sees his ministry as at the service of family life, Church and nation.
The motto which the Coat of Arms carries, “Do Whatever He Tells You”, comes from the biblical passage on the wedding feast at Cana. This instruction indicates that Bishop Llanos’ life and ministry as a Bishop comes under the protection and guidance of the Blessed Virgin Mary, under whose authority he seeks to do the will of God in the service of God’s people. As in the wedding feast at Cana, obedience to the will of God is always fruitful and life giving to those who partake of it. This command is therefore an instruction to the whole Church.
On September 1, for the first time in many years, St Paul’s Chapel, Hardbargain, hosted the celebration of First Communion. Six girls and one boy received the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.
The seven children, immaculately dressed in white, were addressed directly by Fr Karuna Kumar MSFS, chief celebrant and parish priest, during his homily. He also had a message for their parents: “Please parents, do not make your children orphans to Jesus. It is your responsibility to ensure that your child attends Mass and receives the Holy Eucharist.”
At the end of Mass, as the children eagerly went forward to receive their tokens, Fr Kumar posed this question to the only boy, Kyle Redhead: “Do you want to be a priest?” He replied “yes”. Fr Kumar then told the six girls to leave Kyle alone so that he could be a priest. This brought loud laughter from the congregation.
The First Communion catechists – Mrs A Seenarine and Mrs E Huggins, along with proud parents, parishioners and well-wishers witnessed the sacrament.
May God bless Fr Kumar, the catechists and the seven youngsters as they continue their journey in loving and serving our Lord.
– Annette Lall Singh, Princes Town
|Bro. Jesse Maingot OP|
Sunday, September 15, 2013
It is a day of great joy for the Irish Dominicans as these men take this important step in their lives and rounds off a happy weekend for the Irish Dominican province. These brothers will soon move on to our studentate in Saint Saviour's Dublin to begin their studies in philosophy and theology.
Fr Gregory Carroll OP (prior provincial) presided at the profession ceremony during the 11.00 am conventual Mass and in his homily reminded the newly professed brothers of their task of becoming preachers depended on their life of prayer, study and living in community. As always, you are asked to keep these brothers of ours in your prayers.
Below are some of the images from the profession ceremony today:
The four brothers lie prostrate seeking God's mercy and that of the Order prior to making profession.
The prior provincial fr Gregory preaches the homily during the rite of profession
Bro Matthew Farrell makes profession
The provincial fr Gregory Caroll OP receives the first profession of Bro Philip Mulryne
Bro Jesse Maingot recites the formula of profession in the hands of the prior provincial
Bro Michael Ronan O Dubhghaill makes profession
The scapulars of the newly professed brothers are blessed.
The offertory procession
The Saint Mary's choir in full voice!
Left to right: Bro Philip Mulryne OP, Bro Matthew Farrell OP, fr Gregory Carroll OP (provincial), Bro Jesse Maingot OP and Bro Michael Ronan O' Dubhghaill OP
Friday, September 13, 2013
The greatest vocation is simply to be a Christian, and this is given to us at our baptism. If
we die young, or we don’t discover a more specific Christian vocation, then we should not
feel that we have wasted our life, or that our life is unfinished or unfulfilled. But many
people are called to a more specific vocation as Christians: to marriage; to the
priesthood; to the permanent diaconate; to ‘consecrated life’ as a monk or nun, as a
religious brother or sister, or as a consecrated single person living in the world.
The normal way that God calls us to a particular vocation is through the deepest desires
of our heart. So if we have had a deep and lasting desire to do one thing (e.g. to get
married), and if we have never had a deep or lasting desire to do something else (e.g. to
become a priest or religious brother or sister), then that is a fairly good indication that
something is for us (in this case marriage).
It may be very clear to you which vocation you feel called to. If it is not, then here are
some things you can do to help you become clearer, to help you listen to the Lord more
and let him work in your life more. He will make things clear in his own good time – we
can trust him
1. Give your life to God! Just say to him, ‘I am completely yours, I give you everything;
I will do whatever you ask of me, I let go of all my fears and doubts. Show me your
will, and I will follow it. I am yours’. Say this as a prayer, and really mean it. This is the
only way we find true freedom; and only if we are free can he call us. He will not let
you down; he won’t ask you to do something that is wrong for you, or that you are
unable to fulfil – all he wants is your willingness and openness.
