|Making a difference in Carnival – Feb 6|
By Vernon Khelawan
As was expected, the announcement that a Petit Valley parish would be actively participating in Carnival 2011 with the band “Genesis 1 – Creation” has created quite a stir both within the Church and outside.
There have been arguments for and against such a move as manifested in the rash of letters to the Catholic News. In these missives, cogent reasons have been put forward for both sides of the argument, views, which as Catholics, must be respected.
Many of these views define the passion with which Roman Catholics practise their faith and why some are experiencing great difficulty in aligning a Catholic band with the banality which now permeates our carnival celebrations.
And while the Church has consistently hit out against the degeneration of the festival brought about by copycat decadence from other societies, Catholics have been, over the years, been able “to play their mas’” without compromising their Catholicity.
How can the Catholic Church now even contemplate wrenching itself away from the carnival celebrations, when for more than a century it has participated in more ways than one in the annual fete?
Our schools enter all the carnival competitions – Kiddies carnival; Junior Calypso Monarch; Junior Panorama to name a few and has always supported the various art-forms with selfless assistance from dedicated teachers and proud parents and guardians.
Additionally, the endorsement of so many carnival designers and producers is ample testimony that a carnival band, fully supported by the Catholic Church, can greatly influence, not only the celebrations itself, but other masqueraders as well.
A Catholic band parading through the streets of Port of Spain for Carnival will impact seriously and positively on the Church’s desire for increased ways to accomplish its New Evangelisation mandate.
Apart from giving relief to the eyes of the thousands of spectators being bombarded by the seemingly unending throngs of female masqueraders in their beads and bikinis, the band will propose Gospel values.
Roman Catholics need to give full support to Genesis 1-Creation, if only for the fact that it is a most profound way of continuing the New Evangelisation.
For those of us who do not have the desire to actually take to the streets as part of Genesis 1– Creation on Carnival Monday and Tuesday, we should do everything in our power to make this attempt at making a difference in Carnival an overwhelming success ensuring that Carnival 2012 on February 20 and 21 will see even more Catholics playing mas’ in Port of Spain in a spirit of evangelisation.