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December 18, 2014

Welcome, Your Grace – Dec 18

Welcome, Your Grace – Dec 18 PDF Print E-mail

Revitalising Catholic Culture and IdentityBy Vernon Khelawan

This column takes the opportunity to welcome our new Archbishop Joseph Everard Harris, a most humble shepherd, who recognised even before his elevation that the new responsibility is a “we thing” and that he needs all the help he can get to ensure the pastoral success of his tenure, and by extension that of the Church in Trinidad and Tobago.

Although in his former dispensation as “Fr Joe” he spoke eloquently at the Synod on the Third priority – Regenerating the Moral and Spiritual Values of our Society – he nonetheless has a great appreciation for the current priority – Revitalising Catholic Culture and Identity.
While not having made any public pronouncement on the subject, the Church can rest assured that the Archbishop will be paying great attention to the pastoral plans of the various parishes and will do everything in his power to ensure the achievement of their goals in so far as it impacts on revitalising Catholic culture and identity.
His Grace understands fully the influence local culture has had and continues to have on the Catholic Church in Trinidad and Tobago.
Although Christmas traditions had for a long time been influenced first by European and later by Western practices, local habits and customs are truly part of the seasonal celebrations, resulting in traditions that are a unique mix of foreign and local – food, music and celebration.
It is in this area specifically that efforts can be made to ensure the revitalisation of our Catholic culture and identity. The return to the authentic parang songs, for example, with lyrics which in most instances heralded the Birth of Our Saviour, should be encouraged.
And while culturally we understand there is a place for the parang soca in the season of Christmas, it is imperative that Catholics make every effort to reinstate to its pride of place parang music and its message.
In the more recent past, we have seen more people – even those who are not of our faith – placing the crèche in prominent places in homes and grounds.
Such positive action must be utilised to impact the culture and tradition of a true Catholic Christmas.

Last Updated on Friday, 23 December 2011 11:50