2. Deepen your prayer life: Don’t go mad, as if you can force God to give you an
answer by praying all the time. But deepen your prayer life: have a routine, set aside
some time each day, which includes at least some time each morning and evening. At
the same time, deepen your love for the Mass. Don’t rush it or waste it. Try and go to
weekday Mass at least once a week as well as on Sunday, maybe more often if it is
3. Grow in holiness: Be really honest with yourself about your faults and sins. Be really
determined to live a life of holiness. Often the Lord can’t speak to us, or we can’t hear
him, if we are not living a Christian life. If you are committed to your faith and
discerning seriously, then try to go to confession every month, and stick at it – even if
you feel you have nothing to say.
4. Nourish your spiritual life: There are two main ways we can do this. (i) Find some
good spiritual reading. Have a book that you can dip into every day or two; something
that inspires you about Christian faith or prayer or the lives of the saints. Read a little
bit every day. Just make sure that it is spiritually nourishing for you, and that it is
faithful, Catholic food. (ii) Join a Catholic group. It doesn’t matter if it is a vocations
discernment group, or a parish prayer group, or a bible study group, or a young-adult
socialising group. The main thing is to make sure that you are not living your faith
alone, and that you have other people around to encourage you, and to help you see
that you are not the only person exploring your direction in life.
5. Talk honestly with someone you trust. At some stage you need to talk about your
sense of vocation and not just keep it to yourself. You might not find the ideal ‘guru’,
but just try and think of someone who is wise and has a deep faith. It might be your
parish priest, or another priest you know; it might be a wise layperson in the parish or
somewhere else. You might call them your ‘spiritual director’, but the title is not
A Way of Life for Young Catholics 33
important. It is good to have one-off conversations; but it is also good to have
someone you can talk over time, coming back to things; who can give advice and give
an outside opinion; and can help you see some patterns in your faith and vocation that
emerge over a period of time.
Gradually, you should find yourself becoming more attracted to one vocation, and less
attracted to another. If you are really confused and stuck, and not sure which way to go,
with contradicting signs and signals - then talk to someone, a priest or spiritual director.
Get advice, get an outside opinion; don’t get stuck in a rut. Above all: Don’t be afraid. It is
God who is leading you forward; he has plans for you, whatever they are; you can’t go
wrong if you are trying to do his will and listening and doing all you can. He won’t let you
Front row (left to right): Fr Terence Crotty (student master), Br Conor McDonough, Br Eoin Casey, Fr Gregory Carroll (provincial) Br Daragh McNally, Br David McGovern.
Back row (left to right): Br Patrick Desmond, Br Damian Polly, Br Ronan Connolly, Br Kevin O' Reilly
Eight of our student brothers renewed simple profession today (September 13th, 2013) in Saint Saviour's Dominican priory in Dublin. The rite of renewal of profession took place during the Office of Readings and Midday prayer. All eight brothers renewed profession in the hands of the prior provincial Fr Gregory Carroll OP. Please continue to pray for all our student brothers who continue on the path of initial formation and for vocations to the friars of the Irish Dominican province.
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
By Kerri Gooding
History was made yesterday as Barbadian Sister Cheryl Cumberbatch, took her final vows and was presented to her community – the Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny, her family, friends and well-wishers. This was the first time for such a ceremony to be observed for a Barbadian in many years.
|As part of making her final vows Sister Cheryl Cumberbatch signed documents of her Profession along with Bishop Jason Gordon.|
The Perpetual Profession of Sister Cheryl Cumberbatch was held at her parish, Our Lady Queen of the Universe Catholic Church in Black Rock under Celebrant Bishop Jason Gordon.
Thirteen Sisters from the St. Joseph of Cluny community received Sister Cheryl with warm embraces as she pledged to be resolute with the help of God’s grace and with the aid of the Holy Spirit to strive constantly for the perfect love of God and to bring to completion the good work begun in her.
Provincial Superior of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny, Sister Juliana Alexander, commenced the Mass by quoting The Mother General and Foundress of the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Cluny, Blessed Anne Marie Javouhey, as she stated, “So you have sent our dear daughters to Trinidad, God grant that it may be for His glory! […] We are now told that we must prepare Sisters to go to Barbados; we will do so when you wish it”.
Then she added, “History is being written today in our Church as we begin Holy Mass.”
