|By Alphie Skerrette, Couples for Christ (CFC)|
Holy Trinity Parish, Arouca came alive on Saturday September 6, when Collin Victor Jackson made his first vows as a member of the Holy Ghost Fathers (Spiritans). One could sense it was a special and sacred occasion, as the joy shared was palpable and communal.
I could clearly see the pride and sense of accomplishment in the faces of those gathered for the ceremony, while simultaneously I felt the welling up of emotions when I saw Collin stand and in his usual confident voice, commit himself to a life of poverty, chastity and obedience.
To me, there was a very powerful statement being made in the choice made by this talented young man, given the varied options available and favoured in today's worldly environment by so many of our capable young men and women.
What was obvious and very satisfying to me, was the wide range of groups of diverse people who felt an affinity to Collin and a common ownership of him.
In addition to his biological parents and family, Collin had gathered around him over his years of formation a formidable team of uncles and "tanties”.
Confirmation of this was seen in the presence of groups like CFC, members of the Sangre Grande and Arouca youth ministries, catechists, Confirmation candidates whose lives he had touched over the years, and the strong presence of religious sisters. This speaks to the unifying personality of our beloved brother.
Even Archbishop Joseph Harris did not escape the touch of Collin’s charm, so much so, that he ensured that the crucifix with which Collin was presented was his very own, which some would say he had since ‘king hatchet’ was a hammer.
In his reflection during Mass, Provincial of the Holy Ghost Fathers, Fr Gregory Augustine, threw out a challenge.
Commenting on Jesus' disciples eating ears of corn on the Sabbath, he invited the Church’s faithful and Collin to dare to do something different, even something forbidden, in taking the Gospel's message to the nation.
Such a challenge could not have been thrown out to a more fitting person, for Collin has shown himself quite willing, even at the risk of running afoul of the status quo, to make his mark wherever he is planted. He has opted to enter the teaching profession at Fatima College.
While experiencing the pride and joy of Collin’s first religious vows, one important thing this event brought home to me, was the need for us to reexamine the quality of the contribution that we are called to make to our Church.
When Fr Augustine at the end of Mass instructed us to go in peace, it hit me quite forcibly that our responsibility to Collin’s formation did not end there.
We can no longer afford to allow our religious sisters, brothers and priests to live out their vocation apart from the community.
The Christian life, and perhaps moreso the priestly life, should be lived out within and as part of a community of love, support, faith and unity. Let us pledge to Collin our continued prayers, support, service and love.