During the service, Sister Cheryl made forever vows of obedience, chastity and poverty in the congregation and according to the constitutions of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny. She signed the documents of her profession and received the ring from the Bishop who proclaimed, “Sister Cheryl you are now a member of the congregation, forever united with us in seeking together the will of God so as to spend ourselves in the service of the Church.”
Thursday, September 5, 2013
Date of Ordination: July 2, 1973
Fr Thomas Lawson OP was born in Ireland and baptised on the feast of St Thomas Aquinas (Jan 28), a renowned Dominican and a Doctor of the Church. Thus began the journey which would lead him to eventually become a member of the Dominican Order.
He is the youngest of four children born to James and Mary Alice. Religion was a focal point for the family. Mr Lawson attended Mass daily on his way to work and took his children every evening to the Dominican church for Rosary and Benediction. This atmosphere nurtured in them a deep love for their Catholic faith.
Fr Tom attended a Dominican primary school and went on to a secondary school run by the De La Salle Order (French). He had an avid interest in accountancy and a knack for mental calculations. As a student he worked on Saturdays in the office of a Turf Accountant. Because of his ability, accountancy was the expected career path for him to take, but at the age of 18, Fr Tom responded to the call of the priesthood.
Having been spiritually fed by the Dominicans in church and at school, it was natural that he chose to join this Order. He found the monastic setting and community living of the Dominicans appealing. With the wholehearted support of his parents and family, Fr Tom entered the Dominican House of Studies in Dublin, which is affiliated to the University of St Thomas Aquinas, Angelicum in Rome. It was 1966 and 10 men entered the Dominican Priory that year.
After his ordination, Fr Tom was appointed Chaplain to a government secondary school in Ireland where he taught Religion and Civics for seven years. He had been influenced by many Irish Dominicans who had worked in Trinidad and shared their experiences with him. At the age of 33 he volunteered to come here. He arrived on October 15, 1981 and after spending time as assistant to the parish priest of St Anthony’s in Petit Valley, he became the parish priest there from 1983 to 1988. He then served as parish priest in St Joseph until 1994 at which time Fr Tom was appointed to St Finbar’s parish. He undertook the responsibilities and challenges of Regional Prior for the Dominicans from 1998 to 2006.
Fr Tom believes that spending time here, in the service of God’s people, has been a great privilege. As a beneficiary of God’s love, he is happy to bring hope and encouragement to others and most importantly, to offer the gift of the Eucharist to the Faithful. He has always willingly embraced the path God has chosen for him and says, “It is the strength of the Sacrament of Priesthood which has kept me focussed and grounded.”
Through his ministry in various communities Fr Tom has had the opportunity of meeting first-hand the people he had always heard about from childhood. As a young boy in the early 1950s, every week he was encouraged to give some of his weekly allowance to the Dominican Missions in a far off place called Trinidad. He would learn many years later that this donation assisted Fr Eugene Delahunt to build the Paramin RC School as well as other Dominican priests who were involved in projects all over the country. What he did not know was that one day he would serve as a Dominican in the island that the Irish so freely supported. He was, and still is, touched by the genuine hospitality and caring nature of so many as is his mother, now 94, whose Irish charm has won the hearts of many parishioners over the years. He has great faith in the potential of the people of Trinidad and a real sense of belonging to this country. So much so, that a few years ago he applied for citizenship status and now holds a Trinidad and Tobago passport.
Twenty-eight years after leaving his homeland, he is grateful to God for the gift of being able to live and work among the people of Trinidad. Fr Tom says, “The people of this nation have helped me deepen my understanding of my priesthood in a very tangible way, by their warmth and deep faith.”
“If I had to choose again to be a priest, I would choose again to be a priest…I really enjoy my priesthood!” These were the words of Fr Ferdinand Warner OP, fondly known to those around him as Fr Ferdi while sitting in the veranda of the St Joseph’s presbytery looking out at the beautiful view that includes the St Joseph’s river and Mt St Benedict.
|Fr Ferdinard Warner OP|
Fr Ferdi, the last of seven children, hails from Cedros. He says that from a very young age, he had the desire to become a priest and therefore always involved himself in Church-based activities. This was in addition to his community life at home which is much different from community life today. “We always did things together, if we had to go home, it was to do chores and come back out.”
His Church-based activities included involvement in altar servers and youth groups within his parish. His home was a Catholic home and therefore his family went to Mass together every weekend, observed the liturgical seasons and was very involved in their parish community.
At age 16, upon completing high school, he went to his then parish priest, Fr Kevin De Loughry OP and conveyed his desire to become a priest. He was then advised that he should take some time before applying, and so he did. He worked for a while as an electrician with his older brother after attending T&TEC Trade School.
It was in November 1984 that Fr De Loughry invited him to attend a weekend hosted by Fr Rivas (now Archbishop Rivas) at the Holy Cross Priory. On Ash Wednesday of the following year, he and two other young men were invited to enter the Holy Cross priory.
They then entered what is called the postulancy programme and in September, they were in their novitiate for one year. They then made their profession in 1986. In their studentate, they studied philosophy in Puerto Rico at the University of Bayamon. This was an advantage as it gave them an opportunity to become bi-lingual. They then returned to Trinidad to the St Joseph priory, to be closer to the seminary where they continued their studies.
He says that his family and friends were always very supportive of him. He particularly recalls two friends reacting to the news by saying, “Well it’s about time!”
In 1997 he was ordained a priest and was assigned as assistant parish priest of the Santa Rosa Parish, Arima. He then served as assistant to the Master of Students. He was appointed as promoter for Justice & Peace for the order for Latin America and the Caribbean, a post for which he had a lot of passion and through which he accomplished a lot. He also was elected in the same six-year period as president of the Conference of Dominican Fathers in the Caribbean.
In 2004, he was given his current assignment as parish priest of St Joseph. He also serves as Regional Prior for the order. He loves his order and the sense of brotherhood which comes with it. It is interesting to note that he has never lived alone and doesn’t look forward to such an experience as he enjoys community life.
Fr Ferdi has never had any struggles with his vocation or with his faith; there have been challenges but nothing that could not have been overcome. He enjoys pastoral work and has had quite an exciting and fulfilling priesthood.
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Evangelical poverty beloved by our father St. Domingo as a safeguard of the preaching of the order, makes that we count with precious of so many people that accompany us in our Evangelical task with their friendship and their real friendship and help.
All they want to recall with appreciation in this anniversary by this celebration in which we meet our friends and benefactors deceased, which for various reasons were United with the order.
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Priestly vocations a challenge for Pope Francis
By : The Associated Press
RIO DE JANEIRO — Camilo Sandoval says he faces the choice of a lifetime: He can study engineering in college or he can devote himself to the church.
The 17-year-old from Chile is among the multitude of fervent Roman Catholics who have come to Brazil for the church's World Youth Day, and Pope Francis' success in drawing such youths toward the priesthood could be crucial to an institution that is starving for clergy to serve its growing congregations.
"I'm thinking about being a priest," Sandoval said after arriving at Rio de Janeiro's Sambadrome, where much of the Youth Day celebrations will be held. "I feel fulfilled when I participate in vocation days; there is a closeness to God that attracts me. But I haven't decided."
All too many Catholics, from the church's perspective, have chosen the secular path.
Nearly 25 percent of the world's parishes don't have a resident priest, according to Vatican statistics. And while the number of Catholics in the world grew by 68 percent between 1975 and 2010 the number of priests grew by just 1.8 percent, according to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University.
Most new priests are coming from Africa and Asia, with a sharp drop in Europe. And there has been "a downward trend" in the number of prospective Latin American priests in the pipeline, said the Rev. Gabriel Villa, who is the executive secretary of the commission for vocations and ministries of the Latin American Episcopal Council, though he said he had no precise numbers.
Stagnant recruitment of priests has contributed to the slump in church membership as a percentage of the population in key nations such as Brazil and even Francis' own Argentina.
For some in the impassioned multitude that greeted Francis in Rio on Monday, the first Latin American pope may be able to change that.
Francis appeals to youth across the globe, but particularly in Latin America. Many pilgrims from the region visiting Rio have said they're excited to have a pontiff who can relate to the everyday challenges they face. The humility and genuine warmth that emanate from him are also big draws, along with the common touch of the man known as the "slum pope" in Argentina because of the amount of time he spent working in Buenos Aires' impoverished communities.
"He is a pope who invites us, who encourages us. He says 'you can serve God. You can serve others,'" said Jorge Cavazos, a 34-year-old seminarian in Mexico City who has maintained his desire to become a priest despite more than a decade of scandals that have shaken the church.
Francis underscored the importance of clergy in training by joining bishops in lunch with seminarians following his initial public Mass on Wednesday in the shrine city of Aparecida. It's a theme he already touched on early this month in a meeting with other seminarians and novices in Rome. The pope urged them to keep "freshness" and "joy" in their lives, saying that when clergy "are too serious, too sad, something's not right here."
"There is no sadness in holiness," Francis said.
Villa blamed the declining interest in the priesthood on the influence of other religions, family disintegration and a growing secularization that has pushed young people to be more interested in materialism than spirituality.
"It's no secret that we are in this situation of consumerism, and a priestly or consecrated life asks people to renounce some things and that's not attractive for many," he said.
The biggest sacrifice for many is the pledge of celibacy, and Francis this month gave little encouragement for those who hope to change that principle, praising chastity in his meeting with the seminarians. "We are victims of a culture of the 'temporary,'" Francis said, adding that celibacy vows for those becoming priests or nuns should be a "definitive choice."
The young Chilean, Sandoval, said he had no problem with that.
"I'm OK with taking those vows," said the altar boy and choir member who was drawn to the church partly by a local branch of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, which has spread across the region, bringing some of the singing, dancing, hand-clapping style of Evangelical churches to parishes across the Americas.
Villa, of Latin America's Episcopal Conference, acknowledged that some Charismatic communities have helped attract priests, but he cautioned that the church urges them to follow the rules established by each diocese rather than venturing into unaccepted new forms of worship.
"Almost all of these movements seek in one way or another to recover some element of early Christianity, be it by singing, by the type of catechism formation, by offering a very deep experience of fraternity," said Rodrigo Guerra, director of the Center for Advanced Social Research in Mexico. "It was said that many people are leaving the church because they find a much clearer human brotherhood in the Protestant world."
Some remain skeptical even that a pope who has generated wide sympathy can revive an institution that charts its history back two millennia.
"You don't lead a church with beautiful phrases or charisma or with a more parochial attitude like the one Pope Francis has," said Bernado Barranco, a religion expert at Mexico's Center for Religious Studies. For Barranco, the church is facing great challenges because of its limited capacity to adapt to modernity, including not getting rid of celibacy.
But seminarian Cavazos in Mexico City sees a new attitude in the church.
"To evangelize you must be happy," he said.
In his homily, Fr Pierre thanked God for Fr McLawrence and reminded the gathering that labourers in the harvest must be committed to putting God first. He said there was a priest shortage partly because the faithful were not encouraging their sons to become priests. He added that stewardship was about getting involved in the work of the kingdom of God. Fr Pierre said people should not get excited when they were able to perform great works but should just do what was necessary to ensure that their names were written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. He said the faithful were invited to give God their best, adding that God has set aside a task for each person. He encouraged the faithful to pray that God would reveal that task to them and that they would gladly take it up.
Our celebration ended with a presentation to Frs McLawrence and Pierre, the distribution of certificates to our Lay Ministers, a special song by the choir – “My God Is Awesome”, and a toast. Yes, there was also cake.
May we all be able to give Fr McLawrence a 10th anniversary gift of full involvement in the church. We must own it and do all that is necessary to build “our church”. May we find it in our hearts to say “yes” to God, and may God continue to use Fr McLawrence in a powerful way.
In Guyana two English-born brothers, both Jesuit priests, celebrated their golden anniversary of priestly ordination last month. Frs Bob and Michael Barrow celebrated 50 years of priesthood on July 31.
They gathered with friends and well-wishers at Jesuit House, Queenstown, to celebrate the milestone anniversary and also the feast day of St Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of the Jesuits.
Fr Bob first came to Guyana in early 1966 and worked as a teacher at St Stanislaus College. He left this job in 1974 when he was elected Regional Superior of the Jesuits in Guyana. When his term ended he did parish work at Sacred
Heart, Port Mourant and Plaisance. He now lives at Jesuit House.
Fr Michael, who did most of his priestly work in his homeland, is now stationed in Barbados but traveled to Guyana for the celebration.
Monday, September 2, 2013
|MODELLING our lives after saints like Santa Rosa De Lima challenges us “to put others first says Archbishop Joseph Harris, chief celebrant at last Sunday’s annual feast day Mass and procession in the parish that bears her name, Santa Rosa, Arima. The patronal feast day is August 23 and the celebration is usually held the Sunday closest to this date.|